I receive questions here on the website and also talk directly to cadets who want their drill team to be much better- which is a good thing. Without the determination to improve you would stagnate. However…
Let’s look at the drill team from school “X”. Team X has done well locally and at district level. When it comes to the state competition, they get their taints* handed to them. They never take a trophy at state, but always do well at other competitions. They want to do well, but just can’t seem to make it. Team X practices about 3 hours a week, colors practice about 2 hours a week and their squad XD team practices about 4 hours a week. Almost all of the team members have other JROTC and school activities, not to mention jobs, homework, etc.
Resources the team has:
- Only so much time per week
- Good equipment
- Only so much money
- Beginning to intermediate skills/talent
How can this team improve? By using the resources they have available to the best of their abilities. Time and money are not going to increase and the equipment is good. What’s left? Talent. Can you increase talent? Somewhat, sure; skill takes good training and time. Training sessions need to begin early in the year and be as effective as possible- especially when working with new students. New students who enjoy drill team and/or color guard are the key to the program and should be properly trained FROM THE MANUAL and not be word-of-mouth from the very beginning.
What about your team? Be content with where you are. Your team may not take trophies, but competition was never supposed to be out trophies. Sure, some shiny hardware back at school or in your home is nice**. It’s not about the trophy, it’s about the sense of accomplishment that hard work brings.
Use your hours, as many or as few as they may be, the best you can. Increase your knowledge by reading everything you can that pertains to your drill team and/or color team and educate your team. Will your team ever be so good as to win trophies? Possibly, but so what if it doesn’t? Take pride in the program that you have and as I always say, instead of “good luck,” – do your best!
*A fake word used in the movie, Dodge Ball: “What does that mean?” “I don’t know, but it sounds bad.”
**I had several trophies from my high school days, I was the state champion unarmed drill team commander in AZ for school years 81-82 and 82-83. I gave my trophies away in the 90s to a local trophy shop. This is when I realized that they didn’t mean anything- they never really had meant anything that I hadn’t already known: I worked hard with my team for weeks on end throughout the school year and it was only through that hard work that I was able to compete and win. And I didn’t need to have a trophy to tell me that.