Footprints in the Sand- for Teaching!
While I was running and then walking on the beach this morning to begin my day here at Daytona Beach at the Nationals competition, I realize that the ideas that I’ve had in the back of my mind can be best expressed through my footprints in the sand. While I was walking, cooling down from my run, I noticed as I looked back, that my footprints were even and did not disturb the sand as much as other footprints (I was running and walking on the harder sand while the tide was out).
I have worked on my walking which has subsequently influenced my marching for many years. When I was in middle school, my family went for a walk and my mother noticed that my toes pointed outward as I walked. She corrected that and that was the beginning of what I would describe as a struggle- at first. However, as I continued to work on keeping my feet straight, it became natural; I was retraining my leg muscles to have my feet land properly- straight.
You and your team must approach technique in the same manner and this includes how each members takes a step. It also applies to every other aspect of drill: arm swing, flank movements, rifle and flagstaff manipulation, etc. Technique is very important! it is the building block on which everything rests.
In this picture, Smooth Step, you can see that the foot’s pressure is even across the step: side-to-side and front-to-back. This is the best step to acquire and maintain for competitive marching and also honor guard duties, not to mention if you play a musical instrument and march. This is the eight-to-five step (eight steps to five yards).
This picture, Popping the Toe, shows a step that has more pressure and force on the toe.
In, Digging the Heel, we see just that: a step where the heel is digging into the ground. This is the most common step that is taught in Basic Training for each service (not always, but it is quite common). This step helps hose who have not marched before begin to hear and feel the timing of the platoon’s/flight’s cadence. The step is helpful, but does not facilitate a smooth step that is required for honor guard units and especially competitive marching since it tends to send a jolt through the body and can also.
And finally, Walking on the Outside of the Foot, shows pressure that is concentrated on the outside of the foot through the step. Taller people tend to do this.
drill, regulation drill, color guard, color team, how to march, footprints, marching technique, honor guard, exhibition