Creating Check Points When Training

DrillMaster Drill Team Training, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Honor Guard Training, Instructional 0 Comments

Defining and Creating Check Points

A check point is a moment in time and space where synchronized movement takes place. Let’s take a look at a simple hand salute:

Check Points- Hand Salute

Hand Salute

Check Point Begin

Check Points- Hand Salute

Hand Salute

Check Point 1


Hand Salute

Check Point 1&

The positions are approximate


Check Points- Hand Salute


 Check Points- Hand Salute

Hand Salute

Check Point 2

Hand Salute

Check Point 2&

 Hand Salute

Check Point 3


For honor guard units, we have a three-second hand salute. We count it this way: “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three.” In the picture sequence above, the six images to illustrate the salute movements and we can count it in a similar fashion but break it down like counting dance or music like this: “one and two and three.” Yes, “Begin” is a check point. When you are dealing with a team, you must ensure that everyone is in the same position for initiating the movement. The pictures are from my book, The Honor Guard Manual.

Now, let’s talk about equipment. For military exhibition drill, equipment is defined as a rifle, sword, saber, and guidon and for San Fransisco JROTC drill teams, this also includes what is called a swing flag (a shorter flag, about the length of a rifle). In the (marching band) color guard and winter guard world, we use three standard pieces of equipment: flag, rifle and saber. This equipment comes from military color guards and how marching bands and drum corps had many musicians and marching instructors that were veterans returning from WWII. Flag presentations were part of every performance. Eventually, the young ladies in the color guard incorporated more and more dance, layered underneath equipment use, and now what we have today is more of an athletic-dance-color-guard with military roots.

The advancement of movement and equipment use in (marching band) color guards has far surpassed military drill since the late 1970s and early 1980s and now military drill is catching up- but we need to educate.

Synchronized equipment work creates a powerful visual effect and it is the goal of a team to be in sync and we do this through check points. The equipment, in this case we will use the rifle, must be at a certain point/angle at a certain time.


How to spin a rifle- start



How to spin a rifle- count 1


How to spin a rifle- count 1&



For the pictures above, I am executing a single-handed front spin with my left. Start at Port, drop to horizontal and push with the right while lifting with the left to create the spin.

Sets of Eight
It is always a good idea to break sequences down into smaller sets to work on the fine details, master those details in that set and then move on so that when you get into more technical work, you can begin counting in sets of 8 and create check points through that set. The following video gives an excellent illustration of this point. Though it is based on spinning a (marching band) color guard saber, it applies perfectly.

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exhibition drill, regulation drill, drill team training, jrotc, honor guard

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