What a JROTC Drill Team Commander Should Know

DrillMaster DrillCenter News 20 Comments

studyBeing a Leader
Question 1: I was thinking about my weaknesses & strengths and a problem appeared to me. I want to be drill team commander, but I’m going to be a second-year cadet. Some of the other cadets are 3rd year, and it would appear to me that they would say, “why wasn’t I chosen?” This is going to be my first time actually leading a competing team other than an in-class team, and I thought about what do I do to make the team stay motivated and focused without them leaving and saying they don’t have to listen to me. Please help me get a better understanding of what I could do to become a better leader.

Answer 1: The best way to become a leader is by developing your educational foundation. That means, read about exhibition and regulation drill. Study your service drill and ceremonies manual and read every article at my website that pertains to you. Then, read about leadership: how to lead, what to say, how to motivate, etc.

My books are also available to you. Learn how to create an exhibition drill routine: how to write the drill and then layer the body movements and, if your team is armed, the rifle movements, on top of the written drill. You have much studying to do and at times it may seem dull, but your end goal will make studying so worthwhile.

You also have me. I am here to answer your questions or to just give you that extra motivation. Whatever I can do. You have my personal email address now, so make good use of it.

Let your instructors know that you are interested in becoming the drill team commander, that you plan on spending the summer deep in study and that you will return next school year a much-educated cadet.

A Quick Overview of Leadership Styles

While some have identified 13 or more styles, simplicity is the key for this introduction to leadership. I will go over the three main styles that the military uses: Directional, Participative, and Laissez-Faire. One does not choose a style and stick with it

  1. Directional is an autocratic style of leadership. It means that those under your supervision need you to direct each step. This is a beginning style of leadership, when those you supervise are new to the task (e.g. teaching drill). It can also be a punitive style that you can use when one of those you lead makes a big mistake, you bring them back to the beginning of the training process and direct their every move and progress onto the next style.
  2. Participative leadership means that those you supervise need little direction from you to complete the task. It is the next step in leadership and means that you can let them come to you for guidance and can also check on them throughout the day. You must  check and not rely solely on those you are training to come to you.
  3. Laissez-Faire is a French term meaning, let do. It is a hands-off approach to leadership. Use this style when those you supervise have mastered their task requirements.

Developing a PROPER Command Voice
Question 2: I just attended a leadership camp and I was able to meet many cadets from schools all over my area. Which means, of course, different cultures and sounds, etc. Which made me think, what is a good command voice for AFJROTC? Please help me understand and build my command voice to the best of my abilities.

Answer 2: Good to hear from you again! This is a great learning situation in which you find yourself. You’ve come to the right place. There are standardized, proper ways to call commands- probably none of which you might have heard this summer. Please read my article, Your Command Voice.

Strictness and The Other Guy Lost
Question 3: I’ve tried your tips, and they have worked! Many cadets have told me to get more strict, but I don’t want to come off as mean, and have all my team leave. Please help me find the balance.

Also, I have a cadet who wanted the position of drill team commander, but I got it, so I felt tension from him when he saw I got it. Do you know any possible way I can resolve these problems?

Answer 3: Strictness is a matter of perception. What you really need to do is establish and maintain standards. That is not being mean-spirited to others, it is upholding standards.

Standards like

  • Arriving on time
  • Learning and maintaining standing manual, the manual of arms
  • and/or the manual of the flagstaff
  • Respect, integrity, etc.
  • Uniform wear
  • Just about anything else of which you can think

In my junior year, I beat out another cadet who wanted drill team commander. He eventually got over it and I fully supported him in his unarmed solo exhibitions- in which he absolutely blew away the competition. Make the other cadet feel as though you support him and make him feel that he is part of the team, just like the others. Maybe offer him the ability to help design the team’s routine or make adjustments to it.

I’m glad my advice is helpful!

Comments 20

  1. Hello my question is that me and my friend are both going for the armed drill team superintendent job and I was thinking would it help to put on my resume that I know armed exhibition will that boost my chances of getting the job

    1. Post
      Author

      I think so. I also think it would also be a good idea to write that you have read this and all the other Drill Team Training articles that you’ve read, but make it one entry for the resumè. Something like: To create a solid educational foundation, read (25) Drill Team Training articles written by the DrillMaster.

      1. Ok and another question because I wanted a drill rifle for Christmas but parents said that people would act crazy if they saw a black boy walking down the street with a fake rifle how can I make it not seem like a fake rifle

          1. Post
            Author

            The replica rifles all come with a removable orange cap. That’s what makes it visually different. Creating a pattern with colored tape will help also.

        1. Post
          Author

          Anyone carrying a rifle is going to scare someone. You would need to get a case for it. Glendale has great rifles and cases. Another thought is to tell your local police that you have a drill rifle and maybe even perform for them. Create a good relationship and things just might go really well.

          1. Post
            Author
  2. I’m an Army JROTC cadet, also the Drill Team commander for this year, I’d like to ask what are the typical dimensions of a drill pad. Thanks in advance.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Filemon,

      Thanks for the question. Typically, a platoon/flight or squad/element marches on a 50-foot square area. Color guards, solos and tandems have a 30-foot square area. Your drill meet SOP/LOL should have complete details. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

        1. Post
          Author
  3. Hi, I’m trying to come up with ideas to get cadets interested in the drill team so that they come to practices. Can you help me? Please and thank you!!

    1. Post
      Author
        1. Post
          Author
        1. Post
          Author
  4. Hello, sir. Recently I have been ((very unfortunately) n command of a Drill team and I don’t know what the section is that requests permission to utilize the drill area. I don’t want to risk embarrassment in the coming Drill Session for my class, and no one is telling me anything. I know it’s important… I really need help with this.

    Thank you so much, Sir, for your time and consideration.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello Cadet Shaw!

      Read my article, What to Say and When. I think it will answer your question. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to let you know.

      Thanks and all the best to you!

Leave a Reply