Routine Design Considerations

DrillMasterInstructional Leave a Comment

Issues to consider when designing/programing a routine.

The Routine

  • Marching Surface- hard (asphalt or cement) or soft (some gymnasium floors and grass)- does the routine rely on taps on the shoes or butt slams?
  • Location of performance area:
    • The direction you will be facing (into the sun?).
    • Audience location- near or far? Audience safety may be an issue as well as micros movements that may not be able to be seen.
  • Audience Type/Occasion- most of the time this will probably not matter, but it could be a consideration if a purely ‘ceremonial’-type routine would be better.
  • Performance Area Size
    • (Most) service drill teams and soloists program their routines to make the most effective use of virtually any size area since their performances can happen almost anywhere.
    • Other competitive teams (JROTC, CAP, Young Marines, etc.) have a 100′ x 100′ area in which to perform, but when they encounter a smaller area they may have to adapt their routine to fit using what I call, “Regulation Transitions” (RTs). An RT is a move taken from a service’s drill and ceremonies manual (counter column, column right/left or left/right flank, etc.). RTs realign the team to create enough space to continue the next sequence of the routine. When it comes to competitions, RTs should be minimized unless they are designed with imagination since they do not present the most effective use of competitive time and space.

The Commander

Inside or outside of the team?

  • If inside, never march out of the team proper just to report-in/-out. Reporting must be programed into the routine!

The Commander’s Equipment

This applies when the commander is on the outside of the team

  • When the team is armed, the commander must also be armed with a sword, saber, rifle or side arm.
    • Rifle- blends well
    • Sword/Saber- does not blend well with the team. However, these two pieces of equipment can work at certain points in the routine with complimentary or similar/same movements. When a competition does not allow for a standard saber/sword to leave a Driller’s hand, that’s when the spinnable saber (<click) comes into play.
    • Side arm- this is a daring move since the team commander will have to be very creative with body movement design to compliment the team’s movements. Or, the commander could develop a six gun spinning routine (<click).

Physical Problems

Some people are born with certain physical limitations in their body, legs, arms, hands or feet. These are issues that need to be dealt with on an individual basis. I encourage all teams to attempt to work around limitations when possible, it can be very rewarding.




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