Does Drill Team Style Matter to Win?

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Q: I am the coach of a High school in MA and former captain of the armed drill team. Northeast drill seems to vary drastically from other parts of the country. We are a bit slower with more emphasis on military bearing, style and flavor, than much of the speedy Texas style drilling. Is this us not being with the times, or is our style still legitimate?

A: Thanks for the post and thanks for working with your team.

Never judge your own performance by what someone else or another team does.Competition is about being the best you can be with what God gave you to work with. It’s not about Team ABC being better than Team XYZ. Sure, having a trophy is nice, but if that is all you shoot for, then what happens when the celebrations are over? Nothing. You have to do it all over again and it’s not worth all of the effort for a piece of plastic, metal or stone. It is worth the effort to feel that sense of accomplishment; pride in a job well done and if you are on a team, what a sense of teamwork! What if you don’t feel it? Then something needs adjusting and that needs to be figured out to move on and progress.

Give some thought to this scenario: Team ABC and Team XYZ finish a big competition and come in 1st and 2nd, respectively, and also come very close in points. However, if the competition had been an hour later or a day earlier, the placements could have been reversed. Do you see that what our society calls “winning” is actually empty? “Winning” is really about the great feeling you get coming in 5th place and having the best performance you ever had in your life and being happy for all of the other teams around you!

Having said that, there is always room for improvement in all kinds of areas for drill teams and individual Drillers. Styles can be mixed or one can stick to a single style like glue. The choice is yours.

As for judging, the World Drill Association Adjudication System does not take style into account. What matters is effectiveness, communication, clarity, entertainment, plus so much more in each visual caption. (See:

One more thing: Nationals is not the be-all and end-all of military drill. You and your team should do their best when creating, practicing and performing the routine. Educated Drillers, instructors and coaches are the makings of routines with great effect, vocabulary and overall entertainment.

Check out to begin more in-depth learning regarding military drill.

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