Call it what you want, “drill pad,” “drill area,” “drill floor,” or “drill deck,” we need to get some standardization in the American (and beyond) military drill world. For a drill competition (drill meet) there are different phases to the competition and each phase has a measured off area in which to compete.
Exhibition and Regulation
These drill phases both use a 50-foot x 50-foot square (some use 100 feet x 100 feet). I would like to see the adoption of 50-feet x 90-feet, the size of a basketball court.
Solo, Tandem and Tetrad
These phases are usually in a 30-foot x 30-foot square (Pro America, NYDC; Nationals uses 33 x 33, close enough) and lets keep it that way. This is a very good size for these three phases of competition, this is the perfect size for movement and an audience.
FYI: Color Team = Military; Color Guard = Marching Band/Winter Guard
There is not much to a colors competitive sequence as far as marching goes, it is mainly comprised of flagstaff and rifle manuals. The standard size should be 40-feet x 50-feet. There is no reason to have it smaller or, really, any larger than that. The reasoning for 40 x 50 is that this really has the commander/team thinking of how to be as exact as possible and not have “extra” room for error.
The WDA Open Phases
My favorite phases of competition are the World Drill Association’s Open Color GuardTM and Open RegulationTM. “Open” means that the teams get to design their own routine using every move out of their service drill manual. Both still adhere to the letter of the manual and nothing ‘exhibition-like’ is allowed, and it gives the cadets another chance at creation but within strict guidelines. These two phases can add to the enjoyment of the competition as well!