Discipline at Practice

DrillMasterCommentary, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional Leave a Comment

FYI: rehearsal = practice

The military (we can count college ROTC in this), LEOs, firefighters, EMS, etc. are all adults and have set rules of which one must follow. In many cases honor guard, color team or drill team is on a volunteer basis and out of 1000 rehearsals you might run across some bad behavior that requires discipline.


What happens when you are a JROTC cadet in high school and you so badly want to be on the team but out of the 10 girls or guys on the team three of them constantly disrupt practice with their immaturity?

What happens when you are the commander of a JROTC team and have one or two cadets who keep playing around and taking away from rehearsal time?

Let’s add to this: Suppose you have a JROTC instructor who is not around- and I don’t just mean at a single practice session. Suppose your instructor is not doing his job and off doing something else.

Note: I have known many JROTC instructors over time and have come across all types and the majority of them have nothing but the best intentions for their students at the forefront of their minds and you can tell because of their actions and how their cadets love them. Yes, you will come across someone who could not care less and only wants the next paycheck- those people are everywhere but hopefully not common.


First, your unit should have an established set of rules, if it doesn’t, you may want to get right on that with the other cadets who are in leadership positions and bring your ideas to your instructors.

Next, your team should have established rules. Everyone needs to know “what happens when?” Established rules can take much stress out of the hands of the leadership.

Last, FOLLOW THE ESTABLISHED RULES. If the rules are not enforced, you wasted your time and efforts.

Ways of Dealing

Follow the established rules. Without them, leaders can find themselves without a leg on which stand. I can’t stress this enough.

Never belittle in public or in private. Students can act out due to their level of maturity, issues at home or school, or a myriad of other reasons. Students need to know that they are not “hated.” They need to know they have an “out” (even if it is the team commander telling them to leave and see the instructor) and that they can make their way back to the team without hostility.

Be calm and try to be as professional as possible. I know, sometimes punching someone in the face seems like the best way to handle the situation, but believe me, it’s not.

Don’t gang up. You can have several or all of the other team members be on the opposite side of the offender(s), but everyone yelling at the same time is not a good idea. Let leaders perform their roles.

Watch what you say. Don’t swear/curse or name-call. Remember, be as professional as possible.

If you, as the team commander, cannot straighten out the problem, that is when you need to send the unruly student(s) to your instructor.

Soon, I’ll briefly go over the 4 personality types. This will help you understand yourself and also others not only in conflicting situations, but in everyday life.

What advice can you offer? Please comment below.

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