Practice Makes Permanent- Feet

DrillMasterAsk DrillMaster, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional 3 Comments

“Practice makes permanent.” Lt. Col. Bernard C. Lorenz always told my drill team this phrase. He was my AFJROTC instructor when I was in high school and has now passed, but I have always remembered that phrase and included it in my training. Thanks, Sir.

Practice makes permanent and education is key. We will tackle both in this article.

Many people understand practice makes permanent: go to practice/rehearsal and practice the way you would perform: stay in character (no goofing around, etc.), execute as perfectly as possible, etc. Practicing the way you perform is an excellent way to employ this phrase but, education must come before practicing- education is key.

Let’s look at feet
There are couple common problems with feet/ankles that can be helped through strengthening the ankles and also the use of orthotics (inserts for your shoes).

Foot issues while marching/walking:

  • Toe hitting the ground before the heel
  • Toe slapping the ground
  • Toe scraping the ground
  • Walking on the outside/inside of the foot
  • Toes pointing outward/inward
  • Whole foot hitting the ground
  • Heel not touching the ground
  • Heel barely touching the ground and foot bouncing forward to toe




Two more common problems:

However, some people have their toes point outward:

Or inward:

It’s best to have your feet land centered and flat and then roll forward:

If your unit uses the 45-degree stance, then you last two steps create this angle, every other step should be straight.

So, how in the world does “practice makes permanent” work here?

I’m glad you asked! It took me a while, but I worked on my marching technique each day when I walked. I still do actually, and you can do it as well. Work each day when you are walking wherever and no one has to know that you are working on your marching technique. Here’s how to do it:

Hit your heel squarely on the ground, keep your foot straight and roll through the step to the center of your toes.


Don’t stomp! Use your leg muscles to ascend and descend while making as little noise as possible. Use your muscles well; train your muscles.

Strengthen your ankles

Here is an example of ankle exercises.

Train a little bit every day!

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