Practice Makes Permanent: Shoulders

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

When my wife and I are out for a meal or shopping or just time together, we sometimes people-watch. It is interesting to see others and how they interact, what they wear, etc. My people watching is quite specific and my wife knows exactly what I watch: feet, shoulders and posture. So many times I want to run up to someone and say, “Look, you’re not walking well, you would probably feel better if you did XYZ.” I refrain from doing that, though.

Shoulder Alignment
I work with students, members of the military and first responders who have certain physical limitations that need to be addressed and then adapted to. One of these limitations can be shoulder alignment.

Even shoulders

One Shoulder “Dips”

These are just two examples of what one may encounter. Here is a good picture to illustrate different postures. Notice how good posture has the center of the shoulder aligned with the center of the ear?

Image courtesy

Drillers must practice good posture 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. OK, when you are awake, 7 days a week.

Image courtesy

For Drillers, their shoulders should be aligned with their hips, in general. A “disagreement” of shoulders and hips is when the both point in different directions (for an example, see ). If you are on a color team, your hips and shoulders must agree 100% of the time. Same goes for all Regulation Drill phases, unless there is a specific movement that requires the “disagreement” like Sling/Unsling Arms.

When Walking/Marching
Everything above your waist, except your proper arm swing, must not move. Your shoulders must not move up and down or go forward and backward. Arm swing comes from the shoulder, not from the neck.

Implementing “Practice Makes Permanent”
When you walk down the street, around the house, up and down stairs, around school, put the information in these articles into practice- all the time. The sooner all of your team members begin to march the same way, the better.

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