The Difference Between Practicing and Training

DrillMasterDrill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional Leave a Comment

Practicing and training seem almost synonymous. But there are subtle differences. gives us this information:

Noun: The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use. Verb: Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency. And from a method of learning by repetition.

Noun: The action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behavior. And from The acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge.

So there is a difference. We train to learn a new skill and then we practice that skill over and over.

What about the difference between drilling and training? Again, we need to define our terms and look to

Verb: Military. To instruct and exercise in formation marching and movement, in the carrying of arms during formal marching, and in the formal handling of arms for ceremonies and guard work.

But we do know that there is a difference for us in the military drill world:

  • Armed Drill
  • Unarmed Drill

So not all drilling is for “the carrying of arms during formal marching.” We can then conclude that some drill is practice and some is training. It just depends on the need.

“Practice Makes Perfect
No, it doesn’t. Ever. See above.

“Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
There is no “Perfect Practice.” This is a fluffy statement reworded from the first statement that does not have a solid foundation.

“Practice Makes Permanent”
Now you’ve got it. What you are trained to do and what you repeatedly do in practice, is what you will do in performance. The above two statements may seem right, but they are not.

USAF photo

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