It’s Natural to be Negative

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“Negative” judging was the first kind and in the military drill world is still quite prevalent.

What is “Negative” Judging?
In the drum corps and marching band world, this judging is called the “tick system.” The score starts with 100 points and each “tick” being a tenth of a point that is deducted for “mistakes.” This is what the military drill world (MDW) has been using for decades, a negative system.

Concentrating on Positives
Drum Corps International, Winter Guard International, Bands of America, US Bands and many, many more organizations switched to a more “positive” system many years ago. This system starts every performance at zero points and then awards points in the different captions based on the effectiveness of the performance.

The visual performance captions are: Overall Effect, Composition Analysis, Movement and Equipment. Timing and Penalties is also a judging position, but not a caption.

The positive or “build-up” system concentrates on rewarding all performances. Every performance has some positive aspect, even if you have to dig to find it. Concentrating on what a Driller did “wrong” in a performance does not educate the Driller as to how to improve. There is not “wrong” in exhibition drill-XD, just things outside the guidelines of the SOP and possible performance mistakes.

Judging Peace-meal
Much of the current judging for the MDW, consists of separating key points of a routine (from an XD sheet currently used):

Report In (10)    _______ (There are parts of each caption here)

Originality of Movements (40)   _______ (This is Overall Effect)

Difficulty of Movements (50)    _______ (This is Overall Effect and Equipment/Movement)

Precision of Movements (50)    _______ (This is Overall Effect and Equipment/Movement)

Variety of Movements (40)    _______ (This is Overall Effect and Equipment/Movement)

Appearance & Bearing (40)       _______ (This is Overall Effect)

Field Coverage (30)   _______ (This is Overall Effect and Composition Analysis)

Showmanship (30)    _______ (This is Overall Effect)

Report Out (10)        _______ (There are parts of each caption here)

Separating at this level does not give an effective overview of all parts of the visual performance.Also, notice how most of the sheet covers effect? This is also very natural and common. When we watch a performance we react to it in a positive or negative way, we react to the effect of the performance. When one gets into analysis of a performance, while effect is a big part, there are other aspects that must be taken into the total valuation and this doesn’t happen at any current military drill competition, unfortunately. Note: the military is not in the business of training anyone to analyze a performance like this.

Judging peace-meal like this does not afford the judge the ability to consider various aspects together as some aspects can enhance others. It forces the judge to separate each part of the performance- and does not completely cover the performance.

I want to be very clear: This type of judging is not wrong! It’s just not complete, mostly concentrates on effect and there is something much better.

The World Drill Association Adjudication System
Yes, the WDA system is what is much better. Because I created it? No, absolutely not. I modified the Winter Guard International system to meet the needs of the military drill world. I just had the idea to modify an already vetted excellent system. This system already worked and worked extremely well. I just put it through the MDW filter and added a section for Regulation Drill.

Are you a judge? Even if you’ve been judging for a while, there is always room to learn. Become a Certified WDA Adjudicator, click here for more info.

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