When I judge, I create a commentary/critique of each performance during the performance and I then post it on my website here for the Drillers/teams to download and listen to. On many of my recordings, you can hear me talk about the Driller’s or team’s “opening statement.” But what is this opening statement?
Defining the Term
In military exhibition drill visual performance terms, an opening statement is the part of the performance that begins when timing and judging begin up to the report-in. This is usually around the first 30 seconds or so of the routine. It is the first impression for the Driller’s/team’s first impression.
If timing/judging begins at the first movement, then spending as much time outside the boundary with your opening statement is up to you. If not, then the more time spent outside the boundary line, the more movement is “wasted.” You want the most effective use of all of your allotted time. Obviously, a Driller/team should begin creating that first impression immediately, but how long is too long to remain in place outside the boundary with that opening statement? This is a matter of opinion and cannot be answered in a cut-and-dry statement, but we can get an idea of what a good rule of thumb can be.Thirty seconds? This is relatively long in the context of which we are speaking. Fifteen seconds or less is a good guide. Marching should begin almost right away- remember you still have to traverse half of the drill area to report-in.
Starting on the Field
I encourage all competitions to allow this. I really appreciate this option as it gives the Driller/team a variation for the creation process.
The portion of the routine outside the boundary, should not be judged. It sets up the rest of the routine as giving the first impression, but not until the first team member steps across the boundary does judging begin- you must check the competition’s SOP to get specific details, however.
So, starting outside the boundary is standard for now. Hopefully, that will change and you will have a choice. In the mean time, your opening statement, your first impression needs to begin off-field and move the Driller/team into the drill area, over the boundary, quickly so that timing and especially judging can begin.
Photo courtesy: NEISD.net