How to Write Drill

The Seven Parts of an Exhibition Drill Routine

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Canadian Air Cadet DTThe Seven Parts of an Exhibition Drill Routine

In the article, How to Keep a Drill Team Going, I briefly mentioned the seven parts of an exhibition drill (XD) routine. Here, I will expand on and explain those parts.

These parts are a good way to break down the routine into digestible parts when programing (creating).

The information provided below is for a soloist, tandem, tetrad (4 or 5) or full team (9, 12, 16, 25) in competition.

1. The Opening Statement

  • Before you enter the drill area, this should be no are than around 10 seconds long
  • Butt slams, chants and high tosses are examples of great ways to get the attention of your audience and build excitement.

2. Up to the Report-in

  • This includes the report-in
  • This part of the sequence can be all high energy work or it can have peaks and valleys
  • The report-in should be within the first 2 minutes
  • Block, staggered and wedge formations work well here for the report-in formation.

3. After Report-in

  • The transition away from the report-in and the head judge/audience, around 30 seconds to a minute
  • This is separated from the Routine Body because it matters how the team transitions away from the report-in; different is a good thing

4. The Routine Body

  • This is the majority of the routine, (2-3 minutes for a drill team)
  • Visual peaks of high intensity work and valleys of relatively low intensity work are a must
  • Display a wide vocabulary of
    1. Drill moves
    2. Body (head, torso, arms and hands) and foot work
    3. Equipment (flag, rifle, sword/saber and/or guidon) work

5. Before Report-out

  • It also includes the Report-out
  • This is the transition toward the the head judge, about 30 seconds to a minute, the report-out should be within the last 2 minutes
  • This is separate from the Routine Body because, again, it matters how this transition away is made.

6. After Report-out

  • This is the build up to the closing statement
  • A high energy build up is a great way to to create intensity for a powerful report-out

7. The Closing Statement

  • Us this time even if judging stops when the team crosses over the line
  • Your last chance, with an exclamation or an understatement, to “wow” your audience, no more than around 10 seconds long
  • Exclamation: High Energy- creates a clean, powerful ending
  • Understatement: Low energy- leaves the audience wanting more

Choose your distance
Some big moves look great from far away, but when viewed from close up, they lose their impact. The same goes for smaller, more intricate work- usually this work requires he soloist or team to be closer to the audience. These aspects should be taken into consideration during the creation process.

exhibition drill, drill team, armed drill, unarmed drill, fancy drill, precision drill, jrotc

Comments 3

  1. Good Morning,

    How would a HS. Drill team go about getting an armed and unarmed exhibition routine put together. This particular unit is in a rebuilding year with many first time drillers.

    1. Post

      Good morning!

      I suggest starting with the information here regarding the 7 parts of the routine. Then, be creative and concentrate on just that one segment. You can use my DrillMaster Routine Mapping Tools (free download from the Resources page) to map out where each team member stands and moves.
      Here are some links to get you started:

      If you need some help, please let me know.


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