What is the Position of Attention?

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This isn’t a complete definition, it’s to give us an idea of what we use it for at it’s basic level.

It’s the position from which all movement is performed. The body, held in a fairly rigid stance and yet without tension, must remain at Attention for facing movements, faces-in-marching, the hand salute, and movements with the guidon, flagstaff, sword, and rifle.

Marching begins and and ends at Attention. While marching team members remain at the position unless otherwise called (At Ease March, Route Step) but every precise movement (column, flank) must be called while the individual/formation is at Attention.

We can then conclude that the position is purely functional when we start training. Most everyone at the stage of training relates the position to standing still. It then expands to have greater meaning with more training.

Advanced Concepts

Now let’s explore the purpose of Attention from a performance standpoint. When you read “performance” think of an exhibition or regulation drill routine or even a colors presentation.

  1. For the individual. Attention relates to the physical and mental demands necessary to carry out an individual’s part of the performance with exactness and consistency. Remember, from this point, “Attention” doesn’t just mean standing still.
  2. For the team. A position that gives the best advantage for members to adjust their alignment, distance, and orientation relative to other team members. A formation is not merely the basic block of a platoon/flight. “Formation” now means any grouping.
  3. For the audience. The projected image of the team. Uniformity of technique and/or the contrast in positions and movement. Consider the traditional expectation(s) of the audience.

Now What?

What do we do with this knowledge? How can we put it to use?

  1. When we begin to train (drill team, for instance), we use basic information and positions. We then build on that information and slowly expand the knowledge of the team members. This realization helps team members understand their responsibilities as an individual and as part of the smaller groups of which the individual is a member (squad, rank, group of 4, etc.), and the team as a whole.
  2. “Game Face” is a term used to develop and set a mental attitude about one’s performance in sports. The position of Attention reflects this attitude for the drill team or color guard member.
  3. Uniformity is going to provide the team with the ability to clearly communicate with the audience from the first moment of the performance. Contrast provides a level of entertainment in the form of intrigue.
  4. Audience members come with a certain expectation (bias) that is based on general knowledge and experience. Most everyone watching your performance, no matter where it is, has at some point seen someone in uniform most likely standing at Attention. If not, you are now setting a standard to which other similar situations are to be judged (to some extent).
  5. The adjudicator(s) of your performance should not have a bias when it comes to judging your performance except for the team to meet certain standards (Flag Code, protocol, drill and ceremonies procedures). Even an expectation of any level of excellence is not appropriate. Judges are to judge what is presented through the lens of the scoresheet using an appropriate scoring scale that should have a rubric (a written guide for grading) for each scoring increment.

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