WDA Competition Information


Junior Class units (middle school and high school only) are the less developed participants. Our goal is to assist in their training and development and to reward these achievements in a logical learning progression. To teach these groups with the greatest degree of consistency and success requires a thorough understanding of their level of development and training.

Performance Restrictions: No equipment work where the equipment leaves either hand.


A-Class units (middle school, high school and independent) are enthusiastic to display their abilities. Most will have achieved the level of training set in Junior Class.

Performance Restrictions: No overhead equipment work or blind tosses. Solos and tandems can be exempted from this restriction.


Open Class units (high school, college and independent) are enthusiastic with a strong desire to grow and explore. They are open and eager to test their skills in a more challenging arena.

Performance Restrictions: None.


World Class units are independent/professional and top high school and college teams. These teams are well educated and trained, work with coaches and have perfected their programs.

Performance Restrictions: None.


Ceremonial Class units are independent/professional teams made up of police, firefighter, veteran associations and military members. Their competition consists of: drill team, color guard and/or Mock Funeral.

Performance Restrictions: None.


Should a unit be perceived to be misclassified, a Head Judge, WDA administrator or any unit instructor can request that a review be made on the unit in question. This review request should occur at the preliminary competition, and a video of the unit made at the finals competition. The recording will then be emailed to the WDA office where it will be duplicated and emailed to the Review Committee consisting of the Education Director, Head Judge and instructors/coaches. A classification decision will be made within one week of receipt of the video in question and the unit notified by the Unit Coordinator.

This same review procedure will occur at the conclusion of World Championships. The committee as defined above will review all finalists. If the Review Committee promotes a unit, the Unit Director may submit a letter on extenuating circumstances on why this promotion would adversely affect their unit. The committee will then re-open the review and decide whether the circumstances warrant a reversal of the promotion.

If the Review Committee maintains the promotion, the unit may submit a video recording to the Review Committee no later than August 31 of the next competitive season to petition a move back down to their original Level. Accomplish all reviews no later than the first competition and these decisions will be final for that competitive season.



  • Armed/Unarmed Team 9-25 Drillers (plus commander*)
  • Small Team 6-8 Drillers (plus commander*)
  • Tetrad 4 or 5 Drillers
  • Color Guard 4: 2 Color Bearers and 2 Rifle Bearers
  • Solo One Driller only
  • Tandem Two Drillers only

*A Team Commander may also march as a member in the formation.


  • Category Armed Unarmed
  • Dimensions Timing (mins)
  • Novice Class Timing (mins)
  • Junior – World Dimensions Timing (mins)
  • Novice Class Timing (mins)

Junior – World

  • Exhibition Team 100’ X 100’ 4-5 5-7 100’ X 100’ 3-6 4-6
  • Exhibition Solo/Tandem 50’ X 50’ 2-3/3-4 50’ X 50’ 2-3/3-4
  • Exhibition Small Team 75’ X 90’ 4-6 75’ X 90’ 3-5
  • All Team Regulation 80’ X 100’ 4-5 6-8 80’ X 100’ 4-7 5-7
  • All Color Guard 50’ X 50’ 4-5 5-6
  • Inspection 25’ X 25’ 10 20 25’ X 25’ 10 20


1. Teams must report to the Inspection preparation area ten minutes prior to their scheduled time.

2. Reporting later than that time may result in a .50 point penalty for every minute late.

3. Any team reporting more than ten (10) minutes late may be disqualified from the competition. The team may be permitted to perform in the rest of the competition, but will not be eligible for the sweepstakes trophy.

4. Any emergency circumstances must be made known to the designated WDA staff via telephone or in person as soon as is reasonable.


1. See each phase’s Timing and Penalties score sheet for information on timing and related penalties

2. Any unit creating a delay in the schedule will be subject to penalty. The time schedule may be expanded at the option of the Competition Director, but not lessened.


1. All adjudicators with the exception of the Timing and Penalty Judge are elevated, if possible. The T&P Judge can receive the report-in

2. All judges use WDA score sheets


Definitions of authorized equipment:

  1. Flags: National and state or services must be at least three (3) feet by five (5) feet.
  2. The WDA recommends that units use for their color guard either of the following:
    • a. Seven-foot poles with 3’ X 5’ flags and 8 ¼” ornament
    • b. Eight-foot poles with 4’ X 6’ flags and 8 ¼” ornament
    • c. The finial (ornament on the top of the pole) should be the spearhead for each flag.
  3. A guidon*. Follow the information provided in Army Regulation 840-10 or similar service instruction. Army Regulation 840-10 states:

“6–4. Description

A guidon is a swallow-tailed unit marker, 20-inch hoist by a 27-inch fly, the swallow-tail end forked l0 inches. Fringe is not used on guidons. Guidons are made of bunting cloth or nylon, unless otherwise specified. Design elements will appear on the opposite side as if printed through the material. Letters and numerals will read from left to right on each side of the guidon. The letters and numbers on guidons are 3 1/2 inches high unless otherwise indicated. When an SSI is authorized for use on the guidon, the design will appear proper on both sides.

8-4 Flagstaffs

e. Flagstaffs for guidons are 8 feet*.”

*The WDA allows shorter guidon flagstaffs for Exhibition Drill. If a team marches a guidon, it will use the taller pole for the Inspection and Regulation Drill Phases and can use the shorter pole for the Exhibition Drill Phase.

  1. Rifles or simulated rifles are defined as devices constructed to conform to the outward appearance of a military rifle past or present. Sights, slings, trigger, trigger housing, bolt and bolt levers are optional.
  • a. Alternate Arms: rifles that are 3lbs to 8.4lbs
  • b. Demilitarized 8.5+lbs.

Sabers/swords are defined as those weapons which are designed to be hand-held for cutting, thrusting or slashing with either a curved blade (saber) or a straight blade (sword) which is constructed of metal. A cutting edge is not required. Simulated sabers/swords must have either a hand unit or a hilt and must be at least twenty-four (24) inches in length.

Note: The Timing and Penalties judge has the right to inspect and challenge units for authorized equipment either before or after the maximum performance time with permission of the Competition Director.

Prohibited Equipment:

• No pyrotechnics, discharge of arms, pressurized canisters, dangerous materials, flammable liquids or animals are permitted in or around the competition area. Smoke machines are not allowed. Electrical (plug-in or battery operated) or compressed air apparatuses, including lights, lasers, and flashcubes (electrical or chemical) are not allowed.

• The use of powder, dirt or any other airborne substance that lingers in the competition area is prohibited.

PENALTY: Disqualification


1. Only the Competition Director or their designate may assess a penalty. Timing and Penalties Judges must report all violations to the Competition Director.

2. Any unit violating any rule or part of a rule, breaches standard competition etiquette or fails to comply with directions from competition personnel for which no specific penalty is provided, shall be penalized for each such violation, not less than 0.1 point up to disqualification at the discretion of the Competition Director.


Critique is run by a Timing and Penalties judge. Each team’s staff or individual Driller will be assigned five minutes to meet with judges at the conclusion of all contests if there is time and room available. The order in critique will be based on performance order. Four team’s staff members will be admitted into the critique room at a time. The groups will rotate through the two stations of judges: 1) Overall Effect and Composition Analysis, 2) Equipment and Movement/Marching and at five minute intervals.

If a team’s staff is not present when called into the critique room, their critique time may be forfeited. The critique format may be changed by the WDA Competition Director with notice to participating units.



  • All teams will assume a pre sized formation of three squads/elements (no matter the team size) with the team commander centered in the front
  • Four judges inspect the team: one for each squad/element and one for the team commander
  • Judges use the WDA inspection sheet
  • Judges will not yell at any cadet for any reason at any time. However, a “raised voice” is permitted.
  • Judges will not “gang up” on any cadet— only one judge per cadet
    • The cadets are not in Basic Training, they are competing at a drill meet


The newest part of the inspection phase is called the World Drill Ultimate Inspection. It is not mandatory, but meant to be another way to instill teamwork and discipline.

  • Each team selects one member to undergo this highly scrutinizing inspection by three judges
  • The inspected cadet must wear:
    • A basic service dress uniform including blouse (service jacket)
    • Highly shined leather shoes (no Corfam or patent leather)
    • All mandatory patches
    • Tie/Tab
    • At least one ribbon
    • Name tag
    • Service-specific lapel insignia
    • All authorized shoulder patches
    • Other authorized items may be worn at the cadet’s discretion
    • Without yelling, the three judges will inspect the cadet. When asked:
      • The cadet will remove one shoe (at the judge’s discretion) to have it inspected.
      • The cadet will remove his/her cover to have it inspected.
      • The cadet will also remove the blouse of the uniform to have it inspected inside and out.
      • The cadet will answer all questions to the best of the cadet’s abilities.

The purpose of the Ultimate inspection is to see which team, working together to prepare this one cadet, can put forth the best-dressed member. Judges inspect the uniform inside and out. Perfection is the standard. The cadet will also be asked a battery of questions.

WDA Ultimate Inspection Procedures

The three judges should be in a room. When given the signal, the cadet knocks three times, (opens the door*,) enters, (closes the door*,) halts centered two steps in front of the Head Judge and states while rendering the proper hand salute, “Sir (Ma’am), Cadet [rank] [name] from [name of school] reports.”

*A room with a door is not necessary. If no door, the cadet should knock on a doorframe or something similar.

The inspection lasts for five minutes. The judges grade the cadet on everything in the standard inspection and then go a step further by closely examining the inside of the uniform blouse and cover and a shoe. These items will be removed on the request of the judges.

At the end of the inspection, the cadet will be dismissed.


  • A team must start and end outside the boundary


  • More information will be provided about this exciting new phase


  • A team/soloist may start anywhere outside or insidethe boundary
    • Inform the T&P Judge
    • Big Trick: The Driller has 30 seconds to execute a performance that includes a big trick. Timing begins at the first movement and ends when the Driller goes to Port or Order Arms.


  • A team must start and end outside the boundary
  • All teams are made up of four members only


  • More information will be provided about this exciting new phase


  • Teams can compete in any or all of the competition areas: Color Guard, Inspection, Drill Team and Mock Funeral


Local WDA Competitions

  • The WDA will work with any local competition hosts to supply judges, organize and promote the event.

State, Regional and World Championships

  • The Teams/Drillers achieving the highest overall score, regardless of Class will be named the WDA National Champions for their category.


  1. All teams/Drillers are eligible to participate in WDA competitions at the state level.
  2. Teams/Drillers who qualify at any State-level competition are eligible to compete in a WDA Regional competition.
    1. International (other than the US) teams/Drillers are considered to have competed at the Regional level
    2. Teams/Drillers who qualify at any WDA State/Regional competition are eligible to compete at the WDA World Championships

Competition Dates

  1. Local: Any time; you tell us and we will be there
  2. State: Late March
  3. Regional: Early April
  4. World: The last weekend in April

Comments 3

  1. Hey DM,
    Could you possibly write a more in-depth article about the WDA Ultimate Inspection, maybe even a short-quick video on your YouTube? I’m interested in how it functions but can’t find any information on it. Do you have an example score sheet? Appreciate the work you do, thanks in advance.

    1. Post
  2. Pingback: Why The WDA Adjducation System? | The DrillMaster

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