Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sample Practice Schedule For Winter Guard

It's important to have a plan for each practice before you start. Make a list of realistic goals and an achievable schedule to keep you on target.  Here is a sample schedule to help you get started:

Most winter guard practices tend to be three hours, in my experience.  The first hour should be dedicated to warm-ups and basics.  Start with a dance warm-up and stretch to get your muscles moving. Many guards begin every practice with some cardio like jogging around the gym. Then go over dance basics and across-the-floors. If you have a dance basics routine you do each rehearsal, pick one move or section to really focus on and improve each day. Then do the whole routine while implementing those improvements. Do the same thing with your flag basics routine.  Go over tosses - basic tosses plus specific ones with preps from your show.  Finally, do the same thing with a weapon warm up and basics.  All of this should be covered in the first hour and will absolutely improve the performance and technique in your show.  Time spent improving basics is always time well spent. 

The second hour of practice will involve something different, depending on what stage of the season you're at.  In the beginning, this hour will be spent learning new drill or new choreography.  Later in the season this hour can be spent reviewing, cleaning, or changing existing choreography and staging.  This is a good time to address some of your judges' comments.

The final hour of practice should involve putting the show together.  Run sections or "chunks" of your show that include parts you worked on during the previous hour.  Include time for run-throughs at the end, but also during this hour so your guard doesn't get too exhausted doing multiple runs in a row.  Plan which sections you can run and work on beforehand when you're scheduling your practice.  That way you'll be sure to get to everything you need to work on.  This is also a good time to work on transitions.  Before you start competitions, this is also a prime time to practice setting your equipment and exiting the floor so your team is prepared.

THANKS FOR READING! For more tips and fun stuff about the marching arts OR if you are interested in custom Winter Guard show design, drill, and choreography or Marching Band drill and Color Guard choreography, check out my website at

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