How To Read Your Drill Sheet

So here we are, getting to the part of the season where we begin to learn where we are on the field and where we’re going. It can get a little overwhelming at first, but here at Marching Music Maniacs, we’re going to break down how to read the drill to get you started on your adventure in putting dots to drill to performance!

  • Find your ‘dot’
    When you’re given drill, you’ll most likely be assigned a ‘dot’ or a point on the drill that is supposed to represent YOU. That number, letter, or number & letter do not change, most of the time. What this does for you, is let you know where you should be on each page. The best way to find out EXACTLY how you should look at the dot, consult with the band director or your section leader. Especially when dealing with letters as you need to know exactly how you should look at it so you don’t learn it incorrectly.
  • Side 1 & Side 2
    Another term you’ll hear a lot. When you’re given your drill, you’re going to be on one of three areas. You’re either on one side of the 50, the other side, or on the 50 yard line itself. For anything NOT on the 50 yard, can be denoted as side 1 and side 2. Here’s the trick though, side 1 and side 2 is based on how the audience is going to be looking at you, which can get confusing at first but it’s not too hard. If you’re facing the audience, side 1 is the right of the 50 and side 2 is the left. If you’re the audience (or you’re facing away from the audience) side 1 is the left of the 50 and side 2 is the right of the 50. Take a look at the image for reference.It’s not terribly difficult to learn, but can confuse you if you’re not paying too much attention. We’ll get into more details on how to differentiate it easily, including reorient how you look at the drill, but if you can get this fundamental down, you’ll be good to start.
  • Inside and outside a yard line
    Another term that may be slightly confusing, BUT this goes hand in hand with Side 1 & Side 2. Whenever you’re ‘inside’ a yard line, it means you’re getting closer to the 50 from that yard line. If you’re outside a yard line, it means you’re getting farther from the 50 from the yard line. Confused?I get it, so lets take a small example. You’re on Side 1 and your drill says you’re 3 outside the 40 yard line. So if you’re facing the audience, the 50 yard line would be to your left. So if you’re 3 steps outside the 40 yard line, you’ll be going three steps to the right of the 40. Still confused? The illustration on the left should help a little. Once you have this concept mastered, learning drill will go by faster.
  • Every line is a step
    So you’ll be given drill and told to find your dot and you may just scratch your head or find someone who knows what they’re doing since you’re not quite sure what all these boxes mean. It’s actually easier than you think. Each intersection of the lines is a step on the drill. So if you’re trying to count from the side lines or from the hash, you’re counting the lines going across (so if you’re 3 from the sidelines, it’s 3 horizontal lines from the sideline on the drill, if you’re 3 steps outside the 40 yard line, it’s the 3 vertical lines from the 40). We’ll get into more details about step size and how to find yourself on the field, but that conversation is a lot longer than this blog is intended for.

That’s all for now as far as the basics in reading your drill sheet. In our next blog, we’ll cover how this works with the creation of your dot book. We’ll also be covering spacing in the future, but we’ll hopefully have some videos out so you can see what we mean. For now, have a great day!

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