The 2019 Drum Corps Season is Coming!

It’s interesting to have to write about this considering it has not been that long since last season has ended, but Drum Corps shows, from conception to reality, is a multi-month project.

For those who do not understand the inner workings of Drum Corps, I’ll provide a bit of a loose interpretation of how it all comes together over the next few weeks, but for today’s post, I want to cover something important.

The Misconceptions

1 – I’m not good enough

For those who’ve seen the shows through your band director, YouTube, FloMarching, or attended a show, some may be in complete shock and awe in the precision in movements for many of the groups and the cleanliness in which they perform. When I first saw my first Drum Corps show, I was convinced that the level of ability needed to do these shows were something I was not capable of doing. Little did I realize, the amount of work to get to that level, can be learned within the year.

Now, let’s not get things mixed up, if you’re still really new to marching, it will appear and feel very difficult. Also, depending on whether you marching a DCI or DCA corps, what is required of you before hand will vary. Still, despite this, if you have a passion to be a part of the very shows you loved, you are very capable of getting there! It takes passion, hard-work, and most importantly, full commitment to get there!

Do not compare your abilities NOW to the show you just watched, that’s not reality. It’s about getting good during your journey. You’d be surprised how much you’ll have improved by the time a season has ended!

2 – It’s so expensive!

Let’s agree to disagree here because, depending on which corps you join or whether you do DCI or DCA, the amount of money you would spend to be a part of it can and will vary. I wrote a small post earlier on raising some small amounts of money that can help with this endeavor here, but in order to pay some of the tuition fees required to participate, you will need much more.

Every organization have a means of fundraising to help offset the costs, and methods for you to raise money, scholarships offered, and sometimes deals are made depending on your personal financial issue, but make no mistake, the responsibility is still on you.

Asking family and friends to help out with tuition is a pretty common tactic, but planning to pay for these endeavors, have to be done well ahead of time. Though music people like to talk about how much money these organizations are, what you benefit and get from it is way more cost effective than many other things.

Day camps such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, etc. can cost an average of $314 per week. Sleep away camps can add up to $768 per week. Specialty camps, like computer camps, sports camps, etc., can cost you $1000 per week on average.

When compared to more ‘common’ types of things you might have done, or that families have spent money on, Drum Corps can be fairly cheap ranging at the time of this post, from $800 – $4000. Again, this depends on whether you are doing DCA or DCI, and which corps you would be marching with.

Depending on the organization, this is about $25 per day that you are with the group, and that includes: travel costs, food provided, housing provided, etc. Rent and mortgage payments are way more expensive when compared side by side. So cost is generally not the issue, but the sticker price can shock people, but it’s completely manageable if you work for it…part time jobs help as well to save up.

3 – There are bad Corps and Good Corps

This i have to disagree with completely right now. There’s only corps, and there are two schools of thought in my opinion, that a corps is only as good as their instructor, and there are corps only as good as their members.

This debate will go on forever, but a corps can rise and fall by the mettle and drive of their members. Members decide whether they stay or not, whether through personal decisions, financial issues, injuries, parental interference (more on this later), etc. In my experience, I’ve come across great instructors, and not so great instructors, and results have varied, but what was consistent across the board was whether you had members stay and max out their instruction and do the best they could, and you had members that would break down, complain, and not put their best foot forward (toxic members).

Very rarely would there be extremely talented, willing, and great members, and awful instructors at the same time. Even if that were to happen, I would still believe that the members would do fairly well in competition as, we all know, members perform the show on the field.

Unfortunately, the train of thought of good corps and bad corps has been pervasive in the activity, and has hemorrhaged many corps who have a hard time recruiting due to this mind set. I’ve always told people, if you were to take a championship corps and switch their name to another, would they still be a championship corps?

Epilogue

I digress, but honestly, join the corps that interests you, but don’t down play another, there are plenty of people such as yourself that are working hard in their corps. For a list of available corps that are out there, check out the list below.

DCI Corps

DCA Corps

Bonus

For those who haven’t done Corps yet and are auditioning or going to a camp, this will be your best friend.

3 Tips To Staying Warm During The Cold Weather Performances!

Believe it or not, we’re in Autumn! While the weather steadily drops to colder weather, the elements become a new battleground to performing at your very best! Some of you may be doing parades during the winter time in which, depending on where you perform, can be quite unbearable to do your best in.

In all the years I’ve marched playing a brass instrument, nothing was worse than having to hold a chunk of metal for, sometimes, hours at a time, while waiting to even start, THEN expecting to perform while shivering. Over the years, I made my own life easier by fixing the pains from previous year, and through the years, I’ve made other problems for myself, or the solutions I picked, weren’t ideal, but worked.

So, before it becomes unbearable for you to go outside, here are a few ideas that can help you keep warm. Keep in mind, nothing is stopping you from using these ideas in your everday life, or while you’re simply practicing outside. Consider it, a double whammy of benefit for you!

1 – Layer Up & Tuck!

Let me start by saying, not everyone who reads this will have a bunch of money to throw around, or have parents willing to spend money on some of these solutions. That’s okay, as there are things you can do with what you have at home to help keep you warm.

Small science nerd plug, but getting cold is not the problem we have, it’s losing body heat. When you think of it like that, the goal is to trap as much heat that our body produces, from escaping. The biggest obstacle in that endeavor is air passing through our clothes.

Somewhere, around your house, you have a thin undergarment somewhere. An undershirt, long thin pants, leggings, compression clothes (or something that hugs the body tightly), etc. Work with what you have. Putting on an extra shirt or two that you would normally save for a warm day, goes a long way in keeping your body warm as well as having a layer of clothing underneath your pants to help trap the heat. Follow layering guideline for help if you’re still not sure what to look for.

 

In order to mitigate the amount of warm air escaping your body, tuck your shirt into your pants. It might seem and feel funny, but as air passes through your clothes, there are less places for heat to escape if you keep everything ‘sealed’ as much as possible.

I combo these myself (I have them in a Royal Blue Color for reasons). One pair of leggings combined with Long Sleeve Compression Shirts, help keep a lot of my body heat on me. Add a Thin Long Sleeve Shirt and Pants on top, then where what you normally would wear, and you’ll stay toasty all day! I know there’s a third layer in the image, which should be your uniform, unless it’s super thin, then feel free to add a third layer yourself.

Cold Gear Compression Shirt & Cold Gear Compression Leggings & Cold Gear Socks

I tuck the shirt into the leggings. Tuck the leggings into the socks, and you’ll reduce the amount of body heat that escapes!

2 – Hand Warmers

I admit, this isn’t anything new. I’ve seen plenty of band members grab and open up hand warmers as if they were the last ones ever made. There is a bit of strategy for hand warmers though.

First tip I would give with these is, DO NOT keep skin contact with these things for too long. I know it feels good but it’s stated on the package for a reason not to do that, you could burn yourself. What you can do is double layer gloves (I know, it sounds like I’m repeating point one, but trust me on this).

  • Put on a very thin glove, which could be your marching gloves, if not, find something thin.
  • Open up the hand warmer, then with the hand warmer on your palm (or back of your hand, whatever you prefer), put on a second glove, preferably one that’s longer and covers your wrist.
  • If you have gauntlets, even better, put those on right away.

This will help trap the heat that the hand warmer is producing while minimizing the potential to burn your skin. These things can get HOT, and the last thing you want to do is to begin fidgeting around in the middle of a performance because you didn’t take any precautions.

One thing to note, though, is make sure you do this right before you perform. Hand warmers only produce a certain amount of heat and (surprise!) shaking the hand warmer actually doesn’t do anything for it.

Hand warmers are surprisingly cheap and you can get them easily on Amazon just to have. They produce heat when exposed to the air, so as long as these are sealed, you can hold onto them for a while.

10-Pack, 40-Pack, 100-Pack are easily available for quick shipping, but seriously, if you’re going to order these, get them before it’s actually cold. You’ll thank me later.

3 – Warm Gloves

For most groups, this might not fly due to ‘regulation marching band gloves,’ but for the most part, no one really notices these things, and I’ve used these quite often in parades and definitely in practice.

Most marching gloves, are woefully thin and will not protect you from losing heat from your hands for very long. The other problem is, if you get winter type gloves, they are not as flexible, but with clothing tech the way it is now, there is a compromise. Now, depending on what you play, you may simply be out of luck, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping a warm pair nearby when you’re not playing, or have to sit in the stands for a while.

I personally have owned Leather Gloves with a sheepskin inner lining such as these but sometimes you can’t get away from how it looks. For something more ‘marching style looking,’ you can always invest in one of these gloves.

Best part, you can combine the first two tips with warm gloves to further enhance how warm you can stay when temperatures really start to plummet!

BONUS:

There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to performing and staying warm.

Believe it or not, big bulky wardrobe like sweaters and thick sweatpants do not help as much as you think. First of all, it looks painfully obvious you are wearing that underneath a uniform, and if any cold air can get through both gaps, it becomes a giant balloon of cold air that will rapidly steal your body heat.

Also, it takes like a minute with apps and the internet now a days to check the weather forecast. While weather forecasts aren’t 100% accurate, you can probably be mostly comfortable in knowing that when they say it’s going to get cold, it’s probably going to get cold.

If you’re given an ability to wear a jacket while you’re not performing, go for wind breaking material. Even windbreakers with a thin inner lining can help you keep precious body heat from escaping when the cold air starts blowing. Besides, if you’ve already layered up, you don’t need a fuzzy lining to stay even warmer, just something to keep the cold air out.

Hope these helped you! Feel free to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.! Stay warm!

ENGAGE YOUR CORE!

We’ve heard it a million times, and now that we’re midway through the season, you’ll probably be hearing it a lot more as you get closer to the end of the season. Some of you reading this might still be confused or at the very least, not sure what that is supposed to mean.

Several phrases might be used to describe it

  1. The reaction you have when someone tries to suddenly punch your stomach.
  2. Pulling your belly button to your spine.
  3. Tighten your belly

Yet, if you’ve attempted to do this on the move, it feels harder than it sounds. Why is that?

What is the ‘Core?’

The core is a group of muscles that include:

  • Pelvic Floor muscles
  • Transversus Abdomoninis
  • Multifidus
  • Internal and External Obliques
  • Rectus Abdomonis
  • Erector Spinae
  • Longissimus Thoracis
  • Diaphragm

Generally speaking, when you ‘engage your core,’ you are activating this group of muscles and they work together to help you do several things while marching:

  1. First, it straightens out your posture.
  2. Allows you to absorb impact if you’re playing a wind instrument, mitigating bounce in your sound as well as absorbing bounce in your movement as you perform.
  3. Allows you to separate the upper body from lower body movements.

Some of us attempt to do this by overcompensating with what I call, ‘The Superman Pose’ in order to activate our midsection, but we over hype the actual movement and restrict our breathing when we do it that way. We’re also being counterproductive since you’re tightening too many muscles, it creates a larger affect on your ability to play as your body moves as one giant brick rather than a controlled performer.

If you’ve played other sports, you may have done it without realizing it. Wrestling, basketball, tennis, baseball and others, have you engaging your abs in one fashion or another. For some of these, it’s the basis of everything you do to be The sad reality for many, is they are simply not used to engaging the core.

From the way we sit, how we spend our free time and generally, the lack of activity, all contribute to a core that really doesn’t get much use.

The sad truth for a lot of people is they simply have a weak core to begin with. Not many of us actually walk with good posture.

It’s a problem that affects many of us, including those who do not march. We walk with a hunch, or sink into our hips which can lead to lower back problems over the long run. 

There’s a few things counting against us when it comes to doing this most fundamental task needed to accomplish greatness while performing. There are few things you can do for yourself, that can help you get your core working, which does not take a lot of time to do (and no, it’s not a thousand crunches every day).

1 – Neutral Spine Lying Down

One of the more fundamental things you can do to enhance your core, it allows you to focus on finding your neutral spine position. Without knowing what that is and how that feels, you’re basically guessing when you try to have a upright posture with your abs braced.

  • Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor as if you were about to do a sit-up. Make sure your legs are parallel with your heels, toes, knees, and hips all in one line, but don’t keep them right next to each other, leave some distance between legs (about hip width).
  • Let your arms rest at your sides and keep your body relaxed. Simply rest on the floor and let the tension leave your body.
  • Breathe in slowly, allowing your air to move into your back and the sides of your rib cage, and all the way down to the pelvis. Take your time with this breathe. It should be very relaxing.
  • When you exhale, use your abs to press your lower back (and spine) into the floor and inhale to release, but keep your back on the floor.
  • Breathe in again and exhale while you raise your lower back (and spine) up from the floor creating a pelvic tilt. Inhale to release.

Your neutral spine will be in between these two positions that you are doing. When you find it, you should be able to take full, deep breathes and your abs should be dropping towards the floor naturally, but your lower back should not be on the floor (that would be one of the positions called a pelvic tilt.

2 – Hip Lifts (or Hip Bridges)

These should be very familiar for some of you and can be transitioned easily from the first exercise.

  • Start on your back with your knees bent (if you’re transitioning from exercise 1, you’re already there). Hands are down your sides and legs are parallel.
  • Go into a pelvic tilt by taking in a deep breathe, and when you exhale, since your pelvis and lower back into the floor.
  • When you’re in this position, slowly lift your midsection off the ground using your arms, legs, and shoulders to balance and maintain this for about 5-10 seconds, then slowly drop back down inhale and exhale back to your neutral spine position.

This exercise will help you strengthen your core muscles, lower back and butt muscles. The goal in this is to maintain the pelvic tilt as you lift your midsection (essentially working the core the entire time).

Do about 3 sets of 5 to start and work your way up.

3 – Reverse Crunch

I know I made a joke about crunches, but unlike regular crunches, reverse crunches are more functional and more natural than a regular crunch (which many people do incorrectly and not as effective as many people think).

To do a reverse crunch

  • In a reverse crunch, you are bringing in your knees over your hips to start. Hands down your side and everything in the upper body in a neutral position.
  • Bring your knees towards your abs while keeping your core controlled and tight and bring it back to the starting position.

It’s a safer, more effective way of strengthen your core than regular crunches as you don’t have to worry about accidentally straining your neck or shoulders. There’s variations you can add to this to intensify the work, but we can talk about those later.

Goal of this is to not move your neck, shoulders, or most of your upper half of the body with the exception of the core in this move. You’re isolating the work here to help strengthen those muscles.

Do about 3 sets of 10 reps to start and work your way up.

4 – Tabletop to Arm & Leg Extension

Funny sounding name, but great for core work and balance. For this you’ll be rolling over into a ‘horse stance.’

The tabletop has you with your arms fully extended with your hands under your shoulders. You will be on your knees in this one with your knees firmly underneath the hip with your back straight (like a tabletop…get it?…okay i’ll stop with the jokes).

From this position you will bring one arm forward and the opposite leg going straight back. Essentially, it’s one straight line from the tip of your fingers down to your toes on the extending limbs.

Bring in the arm and leg into your starting position and then switch.

You’ll want to hold each position for about a few seconds each before alternating.

These are pretty easy to do, but balance may be an issue at first. Make sure your knee and palm of the supporting leg and arm is firmly planted on the ground. You should also feel a nice pull and extension of your corps doing this manuever.

5 – Planks

You thought I was going to forget this didn’t you? Yes, planks. Plenty of people hate them (unless you were part of that planking challenge) others live by these. These are one of the best methods of strengthening your lower back and core muscles in one shot, but also one of the most frustrating (sometimes) boring ways to improve your strength.

  • If you want to start in the tabletop position and just hold that position, that can work for like the first two sessions, but over time, start extending your legs further back until you can get up on your toes.
  • Keep your stomach muscles tight and slowly raise your body up off the ground and hold in an elevated position.
  • You must keep your core muscles tight and your bottom lifted as high as your shoulders to avoid strain on the lower back.
  • Hold for 10 seconds and slowly lower to starting position.

Repeat five times. As you become stronger, hold the position for longer periods of time.

Last Second Halloween Costumes for Band

It’s one of my favorite time of year in which we get to dress up as some of our favorite characters for a day (or three if you’re me!)

I remember we would have a rehearsal in full costume and would just have a complete blast! When I did band, days were cold during Halloween, so it was easier to cover up. Now a days, it’s like taking a bet on whether you’ll be too hot or too cold for the holiday.

Also, if you’re one of those who are waiting until the last second for a costume, you may want to try some of these ideas or order these on Amazon (make sure it’s prime so you can get it quickly as we’re not that far away)

1 – Dragonball Z Compression Costume 

Personally, I’m getting a few of these since I teach a group fitness class, so it’s a natural fit personally, but you can use this as sort of a ‘cheat’ in which you can wear your costume underneath, but if it gets cold, have plenty of room to wear layers.

If you’re going as Goku or Vegeta, you can combine it with these leggings for a full costume that you can wear layers over. It’s a win-win!

Just don’t think too hard on when to order, the sooner the better as vendors have been running out of these fairly quickly!

2 – Supergirl / Superman

A staple in many costume get togethers, you can easily pull this off in school and on the field! Get a few of your friends together and make a super team!

There are several different ways you can go about it. You can order a complete Supergirl costume, or simple is your thing, you can get that here!

For the Superman fans, we have the full costume here and the very casual Friday version here.

Either or is good for you and your crew, but keep in mind how long you have until it’s time to dress up.

3 – The T-Rex

Of course, what costume suggestion would be complete without the famous, and hilarious T-Rex Costume! If you can manage to practice and wear this thing, I would love to see that! This has made the rounds on college campuses, parks, and rehearsal fields for a while now and it does not get any less funny! Make your teammates laugh as you parade around in this oversized bundle of comedy!

KEEP IN MIND

I know i sound like a broken record, but seriously, get on your halloween game already! It’s October 10th. How long do you think you have to plan? If none of these costumes do it for you, definitely figure out what you want asap! If you don’t plan on dressing up, that’s cool too, but don’t regret it a few days before because the good quality costumes will be gone, and you may just end up with a mask and frankly…that just looks like you didn’t even bother to try. You may as well have just not bought anything at all.

Feel free to follow us on Facebook here!

3 FUNDRAISING IDEAS YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CAN HELP YOU WITH

Trying to find ways to fund your band adventures? Maybe you’re trying to raise money for a trip, pay tuition costs for a drum corps, getting guard tape, sticks, or accessories and maintenance equipment for your instruments?

Whatever the reason, there are several ways you can raise the money. The most obvious would be simply ask your friends and family, participate in school sponsored fundraisers, but sometimes that may not even be enough. What now?

You try one of those adorable FACEBOOK posts asking for donations for your cause, but Social Media has been flooded by plenty of people asking for money, and it’s basically become white noise at this point(besides, you’ll be competing with your teammates for the same people and, for the most part, you know similar people, and they rather donate to no one then to donate to everyone they know.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to get some side cash, but, unless you’re 18 and over, many of them may not be in your grasp unless you recruit your family to help you out. Now, quick disclaimer, none of this will get you a boatload of money very quickly, but if you plan far enough ahead, or just keep working at it over the long term, you can definitely make some decent cash for whatever you need it for. I’ll rank them 1 through 5 for ease of use so you can decide what works best for you and your family!

1 – IBottta Difficulty: 2

This is one of the more popular apps out there that gives you cash back for shopping! Very easy interface and all you have to do is preselect items at a major retail location and shop those items. Now, not every tem that you normally get will be on this, but they do offer some cash back just for submitting a receipt, which isn’t a bad deal because, your family has to shop anyway right? Not only do you get some cash for just signing up (or getting your parents to sign up), but you can refer this to your family and get them in on the action! Make it a request that any cash back they get, to donate to your cause! After you’ve achieved your goals, they can keep going and get cash back for themselves! If they’re not tech saavy, just simply ask your family for their receipts and you scan them in yourself! To check them out, click here to sign up and get some cash just for signing up (if under 18, get your parents to sign-up).

2 – Ebates Difficulty: 3

Similiar to IBottta, Ebates allows you or your family, the opportunity for cash back for purchases that you would normally do online. Popular brands are connected with Ebates such as vistaprint, Amazon.com, eBay, American Eagle, and the list goes on!

Plan on doing online shopping? Have your Ebates app ready to go. Once you know where you’re getting it from, go into the app, select the store or website (if available) and once it redirects you there, purchase it like normal. Within a few days, you’ll see the cash within your Ebates app.

The only downside to Ebates is they’ll send you the money every 3 months ONLY if you have more than $5.00 in your Ebates account. Specifically on February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15, BUT, this doesn’t mean the money is not coming. So if you build up a big enough balance before hand, you’ll get a nice amount of change before they send it to you.

You can also connect a PayPal account to it as well so the transfer will be quicker on those days, rather than waiting for a check. If you sign up for the Ebates here you can get started within an hour. Also, they have a promotion that if you purchase up to $25 worth of qualified items, you’ll receive $25 back right into your Ebates account (plus the cash back you earned).

3 – Dosh Difficulty: 1

This is actually a really easy application to use but the setup is not so clear sometimes. Basically, you would add a credit card to the application and it monitors the transactions as it happens. If the card is used with one of their qualifying cash back partners, you’ll receive cash back in the app!

They do partner with CVS, Exxon, Lil Burgers, and several small mom & pop shops throughout the country! They have online partners such as Perry Ellis, Gap, Nike, Snapfish, The Container Store, Sephora, and the list goes on!

For the online shopping, you have to visit the website through the application, similiar to how Ebates works, but for the offline purchases, you just have to go to a location that does Dosh Cashback and swipe with the card you added to the application.

Now i know, most of you probably don’t have credit cards, but your friends and family might. As a joint fundraising opportunity, ask them to allow you to add their card to the list of cards being monitored for purchase. This sounds sketchy, but Dosh is PCI compliant, so by law, they have to protect this information, plus you won’t have this information after you enter it for security reasons. While they buy things, if they happen to hit something that gives cash back, it shows up in your app.

In order to cash out though, you have wait for a minimum of $25 to be earned before you can cash out, but it’s way more instant than Ebates.

If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

3 Easy Steps to making a Dot Book

With Spring finally here (although quite a bit late on the East Coast), bands are beginning their preparations for marching band season! While not all bands begin their preparations in the Spring time, it’s never too early to start thinking about drill! Top performers are prepared and ready to rock out to put on a spectacular show in the fall! There are a few things you’re going to need in order to max out your time on the field though, and none more important than your drill sheet and your handy dandy dot book.

While in the beginning of the season you may not use your dot book yet until you learn where you’re going, it pays to get ahead of the game and having it prepared. Those sheets of paper with drill will eventually blow away, get wet, or worse, you lose it, and printing out large volumes of drill is not going to happen on the regular. There’s also a method to the madness of writing down what you are doing and where you’re going to help with remembering how to perform on the field.

With that in mind, there’s several ways you can prepare a dot book for on the field reference, but below are my 5 Top Tips for making your dot book

1. Learn how to read your drill sheet

I know, it sounds crazy right? The first thing about dot book making has nothing to do with the actual dot book, but stick with me here for a second. Since your drill sheet is going to be your first point of reference when it comes to understanding where you are and where you’re going, it pays to know how it was put together. While each drill sheet in each program will have slightly different looks, the fundamentals are usually the same. We’ve covered the fundamentals on this blog here.

2. Highlight and Write all over your drill sheet

This part you can customize to your liking (unless you’re being told to do it a certain way). My recommendation to get several highlighters and mechanical pencils (the ones that you click out the lead) to get started on marking up your drill. Now you may be thinking, why am I marking up my drill so much? This is a very visual activity as well, and being able to find yourself on the field quickly and easily is essential in maximizing your practice time. To get things started, we’ll start with 4 colors of highlighters: Blue, Green, Yellow, and Pink will work.

A) Take a big sharpie, and write the set number on the top left or right, wherever there is more space. It’s easier to read a big number than a small printed one.

B) Find your dot on the drill and mark it with blue (I prefer the darkest color to be used in this instance). The reason for the darkest color, is so you can find yourself on the page as fast as possible.

C) Find the 50 Yard Line and highlight it with Green (or whatever color you prefer that’s not the same as your dot). This will help you to locate side 1 and side 2 quickly if you know where the 50 is at all times. If you’re looking at the drill normally, side 1 is to the left and side 2 is to the right.

D) Find the closest yard line, to you and mark it with Pink or yellow (your preference). That way you can see where you are relative to the 50. Quick Caveat, if the closest yard line is the 50, no need to mark another yard line.

E) Find if you’re closer the sideline, the hash, or the back hash, and mark it with the last highlighter color you got. That way you can figure out your ‘front to back’ location, or rather, how far from the side of the field you are.

F) Take your mechanical pencil and begin writing on your drill where you are on the field. Whatever order you choose to write, you should keep it consistent so you don’t get lost, but this is the order i’ve seen written several times.
-Write what side you’re on (Side 1 or Side 2)
-Write whether you’re on a yard line, or whether you’re whatever number of steps inside or outside that yard line. (i.e. On the 45 Yard line, 2 Outside the Yard Line, 2 Inside the Yard Line).
-Write However many steps you are from the sideline, front hash, or back hash. For example, 3 from the sidelines, or 2 in front of the front hash, or 2 in front of the back hash. Back when I marched, I used abbreviations such as BS, FFH, BFH, FBH, BBH (Behind  sidelines, front of Front Hash, Behind Front Hash, Front of Back Hash, and Behind Back Hash respectively).
-Repeat for every drill sheet you have

3) Now it’s time to take out the dot book!

Take out out a mechanical pencil and get ready to get your first set of coordinates on your dot book. Here’s the easy trick, you did the work already on the drill sheet! All you’re doing is transcribing it to the dot book. Write your set number on it, then write the coordinates you’ve already got down.

I know what you’re thinking, why am I doing this twice? Well, there will be times you need the drill sheet again. Do you really want to spend time trying to locate your dot on a tiny print then try to read the drill sheet instructions? At least, with what you wrote down, you can quickly reference where you should be!

Pretty easy right? To recap, you will need some sort of index card book to write all these coordinates on, but you will also need some rope or shoelace to keep on you, but that’s a discussion for another time. As always, if you have any questions or comments, let me know, and I’ll be happy to help!

5 Top Brands for Hot Weather Marching Band!

We are getting to that point in time where band camps are starting up and Drum Corps are beginning their competitive seasons throughout the country. One thing is a given when it comes to marching in the summer. It’s going to be HOT! No matter how much water you’re drinking, if you don’t have the right gear and equipment on, you can find yourself suffering through those long, sunny days!

There are plenty of brands out there that sell hot weather gear, but make no mistake, not all are created equal. There will be times where you truly, ‘Get what you pay for’ and if you cheap out on the attire you get, you’ll get it in the long run. That doesn’t mean there aren’t decent brands out there at an affordable cost. So let’s run a couple while we’re here.

1 – Under Armour 

One of the most familiar brands of all weather sports gear, Under Armour stands out as one of the most recognizable brands in the market. So much so that people have taken to calling any compression gear, Under Armour. With it’s massive catalog of items from Compression Shirts to Shoes, it has been a staple of athletic wear, and does not disappoint for the warm weather. The only downside I can see is the price tag on some of the merchandise, but if you’re looking for something simple like a short sleeve compression shirt or some compression underwear. You can’t possibly go wrong with them.

2 – Champion 

More notable for their regular sorts and shirts that they sell, Champion has been a brand that’s been great for those who can’t afford the price tag that comes with more expensive brands like Under Armour, but without sacrificing much in quality. Their ‘Flatlock’ stiching helps with those whom are prone to bad chafing. Let’s be real, in Marching, it’s bound to happen, so why not get the gear that helps prevent it just a little while longer? While not the cheapest brand that will be on the list, their mid price costs can help alleviate some pain in your wallet. Depending on your size, they can float on an average of $15-$20 each for a decent compression shirt or under garments.

3 – CW-X

One of the top brands that you may not even have heard of. Their compression designs are made to help stabilize your joints when you’re extremely active. It helps for those whom may be working through a knee injury or have issues with their hip flexor. Their conditioning shorts have stretch mesh material to keep you cooler and their ‘Support Web’ mimics the use of KT-Tape. For those who’ve used it, you know how amazing that stuff is! They even have a Ventilator Web Top for back support as well!

4 – Nike

Nike has come out swinging with amazing apparel over the years! It’s also a brand that’s been around for a long time, so you know they don’t play around with coming out with good items! Their assortments of Cool Compression Shirts and Shorts will keep you cool all summer long!

5 – Reebok 

There lineup of short sleeve shirts and Performance Shorts are top notch without being excessively overpriced! There one of my favorite brands out there as I do gym workouts in this gear and never had a complaint about it’s sweat wicking material! While you don’t have to go with my recommendations on this, you won’t be disappointed with their brand lineup!

These aren’t the only brands out there that you can shop for, but keep in mind, while price is an important factor before getting anything, do a bit a research and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. You don’t even have to take my word for it, but knock off brands and brands that you normally find in a supermarket are massed produced for the public and doesn’t have quality in mind, just usage and low mileage. If you have any questions on when and how i used each brand, hit me up and i’ll try to get to you as fast as I can!