The Thousands Club

Years ago, I started something with my color guard students to improve their technical skills. I realized that the kinds of adjustments that we need them to do requires much more familiarity with their hands than they can gain during mere ensemble rehearsal hours. Therefore, I began what I call the Thousands Club.

Students have to log in a spiral notebook every attempt they make at each toss they have in their training syllabus...and they have to do 1,000 of each! After throwing this many tosses they gain a familiarity with the micro-adjustments required to solidify ensemble technique. At the basic levels, they working with larger muscle groups and placement. In order to get to the more advanced levels of performance, they need to have an understanding and discipline to make smaller, harder to improve adjustments that only the pressure of time and repetition can give. 

Once a week, we look at the students' logs and see how often they're practicing on their own and how far into their 1,000s they've gotten. We encourage them to practice daily and explain the benefits of their efforts. 

Many times in the past, I've heard that some instructors don't like their students practicing at home because they are afraid that they might develop bad habits. Though this can happen, through repetition and familiarity students can break those habits. Getting your students onto a program like the Thousands Club can have terrific benefits and reduce lengthy training blocks where the most basic rudiments are being grilled. 

Look to my Video Training program, On Color Guard for a terrific foundation to creating a training syllabus for all pieces of equipment and movement from basic to advanced skills.