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F1 Drill

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Aim: To perform simple drill and plan a series of drill movements. Taken from the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills Interests F1.
Drill is an activity which can involve small or large numbers of young people. Drill is an activity which young people may not have the opportunity to take part in outside The Boys’ Brigade. Drill can help with discipline, self-control, teamwork, as well as smartness.

As a leader good drill is demanding and not easy, but for that very reason success is highly rewarding. To achieve a high standard in drill, the leader must develop appropriate qualities of leadership and the following will assist in this:
• Make drill interesting, by teaching in a progressive and attractive way.
• Never be unprepared.
• The leader must be smart to demonstrate this example to the young people.
• Introduce new elements, as there is real value in learning something new and different.
• Understanding, and helpful hints for the young people, especially those that find it more difficult.
• Be confident in the commands and instructions given.
• Give the young people a standard to aim for, perhaps entering a competition.
This topic is meant as an introduction to basic drill, and some different ways of improving techniques through games which involve drill movements. The Drill Manual contains a comprehensive guide to using drill in The Boys’ Brigade and should be used if looking to go further than the resources available in these activities. The Drill Manual is available to purchase from BB Supplies.


Activity 1
• flip chart or OHP

Activity 2
• Music (if desired)


Words of Command
Good drill is impossible unless clear and correct words of command are given. Although the leader should give commands clearly, there is no need to shout. A word of command is divided into 3 parts: Introduction (this tells the young people what they are about to do e.g. Turn About’), Caution (This gives warning to expect the final part e.g. ‘About’), Executive (This tells the young people to act e.g. ‘Turn’). Although there are some commands for which there is no need for an introduction, there must be a caution given (for example with words like ‘halt’ could use ‘Squad Halt’ or ‘Company Halt’). Some words can become a caution in themselves such as ‘For-ward’ and ‘Atten-shun’. More detail on the words of command can be found in the Drill Manual.

Activity 1 - Introduction & Drill Basics

Aim: To learn or revise basic drill positions and movements.


The next steps provide the basic drill elements to start off with your young people. These are assuming they have not done drill before, but are ideal as a refresher as well.

Basic Elements (at the halt)

Command Movement

Stand at EASE Feet should be 15cm apart, measured from heel to heel and turned outwards at an angle of thirty degrees; hands are placed behind the back with arms fully extended; the back of the right hand placed in the palm of the left; fingers straight and thumbs interlocked; head and eyes facing the front.

Atten-TION: Heels together and in line, feet turned outwards at an angle of thirty degrees; arms straight by the sides; hands clenched; thumbs to the front and immediately behind the seams of the trousers; head and eyes facing the front.

When moving from Stand at Ease to Attention and Attention to Stand at Ease, the left foot only is moved.

Right TURN: Turn is made 90 degrees to the right on the right heel and sole of left foot; the left foot is brought up to the right foot to complete the turn.

Left TURN: As for Right Turn but the movement is performed on the left heel and right sole.

About TURN: As for Right Turn but continue the tum until facing the rear, i.e. turn 180 degrees.

The LEFT, RIGHT and ABOUT TURNS above can be practised ‘By Numbers’ where the first part of the movement is completed and held on ‘1’ and the completion of the command on 2’. As an example ‘Right Turn by Numbers — ONE’ — Keep the body straight, a turn is made 90° to the right on the right heel and left toe, the left heel and the right toe being raised in doing so, and the arms being kept by the side. On completion of this preliminary movement the right foot must be flat on the ground, the left heel raised and both knees straight, the weight of the body on the right foot. On ‘TWO’ — The left heel is brought smartly up to the right foot, to resume the position of attention.

Basic Commands (on the march) that will be used are as follows:

Next, it is time to get the young people moving, and developing their marching skills. To do this form the group up in one line.

Command Movement

By the Left, Quick Squad moves off with left foot, marching (by the left indicates that dressing is by the left).

Squad will retire, Squad about turns. The command is given on the left foot. A pace forward is taken with the right foot (check pace) and the turn (to the right) is completed in a time equal to four paces:-
About TURN 1. The left instep is placed at right angles to the right foot (T)
2. The right foot is raised and turn to point in the new direction (L).
3. The left foot is placed alongside the right foot (V).
4. A further step marking time is taken with the right foot (CHECK).
Marching commences with the left foot.

Squad will move to the Squad turns left. The command given on the left foot. a check pace is taken with the right foot and pivoting on the ball of the right foot a complete left turn is made. The left foot takes a full pace Left, Left TURN forward to complete the turn.

Squad will move to the Squad turns right. As for Left Turn, except the command is given on the right foot and pivot on the left foot.
Right, Right TURN

Change Direction Right, Squad wheels round to the right. (A wheel is a movement to turn a squad through 90 degrees by marching in a curve. The command is preceded by the instruction Change Direction.)

Change Direction Left, Squad wheels round to the left. (A wheel is a movement to turn a squad through 90 degrees by marching in a curve. The command is preceded by the instruction Change Direction.)

Squad HALT Squad halts. Command is given on the right foot and a check pace taken with the left foot, and right foot brought up to the left foot.

Note: Always move off left foot first. The above movements are not shown in an illustration, but the text explanation should be suitable if the leader taking this has some basic experience of drill and or has access to the drill manual which contains illustrations of movements.

During this part complete the following sets of commands in sequence, moving on once the young people have learnt the commands (do not try to do to much at once, this could be introduced in parts over several weeks):

Squad Atten-SHUN,
By the left, Quick MARCH,
Squad HALT.

Squad Atten-Shun,
By the left, Quick MARCH,
Squad will retire, about TURN,
Squad HALT.

Squad Atten-Shun,
By the left, Quick MARCH,
Change direction Right, Right TURN,
Squad HALT

Squad Atten-Shun,
By the left, Quick MARCH,
Squad will move to the Left, Left Turn
Squad will move to the Right, Right Turn
Squad HALT.

It is very important that this is not rushed — take time to learn this over a period of time and get the young people to work on improving these movements before moving on any further.

Once completed the young people have then learnt the basic elements of drill at the halt and on the march. Remember further drill can be learnt from the Drill Manual. (IMPORTANT NOTE: This activity is to cover the very basics of drill for beginners, and does not go through in the detail that the drill manual does.)

Tips / Advice:
• The direction RIGHT and LEFT are The drill squad’s right and left, not the Instructor’s.
• Quick MARCH is at 120 paces per minute.
• Drill does not involve stamping, so this should be discouraged.
• When marching arms should be straight and fist clenched with thumb pointing down seams of trousers (avoid arms bending).
• Arms should be swung when marching, no higher than waist.
• Once the young people are more experienced why not look at entering a drill competition which may be run by your local battalion.

Activity 2 - Figure Marching

Aim: To Introduce young people to Figure Marching.

Figure marching can be great fun and you can be very adventurous with it. Traditionally this has been a Junior Section activity, but there is no reason it cannot be done at Company Section level. The Figure Marching Handbook has lots of ideas, plus you can create your own movements. The young people should be familiar with the basics of drill before doing figure marching.

Activity 3 - Mirror Drill

Aim: To Introduce drill In a different style.

• This activity could add something a bit different for the young people to try. There are a variety of different ways in which mirror drill can be done.
• Mirror drill uses all the same movements from the Drill manual, but instead of having one squad, there are 2 or more. These squads mirror what each other are doing, this can be achieved by each squad responding to a command in a different way, e.g. Ii 2 squads are formed and both squads are marching up the hall side by side, then the command is given Squads Left and Right Turn’, one squad would turn out to the right and one to the left, marching away from each other they would then be marching to the side of the hall. The command ‘Squad will Retire, about turn’ is given and the squads will be marching back towards each other, then the command ‘Squads Left and Right Turn’ is given to bring them back into the centre of the hail marching up the hall again side by side.
• Mirror drill can be fairly simple or fairly complex, but makes drill much more interesting for the young people. As there are now 2 squads, a competitive element could be put on it for smartness and deportment (carrying out the commands correctly). Mirror drill could be done with 4 young people or 50 young people dependent upon space and the number of young people.
• Come up with a set of movements to try with the young people, or as an activity the young people could come up with a set of movements.
• Mirror drill is an ideal item for a Company Display or Presentation evening.

Tips / Advice:
It is important to keep it simple to start with and build on as the young people progress.

For full details see the BB Company Section Discoverer Pro Pack, Skills Interests F1.


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