What is Drill Team in High School: Everything You Need to Know

Drill team is a popular extracurricular activity in many high schools across the United States. It is a form of competitive dance that combines precision, athleticism, and artistry. Drill team members, often referred to as drillers or dancers, perform choreographed routines that incorporate various styles of dance, including jazz, hip-hop, and pom.

Drill team competitions are usually held during halftime at football and basketball games, as well as at local, regional, and national events. Teams are typically judged on their technique, synchronization, creativity, and overall performance quality. The routines feature intricate formations, precise footwork, synchronized movements, and dynamic visuals.

“Joining the drill team can be an amazing experience for high school students,” says Jane Doe, a former drill team member and current coach. “Not only does it offer an opportunity to develop dance skills, but it also fosters teamwork, discipline, and a strong work ethic.”

To be a member of a drill team, students usually have to audition or try out. The audition process typically involves learning a short dance routine and performing it in front of judges. The judges assess the dancers’ ability to learn and perform choreography, as well as their technique, style, and stage presence.

Drill team members often spend several hours each week practicing and rehearsing. They work on improving their dance technique, learning new routines, and mastering challenging choreography. The dedication and commitment required can be demanding, but many dancers find the experience to be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Definition and Purpose of Drill Team

Definition and Purpose of Drill Team

A drill team is a group of high school students who come together to perform intricate choreographed routines, usually combining dance and marching movements. These routines are often performed at school events, competitions, parades, and other public performances.

The purpose of a drill team is to promote teamwork, discipline, and school spirit among its members. Through rigorous practice and rehearsal, drill team members learn to work together as a cohesive unit, mastering complex routines that require precision and synchronization. The teamwork and coordination developed in drill team can carry over into other areas of the students’ lives, such as academics and future careers.

Drill team also serves as a means of self-expression and artistic creativity for its members. The routines are often choreographed to music and involve a variety of dance styles, allowing students to showcase their individual talents and skills. The performances can be visually stunning, combining fluid movements, formations, and intricate footwork.

Furthermore, drill team helps to build confidence and self-esteem in its members. By performing in front of audiences and receiving feedback, students learn to overcome stage fright and develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments. They also learn important life skills such as time management, commitment, and perseverance, as they balance their drill team responsibilities with their academic and personal lives.

Overall, drill team offers high school students an opportunity to be part of a supportive and inclusive community, where they can develop their physical, artistic, and personal talents. It fosters a sense of unity and camaraderie among its members, while also promoting important life skills and values that will benefit them long after their high school years.

History and Evolution of Drill Team

Early Beginnings

The history of drill team dates back to early military formations and drills. The practice of organizing soldiers into formal marching units can be traced back to ancient times, with examples found in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These early formations were used to train soldiers for battle and to maintain discipline and order.

Colonial America

In Colonial America, drilling was an essential part of training for the militia and local military units. These units would practice precision marching and maneuvering to prepare for potential conflicts and to display their military prowess during parades and ceremonies.

Civil War and World Wars

During the Civil War and the World Wars, drill team formations evolved to become more complex and elaborate. Precision and synchronization were emphasized, and these formations played a significant role in battle strategies. Drill teams were used to effectively coordinate large groups of soldiers during engagements.

High School Drill Teams

In the early 20th century, drill team formations began to make their way into high school culture. Initially, these teams were primarily composed of male students and focused on military-style drills. However, as time went on, high school drill teams evolved to include both male and female participants, and the emphasis shifted towards more creative and expressive performances.

Contemporary Drill Teams

Today, high school drill teams have become a staple of school spirit and entertainment. They combine elements of dance, precision marching, and choreography to create visually stunning and engaging performances. Many drill teams compete at regional and national competitions, showcasing their skills and talent.

Evolution of Uniforms

Evolution of Uniforms

Throughout the history of drill team, uniforms have also evolved significantly. Early drill teams wore military-style uniforms with strict regulations. However, modern drill teams often feature costumes that reflect the theme or style of their performances. These costumes can range from traditional uniforms to more contemporary and creative attire, depending on the team’s preferences and the nature of their routines.

Influence on Other Activities

The influence of drill team extends beyond the performances themselves. Many of the movements and techniques used in drill team routines have been incorporated into other activities, such as cheerleading and dance. This cross-pollination has helped refine and enhance the skills of participants in various disciplines.


The history and evolution of drill team have seen its roots in military formations and drills to becoming a modern-day fusion of dance, precision marching, and choreography. As high school drill teams continue to evolve, they provide students with opportunities for teamwork, self-expression, and the development of lifelong skills.

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Types and Styles of Drill Team

Drill teams in high school can come in various types and styles, each with its own unique characteristics and purposes. Here are some of the common types and styles of drill teams:

1. Military Drill Team

A military drill team focuses on precision, discipline, and formations inspired by military marching. Members of a military drill team often wear uniforms and perform routines that involve intricate footwork, rifle handling, and synchronized movements.

2. Dance Drill Team

A dance drill team combines elements of dance and drill movements. This type of drill team focuses on synchronization, creativity, and performances that incorporate dance styles such as jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary. Dance drill teams often perform at halftime shows, competitions, and community events.

3. Flag Drill Team

A flag drill team emphasizes the use of flags, banners, or colorful equipment as props during their performances. The routines involve twirling, tossing, and manipulating flags in a coordinated manner. Flag drill teams can add visually stunning elements to their performances through the use of fluorescent or sequined flags.

4. Rifle Drill Team

A rifle drill team incorporates rifles or simulated rifles into their performances. Members of this type of drill team learn and execute precise rifle spins, throws, and exchanges while focusing on synchronization and timing. Rifle drill teams often perform at parades, ceremonies, and competitions.

5. Pep Squad/Drill Team Combination

Some high schools may have a combination of a cheerleading pep squad and a drill team. These combined teams often include elements of both cheerleading and drill team performances, such as cheering, dancing, and incorporating props like pom-poms or flags. The combination allows for a diverse range of performances and routines.

These are just a few examples of the types and styles of drill teams that can be found in high schools. Each type has its own unique characteristics, training requirements, and performance opportunities. Whether it’s military precision, dance choreography, or flag manipulation, drill teams provide an outlet for students to showcase their talents and dedication.

Skills and Techniques Required for Drill Team

Being a part of a drill team requires a range of skills and techniques. Participants must possess both physical abilities and a strong sense of discipline and teamwork. Here are some of the key skills and techniques required to excel in drill team:

1. Dance Skills

1. Dance Skills

  • Flexibility: Having a good range of motion and flexibility is essential for executing dance moves with precision and grace.
  • Coordination: Drill team members must be able to coordinate their movements with other team members, staying in sync throughout the routine.
  • Rhythm and Timing: A sense of rhythm and the ability to stay in time with the music is crucial for executing choreographed dance routines.
  • Balance: Maintaining balance while performing various dance moves is important for executing movements and transitions smoothly.

2. Physical Fitness

2. Physical Fitness

  • Endurance: Drill team members need to have sufficient stamina and endurance to perform energetic routines without fatigue.
  • Strength: Building and maintaining strength is important for executing movements that require power and stability.
  • Cardiovascular Fitness: Having good cardiovascular fitness allows drill team members to sustain high-energy movements for extended periods.

3. Teamwork and Discipline

3. Teamwork and Discipline

  • Communication: Effective communication with other team members is crucial for staying in sync and maintaining formations.
  • Listening: Being able to listen and follow instructions from the coach or team leader is essential in a drill team setting.
  • Self-discipline: Drill team members must be disciplined and have the self-motivation to practice regularly and improve their skills.
  • Cooperation: Working well with others and being a supportive team player is important for the overall success of the drill team.

4. Performance and Presentation

  • Stage Presence: Having confidence and charisma while performing is essential for captivating the audience and making a strong impression.
  • Facial Expressions: Expressive facial movements and gestures help convey emotions and enhance the overall performance.
  • Posture and Body Alignment: Maintaining proper posture and body alignment adds elegance and professionalism to the performance.
  • Presentation Skills: Drill team members must be able to present themselves confidently and engage the audience during performances.

Developing and honing these skills and techniques requires consistent practice, dedication, and a willingness to learn and improve. By mastering these aspects, drill team members can excel in their performances and contribute to the overall success of the team.

Highlights and Competitions in Drill Team

1. Performances

1. Performances

One of the major highlights of being part of a high school drill team is the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. Drill teams often perform at school events such as pep rallies, football games, and basketball games. These performances showcase the team’s skills and allow them to entertain and energize the crowd.

2. Competitions

Drill team members also get the chance to compete against other schools in various competitions. These competitions often take place at both the state and national level. Teams are judged based on their precision, technique, synchronization, and overall performance. Competing against other teams allows drill team members to challenge themselves and strive for excellence.

3. Choreography

Being part of a drill team involves learning and performing complex choreography. Drill team members work together to create visually stunning routines that incorporate dance, military-style movements, and formations. The process of learning and perfecting choreography is both challenging and rewarding.

4. Team Bonding

Participating in a drill team fosters strong bonds and friendships among team members. Spending countless hours practicing, performing, and competing together creates a sense of camaraderie. These shared experiences help build trust and teamwork among the members, and many lifelong friendships are formed on the drill team.

5. Travel Opportunities

Drill team competitions often take place at different locations, giving members the opportunity to travel. These trips not only expose team members to new cities and cultures but also provide valuable experiences outside of their high school environment. Traveling with the team creates lasting memories and enhances the overall drill team experience.

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6. Awards and Recognition

Drill team members have the chance to earn awards and recognition for their hard work and dedication. In competitions, teams can receive trophies, medals, or other accolades based on their performance. Additionally, individual team members may be recognized for their outstanding skills or leadership qualities.

7. Leadership Development

Being a part of a drill team offers opportunities for leadership development. Members can take on roles such as team captain, co-captain, or choreographer, which help them develop and enhance their leadership skills. These leadership roles give members a chance to take on responsibilities and guide their team to success.

8. School Spirit and Pride

Drill teams often play an essential role in promoting school spirit and pride. By performing at school events and representing their school in competitions, drill team members uplift and energize their fellow students. They become ambassadors for their school and contribute to a positive and supportive school community.

9. Lifelong Skills

Participating in a drill team helps members develop lifelong skills such as discipline, time management, teamwork, and perseverance. These skills can benefit members both during their high school years and beyond. The lessons learned through drill team participation can be applied to other areas of life, such as academics, career, and personal relationships.

Benefits and Impact of Drill Team on Students

Benefits and Impact of Drill Team on Students

1. Physical Fitness:

Participating in a drill team requires intense physical training and practice. This helps students improve their endurance, strength, flexibility, and overall fitness levels. The rigorous nature of drill team exercises helps students develop a healthy lifestyle and promotes physical well-being.

2. Teamwork and Collaboration:

Drill team involves working collaboratively with a group of students towards a common goal. Students learn the value of teamwork, cooperation, and effective communication skills. They develop trust and build strong relationships with their teammates, which are essential skills that can be applied to other areas of their life.

3. Discipline and Time Management:

Drill team demands discipline, dedication, and time management skills. By following strict schedules for practices and performances, students learn how to prioritize their commitments and manage their time effectively. This helps them develop self-discipline and the ability to balance their academics and extracurricular activities.

4. Confidence and Self-esteem:

Being part of a drill team helps students boost their confidence and self-esteem. Through regular rehearsals and performances, students gain a sense of accomplishment and self-assurance. They learn how to handle pressure, overcome stage fright, and showcase their talents in front of an audience.

5. Leadership and Responsibility:

Within a drill team, students often have the opportunity to take on leadership roles, such as team captain or choreographer. These roles provide students with valuable leadership experience and teach them how to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. They also learn how to motivate and inspire their teammates, setting an example for others.

6. Cultural Awareness:

Drill teams often perform routines that incorporate different styles of dance and music, allowing students to be exposed to various cultural traditions. This fosters cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity among the team members. Students learn to respect and celebrate different cultures and traditions.

7. Personal Growth and Achievement:

Participating in a drill team offers students the opportunity for personal growth and achievement. They set goals, work hard to improve their skills, and experience the satisfaction of accomplishing their objectives. Through dedication and perseverance, students learn that hard work pays off and they can achieve success in their endeavors.

8. Social Bonding:

Being part of a drill team allows students to form close friendships with their teammates. The shared experiences of practices, competitions, and performances create a strong bond among team members. These friendships often extend beyond the drill team, providing students with a supportive social network.

9. Creative Expression:

Drill team routines often involve creative choreography, which allows students to express themselves artistically. They have the opportunity to showcase their creativity, imagination, and individuality through their dance moves and performance style.

10. College and Career Opportunities:

Participating in a drill team can open doors to college scholarships and potential career opportunities. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships for talented dancers, and drill team experience can enhance a student’s resume when applying for dance programs or performing arts colleges. Additionally, the discipline, teamwork, and leadership skills gained through drill team can benefit students in various career paths.


The drill team experience provides numerous benefits and has a positive impact on students’ physical, emotional, and social development. From improved physical fitness to enhanced leadership skills, participating in a drill team can contribute to a well-rounded education and help students thrive both in and out of school.

How to Join and Participate in Drill Team

Step 1: Research the Drill Teams at Your School

Step 1: Research the Drill Teams at Your School

Start by researching the different drill teams available at your high school. Look for information on the team’s requirements, practice schedule, and any auditions or tryouts that may be required to join. Talk to current members of the drill team to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be a part of the team.

Step 2: Attend Information Sessions or Tryouts

Once you have gathered information about the drill teams, attend any information sessions or tryouts that may be held. These sessions will provide you with more detailed information about the team and what is expected of its members. If auditions or tryouts are required, be sure to come prepared and showcase your skills and abilities.

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Step 3: Meet the Team Requirements

Each drill team may have its own set of requirements for membership. These requirements may include maintaining a certain GPA, having a positive attendance record, and adhering to a code of conduct. Make sure you understand and can meet these requirements before committing to join the team.

Step 4: Attend Practices and Rehearsals

If you are selected to be a part of the drill team, attend all practices and rehearsals. Regular attendance is crucial for the team’s success and shows your commitment to the team. Come prepared and actively participate in all team activities.

Step 5: Support Your Team

As a member of the drill team, it is important to support and cheer on your team. Attend all team performances and competitions to show your support. Encourage your teammates and work together to achieve your goals.

Step 6: Stay Dedicated and Improve

Being a part of a drill team requires dedication and hard work. Continuously strive to improve your skills and technique. Take advantage of any workshops or training opportunities that may be offered to further enhance your abilities.

Step 7: Have Fun and Make Memories

Lastly, enjoy your time on the drill team and make lasting memories. Participating in a drill team can be a rewarding and memorable experience. Cherish the friendships you make and the lessons you learn along the way.

Famous Drill Teams and Performances

Famous Drill Teams and Performances

1. Kilgore College Rangerettes

The Kilgore College Rangerettes, established in 1939, are one of the most famous drill teams in the United States. They have performed at prestigious events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Cotton Bowl, and the Presidential Inauguration. The Rangerettes are known for their precision and high kick routines.

2. Westlake Chaparrals

The Westlake Chaparrals drill team, based in Texas, is another well-known and successful group. They have won numerous national championships and have performed at events like the Miss America Pageant and the Fiesta Bowl. The Chaparrals are known for their energetic performances and innovative choreography.

3. Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard

3. Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard

The Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard is a competitive drill team that specializes in color guard performances. They have won multiple world championships and are known for their visually stunning routines that incorporate dance, flag work, and equipment manipulation.

4. Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps

While not technically a drill team, the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps is worth mentioning due to their precision and synchronized movements. This renowned musical ensemble has won numerous championships and is known for their intricate marching formations, dynamic musical performances, and high level of showmanship.

5. Pride of Arizona Marching Band

The Pride of Arizona Marching Band, based at the University of Arizona, is known for their exciting drill performances. They have performed at major bowl games, parades, and international events. The Pride of Arizona is recognized for their intricate formations, precision marching, and powerful musical performances.

6. Golden Girls of Southern University

The Golden Girls of Southern University in Louisiana have gained a reputation for their precision and technical skill. They have performed at renowned events like the Super Bowl halftime show and have won numerous national championships. The Golden Girls are known for their stunning high kick routines and intricate dance choreography.


What is drill team?

Drill team is a group of students in high school who perform synchronized dance routines at school events and competitions.

How can I join a drill team in high school?

To join a drill team in high school, you usually need to audition. The specific audition requirements and process may vary depending on the school and team, but typically, you will need to demonstrate your dance skills and show that you can work well as part of a team.

What are the benefits of joining a drill team in high school?

Joining a drill team in high school can have several benefits. It helps you improve your dance skills, coordination, and flexibility. It also teaches you discipline, teamwork, and time management. Additionally, being part of a drill team allows you to perform at various school events and competitions, which can boost your confidence and provide you with memorable experiences.

Are there any tryouts for the drill team in high school?

Yes, most drill teams in high school require tryouts. This is to ensure that the members have the necessary dance skills and can work well together as a team. The tryout process may include learning choreography, performing dance routines, or showcasing individual skills. It is important to prepare and practice before the tryouts to increase your chances of being selected.

Can boys join a drill team in high school?

Yes, boys can join a drill team in high school. Drill teams are open to both male and female students. In fact, having a mix of genders can add diversity and different dance styles to the team’s performances. If you are a boy interested in joining a drill team, don’t hesitate to audition and showcase your dance skills.

What is the time commitment for being part of a drill team in high school?

The time commitment for being part of a drill team in high school can vary depending on the team and its schedule. Typically, drill teams have regular practices after school, and they may also have additional rehearsals before performances or competitions. In addition to practices, members may need to attend team meetings, workshops, and other events. It is important to consider the time commitment and ensure that you can balance it with your academics and other extracurricular activities.


Harrison Clayton

Harrison Clayton

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