It’s totally normal to be nervous for band camp! And it’s a great sign that you care!
Band Camp Tips for Rookies!
Unless you are the only new person in the entire band/guard (highly unlikely) there are going to be other new members just like you! They will be nervous, unused to protocol, and learning the ropes right along with you. It may take a few deep breaths (and an internal pep talk), but take the big leap to just go up and introduce yourself to someone (preferably in your section). You might find that they are relieved to have someone to relate to and share this big experience with — and chances are you’ll end up staying friends through the year and maybe forever! (color guard is kinda crazy like that)
EQUIPMENT SKILLS AND CHOREOGRAPHY
You’re new! Everyone on your team has been there and is going to understand that it takes time to get it right. Keep working hard and regardless of whether you achieve, they will take notice of your work ethic and determination.
Remember! Don’t work hard, work smart. If your coach or captain gives you a tip on how to make something better, do your best to use that tip or trick (even though it may feel completely different from what you’re use to or comfortable with). This will not only save you time and frustration (from doing it wrong repeatedly and then having to correct a bad habit), but it will also show your staff and leadership that you listen well, can take construction criticism, and use that information to your benefit quickly.
DRILL (formations on the field)
From a director’s perspective, watching rookies struggle with learning drill and how to read a coordinate sheet is one of the most pain-staking processes. Each band program has different methods and terminology for the drill learning process, so make sure you pay attention to your staff when they explain their method and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The clearer picture you have of HOW to find your spot on your own, the faster you WILL find it (without someone holding your hand and showing you your spot). This will allow you to take the next step of figuring what the heck you do with your equipment while going to that spot! =)
Sunscreen - "But I want to get a tan!" Even if you put on SPF 50 every 5 minutes, I promise you’ll still get that beachy glow after a week at band camp!! Slather it on to prevent pesky things like cancer and peeling skin. ;)
Water - Water is your best friend at band camp! Go buy an insulated water jug and fill it with ice to the top! As the day goes on, the sun will melt the ice, leaving you with icy cold water throughout the day.
DON’T DRINK SODA AT BAND CAMP. This will dehydrate you, make you crash later on, and possibly make you sick if you have to run or do cardio afterwards. Sports drinks are your next best bet, but water is the best.
Snacks - You’ll be amazed how hungry you get and how often! You will be burning 4x more energy than a normal day, so your body will need more fuel to keep you going! Bring things like bananas and peanut butter snacks! They will power you through the day!
(Steer away from candy and sugary snacks that will only give you a short boost and then leave you feeling super tired)
Towel - YOU WILL SWEAT. ALOT. Towels make excellent sweat rags, shields from the sun during water break, and blankets for picnics at lunch.
Hat and Sunglasses - These two things will cool you off and make you more comfortable on the field! Once you start using them, you’ll never be able to rehearse without them! They are amazing!
Hair Ties - Don’t be that girl who can’t get through her choreography because she’s too busy trying to get her hair out of her face! Most teams require hair to be up during rehearsals, this way you can focus on spinning and moving.
Take Pictures and Videos! - Don’t forget to preserve some memories during breaks! You’ll be amazed in a few years how much you’ve matured as a person and performer, and it’s always so much clearer when you have some fun pics and videos to remind of you of your humble beginnings!
AFTER CARE - SELF CARE
When you get home each night:
- Review in your head the things you learned (even if that means you just think about it). Was choreography changed? What new spots did you learn for drill? Where do you set your equipment?
If you can remember to do this after each band camp day, it will get you in the habit of doing it after regular rehearsals throughout the season (the more you think about what you’ve learned, the better you’ll remember it!).
- Drink a glass of water before bed and after you wake up in the morning
This will keep you hydrated and feeling less sluggish going into each new day!
- Take 5 minutes to do a light stretch before bed and another 5 minutes after you wake up in the morning
This will help recover your muscles and joints after all the hard work you put them through! Prevents future injuries and just FEELS AWESOME!
HOPE THIS HELPS! BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE DURING THEIR BAND CAMPS THIS SEASON!
When I watch slow motion footage of DCI and WGI performances/rehearsals, it reminds of how incredible color guard is from a physics, mind/body, and athletic standpoint. I love that at every point on the timeline, in the short history of this activity, we’re always so sure we’ve mastered the art of this toss or that style, and yet it just keeps growing, evolving, and becoming a more refined, beautiful machine each season.
No matter how crazy the world gets or expensive this activity becomes, truly passionate performers from the generation at-hand will always find a way to not only participate, but dedicate their youths to perfecting what has become their craft. They are part of that crucial first 100 years that will define what color guard is forever. The significance of that cannot be underestimated. I hope I never become numb to this sense of awe and appreciation for what many see as just “flags on a football field.”