Perfect Your Drop Spins

One of the first skills that new performers learn is the drop spin. It helps build strength in the forearm and flexibility in the wrist. Check out these tips to help you avoid some common pitfalls.

Positioning. Arms should be extended forward and slightly downward, so the point of rotation is centered just below your bellybutton. Shoulders should be relaxed and the elbows pulled slightly away from the body. Allow enough space between your body and your hands, so you do not need to move your elbows up and down. No flapping wings!

Also, your hands should remain near your bellybutton throughout the spin. Avoid moving your hands upward toward your face on count two.

Rolling. Probably the most frustrating problem for new performers is having the silk roll around the pole as you are spinning, most often due to bending the wrist as the flag is passed from one hand to the next. Keep your wrist and hands in line with your forearm. Making sure that there is space between your hands and your body will help. If you hold the flag too close to your stomach, your wrists will bend as you pass the flag, causing the silk to roll.

Pitch. Occasionally the top part of the flag will lean forward causing the pole to be “pitched” or tilted at an angle instead of vertically.

Make sure you’re not pushing your arms too far downward. If the elbows are too stiff and pulled in too far, it can cause your wrists to tilt forward. Relax the shoulders and elbows and try lifting your hands and forearms slightly while still keeping the wrists in line with the arm. Then watch as you bring the spin upward on count two to make sure you are staying in the vertical plane.

Over the course of your time in color guard, you will probably perform thousands of drop spins. Be patient with yourself when you’re first learning this technique. While challenging at first, you’ll be an expert in no time!

About author

Catina Anderson

Catina Anderson has been involved in the marching arts for almost 30 years, first as a performer and then as an instructor. She is the founder/editor of, a website for color guard coaches. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Towson University and a master’s degree in education from Marymount University.

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