As we say “hello” to a new season of winter guard, let’s take a look at the attributes that determine winners.

Most people believe that winners have been predestined with talent, intelligence or simply being in the right place at the right time (luck). However, NONE of these attributes apply all the time in every situation. Kind of shocking, huh?

Winning is not some sort of predestined phenomena that only happens to the chosen few. If that were the case, how can one possibly explain late bloomers who work hard and become World Class performers?

Get this: Winning is an acquirable and developable ability, just like spinning a flag, rifle or sabre! Here are some common actions that winners undertake.


Performers constantly maximize their potential. Improve. They never settle into a comfortable level of achievement whether in rehearsal or in competition. Improvements are constantly being made.

Raise the Bar

The bar of expectation is continually raised by their own desire to do better. This includes all aspects of the winter guard program: staging, equipment, movement and performance. Focus. Performers have the ability to focus on the details covered in rehearsals without getting distracted by the big picture. And they are then able to apply that same focus in the details of the bigger picture.

Be Responsible

Performers take responsibility for their own individual role in the total program. These people do not rely on anyone else to make the team better but determine to be the best in everything they do for the betterment of their team. Prepare. Performers dedicate themselves to the process of preparation, for preparation breeds confidence, and confidence is the precursor to success.

As you embark upon this new and exciting winter guard season, I wish you the very best, and remember, according to leadership experts: “… Winning behavior is a skill which anyone can learn, practice, acquire and improve …”

About the Author

Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity since 1981 as a performer and an instructor. She has a master’s degree in education. She has instructed several medaling guards for the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Currently, Chris is an adjudicator for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the WGASC as well as a guest adjudicator for many other circuits. She also holds the position of education coordinator for the WGASC.

About author

Chris Dillon

Chris Dillon has been involved in marching arts activity since 1981 as a performer, instructor, designer and adjudicator.  Currently, she is an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, WGI Sports of the Arts, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC), Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit, Indiana High School Color Guard Association, Texas Color Guard Circuit, and several others. She held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC for the past eight years.

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