Recovering from Drops

Even the most experienced and skilled performers drop their equipment from time to time, but drops don’t need to define your performance. What is important is how quickly and gracefully you recover! Below are some tips to help you prepare for any unexpected mishaps.


Once you have mastered toss technique, practice in the sun and wind (with supervision). Also, practice in front of friends and family to get used to being “nervous.”

Repeat, repeat and repeat the skill until you can perform it at least 10 times in a row under a variety of conditions. Learn your routines inside and out, so you can recover quickly if needed.


For most drops, pick up your equipment as fast as you can and get back in. A quicker recovery usually equals a less noticeable mistake!

There are times, however, when it may be better to leave the equipment on the ground for a few counts. If a drop happens during the last few counts of a song, and you can’t retrieve the item before the song ends, it may be best to hit the final pose and then retrieve the equipment during the next transition. That way, you’re not moving when everyone else halts.

Talk to your instructor about each toss in your show and find out his or her advice for recovery. In any case, do not leave dropped equipment lying on the field. It becomes a danger to other marchers and creates a distraction for the audience.

Let It Go

Most importantly, let it go emotionally. The moment you pick up the equipment, get back into character and focus on making the rest of your performance the best it can be. If you give in to disappointment, it can snowball into more mistakes or affect your facial expressions, drawing negative attention.

The mark of a superior performer is the ability to carry on as though nothing has happened!

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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