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Tips for Captains
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Important Message!!

Tips on managing your guard, leadership hints, etc...

This is a special section for all you captains and co-captains! I'm co-captain of my guard and I've picked up on things that can help you with your guard!

Don't let your head swell up! In other words, don't think that you're a hotshot or anything JUST because you are section leader. Yes, you need to lead the guard, but that doesn't mean you need to treat them like they're lower-class citizens.

Don't play favorites. I can't stress this enough! DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO PLAY FAVORITES! I know there are times where you just want to give that "one person" a hundred pushups just because they did this or that. There are times where you just want to mouth off to that person. There are times where you're tempted to kick that person off the guard. THIS IS A BIG NO-NO! Part of the reason why your director picked you as the section leader is that you should have the patience and the maturity to overlook these things. Don't discriminate against someone just because you don't like them or they get on your nerves. Playing favorites WILL sever the communication and the closeness of the guard. It WILL interfere with the practices, the shows, the friendships, EVERYTHING!

Try to understand your guard. If a person cannot make it to one practice, don't threaten to kick them off. Guard should be fun, not be a duplicate to the Marine Corps. Sure, the guard members should be at most practices, but things come up. Colorguard should NOT take up your whole life.

Don't let the guard talk about personal problems and such during practice. It will interfere with their concentration on the task at hand. Sure, it's cool for water breaks and stuff, but not during practice. Another thing is to try to limit excess talk during practice. Too much talking wastes a LOT of time!

Be strict, but don't be a freaking boot camp general. Being disciplined and strict is good, but too much will do the opposite effect. Your guard will begin to disrespect you and not listen to you. Be strict, but have fun.

Do not tolerate back talk or attitude! If a member is giving you attitude or talking back to your instructions, DO NOT tolerate it! Ask them to stop (nicely) and if it persists, give them a lap around the track or pushups (50-100). If it keeps going after you resort to laps or pushups, tell them to leave rehearsal right then and there. If it gets this bad, it's obvious that they have no interest in rehearsal. If you need to tell them to leave, make sure you tell your instructor and your band director of the problem. Now, don't give attitude to the members yourself! That's a big NO-NO! Treat them civil, but make sure they know who is in charge!

Get to know everyone in your guard on a personal level. Know what works for one person and what doesn't. There may be someone who you can yell at and they wouldn't be phased about it, but the next person may be really sensitive to that.

Don't be too much of a straight-stick. Be strict, but be silly! Your guard will respond much better to that.

If you are having problems getting along with another person, another section leader or a member of your guard, don't let it show!! This sounds bad, but it's necessary. Don't openly talk bad about other people in front of your guard. It'll only reflect bad images on yourself.

Always try and be available for your guard. Let them know that they can come to you for help whenever they want. If you can't personally be available, try to have another captain help teach, or set up a time where you can personally be of help. It'll be good for the guard to know that you are always there to help them.

Look at your organizational skills and see how they are. Being captain requires a certain amount of organization, and if you're not too strong in this area, see what you can do to improve it!

Do you have discipline? Can you handle responsibility? Since you're captain, you should already be able to say yes to both of these questions. Sometimes as captain, you're required to write a parade routine or some kind of routine for something. Don't put this off! You'll end up rush-writing work, and that'll just come out as pure poo-poo. Don't procrastinate! That's the main point I'm trying to get across here.

Be careful of the priviledges you give to your guard. It's nice to have them, but watch carefully how your guard responds to them. For example, if you have a 10-minute break every hour, but lately you see your guard being late in coming back from that break, maybe it's time to rethink that priviledge and either take it away or shorten it to 3-5 minutes instead. Be observant!

More to come!