To read a marching band drill chart, you have know three basic things,
the vocabulary, the layout, and how coordinates work.
band drill vocabulary terms.
terms aren't listed alphabetically.
It's more of a hierarchy.
– moving away from the director’s
(home side) viewpoint.
– moving toward the director’s (home
1 and Side 2
– from the director’s (home side) viewpoint, side 1 is on
the left. Side 2 is on the right. Side 1 is sometimes called “Side
A” and Side
2 “Side B.”
There are 21 yard lines on an American football field.
The center line is the 50 yard line.
Yard lines count down in 5 yard increments to
the goal line, also called the 0 yard line. The
band performance area includes the end zones
which extend 10 yards
past the goal lines.
toward the 50 yard line.
toward either end zone, away from the 50 yard line.
front of –
measured toward the director’s (home) viewpoint.
away from the director’s (home) viewpoint.
sidelines are the front and back boundaries of the football field. The front sideline is nearest the
director’s viewpoint. The back
sideline is on the opposite side of
the field. In marching band the
performance area extends 12 feet in front of the front (home) sideline. It extends behind the back (visitor)
sideline, all the way to the backfield stands.
marching band we measure distance in “steps.”
There are 8 steps in 5 yards. One
“8 to 5” step is 22½ inches.
Marks – The
hash marks intersect the yard lines 24 steps away from the side lines. The front hash is nearest to the
director’s viewpoint. The back hash
is nearest to the back
sideline. College hash marks are 4 steps
further away from the sidelines. Competitions
on college fields will have both sets
of hash marks.
– The vertical hash marks are not always marked, but when they
are, they show
one yard increments. When marked, they
appear at the sidelines and lined up with the hash marks.
At competitions on college fields, the
vertical hash marks will be 4 steps behind the regulation hash marks.
– The Yard line Numbers are placed so that the top of the number
is 9 yards
away from the front side line. The
numbers are 6 feet high. IF
the numbers are regulation measurements,
the top of the number will be one yard in front of a position measured
from the sideline. The cross hatch on the number 4 is marked
steps away from the front sideline.
– Not all fields are marked according to
regulation. Most NCAA stadiums are. Many high school stadiums are not. Most often the discrepancy is in the location
of the hashes and numbers. Placing the
hashes and numbers closer to the sideline changes the nature of the
playing area. If the hash marks are
wrong, they’re usually 4 steps (2.5 yards) too close to the
the markings your teacher tells you to trust.
Regulation marching band field show layout.
Marching Band Coordinate Sheets
To find a
coordinate on a drill chart
or field, a student MUST know their position number, and where their
is located on the print symbol in the drill. Using
this information, the position is located
using a system similar
to the x/y system in math. A position is
located by its horizontal and vertical position, relative to the
the field. For example: “4 outside
side 1 45, 3 in front of the front hash” means this position:
LEARN YOUR COORDINATES – When
the student receives the drill chart, they
should mark their coordinate on the corresponding count in the music,
should memorize their coordinate on every page as quickly as possible.