“Conduct Becoming”

| November 9, 2007 | 0 Comments

Your conduct off the field/floor is as important, if not more important, than your performance.  As members of a competitive ensemble, you are ambassadors of your school and community.  Your individual performances, sportsmanship and conduct both on and off the field will shape the impression others have of your entire organization.  It is important to represent your organization with pride and professionalism.  Here are a few things to keep in mind!


Respect should be the value at the heart of all of the decisions you will make as a participant and spectator at a competition.  If you show respect to others you will earn their respect in return.  The behaviors listed below all demonstrate respect.

Remain Quiet and Attentive During Performances

Nothing feels worse than to be in the middle of a performance and realize that people in the stands aren’t paying attention, or worse to see them laughing or giggling and think they’re laughing at you!  We all know that it takes a lot of hard work and preparation in addition to a good dose of courage to get out there and perform at a competition.  Think about how you would like spectators to behave while you are performing.  You want to see them paying attention, smiling, enjoying your performance.  Support your fellow performers by being a great spectator and giving them a chance to show you what they’ve been working on!

Do Not Enter or Exit the Stands During a Performance

This is distracting to both audience members and performers.  Don’t do it!  Many contests have monitors who rope off the stands or close the doors during performances but even if they do not, it’s a good idea to stay put during a performance!

Do Not Make Negative Commentary at a Competition

We all know how hurtful it feels to hear someone say something negative.  It feels even worse when you have spent as much time preparing for your performances as we do in color guard.  Even if you think no one can hear what you say, you never know whose Grandma, Mom and Dad, or friend is sitting just a few rows away.  You’d be surprised how voices can carry!  Keep any negative commentary to yourself and focus on the positives.  Not only will you avoid hurting someone’s feelings, you will be demonstrating good sportsmanship and you may learn a few things along the way about what makes a great performance!

Clean Up After Yourself

Not only should we show respect to our fellow performers but also to the parents, spectators and staff who run the contests we attend.  No one likes to clean up a huge mess and it reflects poorly on your team if you leave one behind.  Instead, go out of your way to leave the areas you visit better than they were when you arrived.  Take a moment to pick up your own trash or even a stray piece left behind by someone else.  You and your team will earn a reputation of being considerate and respectful.


Good Sportsmanship should be a primary goal of every competitor.  We all recognize the hard work that goes into preparing for a competition.  We all can relate to the excitement that accompanies a great performance.  It is important to be able to show your appreciation for the activity, your respect for the work that all competitors bring to the arena and your ability to be gracious even in moments of disappointment.  Here are some behaviors that demonstrate good sportsmanship.

Wish Other Ensembles a Good Performance

You may be thinking, “If I want to win, why would I wish the other team luck?”  Perhaps you’ve found yourself secretly hoping the other team “messes up.”  The truth is, a victory is not as sweet when you know it was only due to someone else’s mistake.  Aside from that, we all know how awful it feels to make a mistake in public performance.  We shouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone!  Wish everyone a great show, and then if someone comes out ahead of you, admire their achievement and let their performance motivate you to work even harder for the next show.

Applaud for every group

This one needs no explanation.  Be a great spectator!

Be Gracious both in Disappointment AND Excitement

Most think about sportsmanship in terms of dealing with disappointment.  You should always be gracious even when disappointed with the outcome of a competition.  Smile, congratulate the winner, and put aside your disappointment until you get back to the bus.  No one likes to see a sore loser and your team will earn a negative reputation for sour faces at awards retreats.  Again, thinking back to the value of respect, show respect to your competitor for a job well done and treat them as you would like others to treat you when you come out on top.

Good sportsmanship should also be demonstrated by the winner of a match-up as well.  Avoid “overdoing it” when celebrating your victory.  Be sensitive to the fact that there are others in attendance who worked equally as hard and may be disappointed.  Make sure to congratulate other competitors letting them know they also did a great job.  Try to think of something specific you enjoyed about their performance and let them know.  Finally, make sure that your cheering and celebrating at the announcement of your team’s results doesn’t mask the next group’s results.  Make sure everyone gets a chance to hear their name announced.


Finally, there are a lot of people that work really hard to make your team, trips and competitions run smoothly.  From parents to staff, bus drivers, judges, volunteers, floor crew, and student helpers, take the time to let them know they are appreciated.  They sacrifice a great deal of time and without them our activity would not be possible.

Take a moment to smile and say a simple, “Thank You.”  It really means a lot!

Strive to display both amazing skills during performances as well as impeccable sportsmanship and behavior at all other times and you will help to earn your team a reputation for excellence!



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Category: For Performers, Performance, Preparation & Travel, Team Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Catina Anderson is the founder/editor of the Colorguard Educators blog. Color guard has been part of her life for almost 25 years. She began coaching in 1994 and worked with the Broad Run High School color guard in Northern VA from 1998 until 2010. She has also written for Halftime Magazine and served on the Executive Board of the Atlantic Indoor Association. A former teacher, she enjoys sharing what she has learned and hopes to encourage others to share as well. Together we can create even more positive experiences for performers and help to collectively strengthen marching arts activities worldwide.

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