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Colorguard Basics – The ABC’s of Coaching


About This Class

Being the sponsor or the director of a high school colorguard can be the most rewarding experience of your life! But first you have to have auditions, select officers, buy uniforms, choose equipment, choreograph the show, work with a band director and band boosters, raise money, hold practices...feeling overwhelmed? You won't after you take this colorguard basics course, designed to ease you into the position of sponsor/director. You'll find that there won't be a problem you won't be able to handle after this course!

About The Instructor

Shanon Pollock

Melissa Darnell
founder and president of Darnell Dance Productions, a book publishing company for dance/drill teams, knows about writing advice for dance/drill teams.  She has written three books in The Ultimate Guide Series - The Ultimate Guide to Directing a Successful Dance Team, The Ultimate Guide to Making Your Own Dance/Drill Team Gear & Gifts, and The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Dance Team Officer, which this course is based upon.  Her writings come from her twelve years of education in jazz, tap, and ballet, as well as being a member of an award-winning competition dance team for two years, member of a pep squad for one year, and manager of an award-winning high school dance/drill team for one year.  She enjoys sharing knowledge with others in the hopes that every member's years of being on a dance/drill team will be the best years of her life, and believes that anyone with the heart, determination, and willingness to learn can start and lead a successful dance team.





Course Type

This is not a certification course. Students will receive an electronic report card via email upon completion of the class in PDF format which students may print to hard copy version via their browsers. To view PDF formats, you may need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Scheduled Meetings

Weekly virtual classrooms are scheduled at a time mutually agreed upon by the student and instructor. Weekly virtual classes run one hour. Please contact Shanon if you may have any problem attending any type of weekly meeting, and she will try to work something out with you.

Course Materials

The following materials are suggested (purposes and specifics will be provided in class):

  • 8 1/2 by 11" spiral-bound notebook with at least 70 pages
  • A 1 ½ or 2 inch binder
  • Index dividers with at least 10 tabs
  • Notebook dividers with pockets and tabs
  • Month-at-a-glance calendar
  • Extra notebook paper and Post-it type notes or flags
  • Suggested resources: a subscription to InMotion or Dance Spirit magazines


Course Objectives


Quizzes/Assignments = 50 %
Particiation in weekly virtual classroom
= 20 %
Final Project = 30 %


: 90-100% = A
: 80-89.9% = B
: 70-79.9% = C
: 60-69.9% = D
: below 60% = F

Make-Up Exams And Late Work

Full Students Only: It is important to turn in assignments on a timely basis, because this helps show how you'd meet deadlines on day to day real life scenarios. You will generally have a couple of days to turn in assignments. Work should be submitted by due dates unless prior arrangements are made with instructor. Assignments will be accepted up to one week late but will be penalized 10 points, and no assignments will be accepted more than one week late without prior approval from the instructor or an excused absence as explained in the SpiritU Before you Begin section.

Input From Colorguard Basics Students

You just would not believe how happy I was to find a course about color guard. I am very interested in choreography, winterguard and tryouts/auditions. I have been reading all the stuff on DanceCheer.NET until my eyes are crossing. My cousin is the instructor for our cheerleaders and I plan to let her know about the site also. I am so happy to be a part of the first class, it seems very special to part of something so great. I look forward to learning everything I can from the course and being a team learner.

[...and later Donna wrote...]

Excellent class! Why? I was told what I needed to think about and what needed work. Also, what I did right...Shanon knows what's she's talking about. She always keeps your mind running. I like that. She has wonderful ideas and suggestions. She knews what she's teaching. Her's was wonderful, how ever mine has a lot to be desired. Life sometimes does not cooperate. I came away from the class with lots of ideas. I want to try all of them out. I have accomplished more than I thought I would. Shanan puts it like it is. And that's the way coaching has to be. I really enjoyed it. I plan to take more SpiritU classes as soon as I can.


Spirit-U is just what I have been looking for !!!!! My husband is a middle school band director and I want to be able to take over the drill and Spirit squad. The director that left did it all and now the girls are left without anyone and the parents have sort of run the program. We know of other husband and wife teams and we have worked together for over 20 years so I know that it is something we can do. I have a dance back ground and really look forward to being a part of Spirit-U. It has been hard to find any of the information that I need to be able to be a drill coach. I enjoy being with the kids and have been heavily involved with the band program for many years.

Thank You for being here.


[The instructor's] lectures were excellent, along with the rhetorical questions and assignments given. I got so much information out of them, and found out how to improve costumes and equipment stock for my guard. She knew about many things judges had commented on last year during our season. It was good to hear another opinion and hear the same thing. Her lectures were always ready on Monday when I went to check... I feel so much more prepared for the season, and I feel like I'm ready to take on all the responsibility for the girls. Well, frankly, it told me that we were doing everything pretty wrong. It gave us some hints on how things look from the field and what does and doesn't work. I learned ways to effectively run rehearsels and how to motivate and encourage all my girls. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all this and feel prepared and I felt that Shanon knew what she was talking about.

I thought the assignments were very comprehensive, it took a lot of thought and you put what you learned to the test. I appreciated the concern Shanon showed in asking about my final project, if I had any questions or ideas or anything. She made sure that I was coming along with ideas and that I knew it would be due soon. I would definitely consider taking another SpiritU class.


Overall quality of class was excellent. Would consider taking another SpiritU class.


These first three weeks working with Shannon I have learned a lot. I had forgoten how to study and make homework look professional. Every week she has always given me ways to improve in a very professional manner. I really appreciate this. She is a very good teacher for this reason. I hope by the end of these classes that I will not have to helped as much as I'am being helped now. Thank you for all the time you have put in to making my homework better.


These materials helped me keep track of all my homework and dates for our auditions. I never ran out of printer paper because I went and bought enough to print out every lesson. It helped me know some of the terms that I have never heard before. We are going to use those terms for our girls this year. They will receive a copy of them and be tested on them in their class. She put everything in terms that we could understand and was on our level. She explained everything so perfectly and right down to the last detail. She knows her stuff. She is very insightful and full of knowledge. I would log on Sunday night around 12am my time and the stuff would already be on the site. I got a head start and it was great. I could understand everything so easily. The homework was somewhat challenging but I made it. She explained everything in great detail. I can use almost everything we ave discussed in this class. The girls will be thrilled at some of the stuff we might do. I was even more motivated by this course because I learned some things I didn't know before. Very insightful stuff and I can use it to better our organization.

I really enjoyed the Testing, Evaluations, Projects, and Assignments. You did a great job on this! Would you consider taking another class?: Yes, definitely. I learned so much about guard that I just can't wait to share it with the girls. I had a really good time. Thank you!


The questions and hypothetical scenarios make me think about what I want to do and where I want to take the guard. Thanks to Shanon's assignments, I feel my goals for the guard are much better defined, and I'm better prepared to achieve them. Shanon made good use of examples from her own experiences, and combined that with her exceptional knowledge.The material was broken into logical chunks, and the lectures were well focused. From techniques on dealing with difficult parents to suggestions for costumes and equipment, I have enough information to help overhaul the program completely and provide new direction for a guard that has hit a plateau during the last year or two. Shanon was always willing to help - not just with ideas for fall, but with suggestions for problems I encountered during the semester with the winter guard. This was the most productive $70 I've spent on guard since I started coaching three years ago. Not only did Shanon provide solutions for existing problems, she inspired me to take the guard to new levels. She also gave me a tool, through the SWOT analysis, to track the guard's focus and progress over time. The comments and thoughts Shanon interspersed in my assignments made me comfortable I was on the right track. It was an excellent syllabus and an outstanding course. I would consider taking another class, because these classes provide education to help me augment my guard skills with coaching skills, which allows me to better serve the girls I coach.

Jennie Coughlin

Course Syllabus

Week 1


  • SWOT Analysis
  • Educational Support


  • Band Director
  • Band Boosters
  • The Principals
  • Faculty
  • Parents

  • Goal Setting
  • Officer meetings
  • Teaching
  • Mastering
  • Cleaning
  • Attendance
  • Tips and tricks that sell, sell, sell!
  • Products that sell themselves
  • Parent Help
  • Accounts
  • Uniform & Costume Creation
  • Trends vs. Timelessness
  • Ordering Information
  • Uniform Parts Checklist
  • Record Keeping
  • Poles, Flags, Weapons
  • Fabrics
  • Designs
  • Don'ts!
  • Specialty Items
  • Purchasing



  • Organization
  • Getting the word out
  • Choreographing a routine
  • Judges & Scoring
  • Auditions
  • Announcing the new guard

[Class authored by Shanon Pollock and Leslie Goettsch. All SpiritU® classes are written exclusively for SpiritU®, and are the sole property of Leslie's Best, Inc.]


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