Q: How can I become a professional Driller?
A: What you are talking about is becoming an Independent (Indie) Driller which very few people have done successfully. Why very few? Most likely because the military drill world is relatively small and there hasn’t been anything offered to anyone who would like to drill after high school or even college. Within the past few years a few competitions have either opened their doors to Indie Drillers (IWDC) or only accept Indie Drillers (Pro America, the EDCA series of meets). This then creates more demand for the Indie Driller.
I think drill is a sport with all kinds of positives that one can use for the rest of their life and the continuation of drill as a hobby then gives the younger generation someone to which they can see and emulate. I applaud anyone who is willing to continue drilling simply for the joy of it. If it is your passion, go for it. You can always put it on hold for a time to accomplish whatever you need, but your rifle will always be there for you and the World Drill Association has plans on creating more and more competitions for all kinds of Drillers. I hope one day the WDA can be of service to you as you become a world class Independent Driller!
We will begin to identify what being a “Professional Driller” really means. It’s a state of mind. You only get one chance to make a first impression. What kind of first impression do you want to make? What kind of reputation would you like to make and leave behind? Whether you are on a drill team or an independent Driller, the choice is yours to make.
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Pro = Cash, right?
No. We’re talking about an ideal, not cash. Sure, professional golfers, fishermen, etc. get paid for what they do, but until the drill world starts getting sponsorship, we’re talking about how one acts. And acting professional is what this article is all about; not the acting that is on a stage, but applying professionalism to your life on a daily basis.
Watch your actions
When interviewed about a recent arrest or jail time, some very ignorant sports figures over the years have said that they are not a role model to anyone especially young children. This is utterly ridiculous. Everyone at one time or another is a role model for someone else. Now, they could be a poor role model or they could be a positive role model, the choice is theirs. What you do, what you say and how you act can have significant influence on others. Always act in a professional manner and you will do well.
“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”
From the movie, Gladiator.
And Your Mouth
Foul language never has a place in any situation. Always remember, practice makes permanent: what you do in practice you’ll do any other time. This is not limited to the physical action of going out and practicing, your daily activities are ‘practice’ for every other time. If you curse constantly when hanging out with “the guys,” you will most likely utter certain inappropriate words at times when you wish you hadn’t.
Along with this goes your feedback; learning the language of visual design and adjudication will greatly improve your efforts to offer feedback to others. Don’t let your personal feelings or biases get in the way.
Whether you are an individual Driller or part of a team, you are actually competing with yourself and not with others. Coming to this realization can be difficult for some. When you focus your attention on others, you can then fail to see what improvements you need to make. Competing with yourself allows you to cheer others on and also encourage others and when they do well you can share in their achievements and when you do well, they can reciprocate. Competing with yourself also allows you to focus your attention where it needs to be focused: you.
Don’t be swayed into “hating” another Driller or drill team that you are competing against. Competition is not about disliking a competitor, competition is about doing your best 100% of the time. If you can walk off the drill pad knowing that you did your best, then nothing else matters. Trophies and other accolades are nice, but they are external. The inward feeling of sheer pride cannot be beat.
Here is an example: a small team from a small school goes out to a drill competition, they are only able to put in four hours of practice per week. They understand that they do not have the chance of placing high, but they go to the competition with high spirits and during their performance they give it their all. in this case, no one can say anything against them. They know their limitations and yet they perform with pride. This is the heart of competition. When everyone understands this, the better the drill world will be.
Another example: Take the guards at the Tomb of The Unknowns in Greece. Americans might call the uniform, hat and even the tassel-balls on the shoes very strange or worse. Even the marching style is completely different from what those of us in the USA are accustomed to. Those who do not poses much maturity might even laugh, but this is a different culture with completely different traditions, etc. Learning and appreciating differences helps everyone in the long run.