The Marching Step Guide turns marching technique into an exact science. To help students develop muscle memory, the Marching Step Guide floor mat has exact measurements for 8-to-5 (eight steps to five yards), 6-to-5, 12-to-5, and 4-to-5 sizes.
“They can see how they’re supposed to control and place their feet,” says Mark Heather, the product creator. “It gives them that visual correlation that, up until now, we’ve always had to just imagine.”
The mat can be especially helpful when teaching students how to march backward. “Everyone thinks they can march backward until they see how inconsistent they are,” Heather says.
It can also be useful for practicing body control during direction changes, reversing, and slides.
As a floor mat, the Marching Step Guide allows students to practice marching skills without an outdoor field. Bands no longer lose marching practice time when it’s storming outside. “[It] gives us a chance to develop marching technique in the classroom, in the band room, in the hallway, in the gym,” Heather says.
Heather’s inspiration for this product came from an educational gap he noticed during his 45 years of marching arts experience as a participant, judge, designer, and instructor. “We call it marching band, but don’t spend enough time on marching technique,” Heather says.
Several different mat sizes are available.