Be Positive on Criticism

Seriously, I’m all about taking one for the team until it comes to criticism. Let’s face it: Being corrected and criticized is kind of the pits. I mean, who really wants to put in hours of hard work on a routine only to be told they are doing it all wrong, missing counts, or they’re a half count behind? Yet, criticism really can be a remarkable tool in the world of a color guard performer.

It’s a Love/Hate Thing

It’s already been established: We hate it. However, how are we ever going to improve if we are not told what to improve? Start to love criticism for what it truly is—another way of getting more information to make you better. This concept is hard because you have to separate your negative reaction to criticism and how it is delivered from the actual value of the information. Once you can do this, the information you take from correction is gold!

It’s a Compliment

Yikes! This one is hard to swallow! Yet it is the truth. If your instructors are telling you that your hand placement is incorrect on your rifle, take it as a compliment. They are passing along their knowledge and expertise to you. It’s a compliment that they believe in you enough to expect and want the very best out of you every time.

Kill the Attitude

Reacting to corrections or criticism with a negative attitude is only wasting your time as well as everyone else’s on your team. A correction does not define you as a person or alter your identity, so there is no reason to be defensive. Criticism only seeks to make you better if you will allow it.

Finally, you need to realize that everyone takes criticism as they endeavor to better themselves. When Fred Astaire, who is most likely the most famous dancer of all time, performed for his first screen test, the MGM director told him that he couldn’t act, couldn’t sing, was slightly bald and could only dance a little. He took that criticism and used it to propel himself to stardom, not because he was bitter over the way someone corrected him, but because he valued it as information that he could utilize to make himself better.

About the Author

Chris Casteel has been involved in the color guard activity for the past 20 years. She is currently an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association and the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC); she travels to many other circuits throughout the United States as a guest adjudicator. For the past four years, she has held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC. She has a master’s degree in education and currently teaches middle school language arts.