Tossing in the Wild Outdoors

Color guard, like any other physical activity, involves risk. Let’s face it—we’re purposely throwing metal and wooden objects above our heads in the wind and blinding sun! While you cannot eliminate risk entirely, you can reduce the chance of injury with a few important tips to help you brave the wild outdoors.

Technique.

It’s important to master technique before attempting to toss under less-than-ideal conditions. Repetition with correct technique allows for consistent timing and placement of the toss, which will be a lifesaver on a bright, sunny day when you can’t see the equipment after letting go.

When it’s time to toss in the wind, ease into it by starting with low tosses, gentle winds, lots of space and appropriate supervision. Generally, you toss against the direction of the wind, or “into the wind,” and the wind carries the equipment back toward you. Start by overestimating how much force you need, so that the implement lands a safe distance away from you. Then slowly reduce the amount of force until you have a good understanding of how the equipment will behave. Practice often and facing all different directions, so you’re ready for whatever conditions you might encounter!

Focus and Proximity.

Be aware of your surroundings and give yourself plenty of space. Avoid tossing near groups of people who might cross your path or who may be sitting close enough for a dropped rifle to bounce in their direction. Know your own “escape route” in case you need to move out of the way. You don’t want to run right under another teammate’s toss!

Finally, maintain your focus on the task at hand. If you find yourself distracted, it may be smarter to wait until you are able to completely focus on your rehearsal before tossing. Most accidents occur due to lack of focus and concentration.

Have Fun!

Ultimately, tossing is one of the “coolest” parts of spinning in color guard. It might seem a little scary at first but no worries! With a lot of repetition and a few safety pointers, tossing outdoors won’t seem so “wild” after all!

About the Author

Catina Anderson has been involved in the color guard activity, first as a performer and then instructor, for the past 20 years. She is currently the color guard director at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va. She is also the founder and editor of www.colorguardeducators.com, a website for color guard coaches. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Towson University and a master’s degree in education from Marymount University.

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