Distance and Alignment Training

Do You Even Align BroThis is the best way that I know how to train a team to consistently maintain alignment and distance.

When the platoon/flight falls in, they should always “dress and cover” without command. This is standard and if you are not doing this and relying on the commander to give commands, you are not falling in properly- this goes for every formation (drill team, color guard, etc.). The team members raise their left arms to get their distance to the left, alignment to the right and their distance to the front. When obtaining their distance to the front, each member must add six inches of space between the back of the person in front and their fingertips (squad/element leaders need only do this in line formation). When dressing to the right, each team member at the front (first element or element leaders- depending on the direction the team faces) must touch the fingertips of the member to their right and get their cover. Once the team achieves distance and alignment, they individually drop their arms assuming Attention.

In training, when marching the formation, every time you stop, always give the informational command, “dress and cover”. This is not the command to execute Dress Right, Dress, where everyone leaves their arms up, it is an informational command that requires every team member to obtain their distance and alignment. You must do this every single time the team halts- make it a habit. Eventually, the team members will have to move less and less as they begin to maintain proper alignment, and eventually, you will not need to tell them to dress and cover. It may takeĀ a while, depending on how often you practice and the team member’s experience, but the team will march at their proper distance all the time once they develop their visual memory. Visual memory (spatial relations) is just like muscle memory which enables you to repeat a movement almost exactly the same each time, but in the case of visual memory and for our purposes, you maintain your proper distances from other team members.

See also, Is it “Tall Tap”, “Tall or Tap”, or What?

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