Baton Zoom for Beginners!

Sometimes, just getting started is the hard part! This article contains an outline of how to teach a beginner baton class on Zoom, complete with a sample curriculum, and skills chart. Below is an example of what a Zoom registration, social media advertisement, or recreation program write up for your baton class could look like:

“Experience the unique sport of baton twirling right from your own home with Zoom baton class!”

This program will teach basic baton skills that help hand-eye coordination, focus, and quick thinking. Rhythm and movement will also be explored through dance and marching fundamentals.

  • Customize the announcement for your program! Be sure to include information on how to acquire, and what the expected cost is for the type of baton you want them to use. List all fee information. State your dress code, including footwear and hair preferences. Post a schedule of classes and times. Provide background information about your program and instructors. Add any information you think is pertinent to class!
  • Have beginner classes arrive on Zoom class wearing a scrunchie on their right wrist. Instructor should wear a scrunchie on their left wrist. This will simplify the “mirroring” teaching style you should use with this level.
  • Use the same Zoom meeting ID and password for every class.
  • Keep classes short.
  • Play “background” music. Kids Bop is reliable!
  • Choreograph a fun and easy warm-up dance twirl that kids can follow along with! Record the dance and send it out to your students so they can learn it on their own after the first class.
  • Have a focus/plan for the class skills you want to cover for the week.  You could focus on figure 8, and wrist twirls, dead stick tosses, flats, end swings, balances/rolls, or a combination of many twirls you would like to introduce and develop. Send out your class list to the parents each week to supplement the class learning.
  • Encourage your twirlers to make up “fancy” versions of the skills they learn! It’s amazing what they come up with!
  • End class with an improv exercise. Kids LOVE to make up stuff! Give them a guide like; “pose, do two different twirls, end in a balance on one foot.”

Here is an example of a class curriculum with the focus on “dead stick” tosses.

  • Bow tie (arm slide) toss:
    • Arm slide toss dead stick holding each end of the baton, catch RH and LH. Clap once, twice, 3 times, clap under leg, clap behind your back, combine any of these catching RH or LH, add body on the catch
  • Needle toss:
    • Dead stick toss, baton straight up and down, holding center of baton, RH to RH, LH to LH, RH to LH, LH to RH
    • Catch 3 in a row, 5 in a row, add claps, balance on one foot
  • Rainbow toss:
    • Hold baton center, let baton float from hand to hand lunging the direction of the catch, baton will make a rainbow shape, add claps
  • Grabs:
    • Box baton out parallel to ground, holding center, palm down, dead stick lift, catch palm down RH to RH, LH to LH, RH to LH, LH to RH
    • Catch 3 in a row, 5 in a row, balance on one foot
  • Lift catches:
    • Box baton out parallel to ground, holding center, palm up, lift catch palm up RH to RH, LH to LH, RH to LH, LH to RH. Catch 3 in a row, 5 in a row, add claps
  • Drop catch:
    • Hold baton in center, straight arm by ear, fingernails facing down, drop into opposite hand, catch in front of body, behind back, under leg, under leg with toe on ground, under both knees

Below are samples of skill level charts for the beginner twirler. Create your list according to your teaching style, level of beginner twirler, and amount of instruction time. Customize skills list to your program!

Novice Baton Skills, Level 1

  • wrist twist
  • figure 8
  • bike twirl
  • needle toss
  • rainbow toss
  • back passes
  • drop catches; front, side, back, leg, toe, knees
  • balances
  • grabs
  • lift catches
  • bow tie (arm slide) toss
  • big and little end swings
  • flat spin
  • flat end swing over head and under arm
  • march 8 counts

Beginner Baton Skills, Level 2

  • wrist twirl
  • end swing flourish
  • flourish
  • whip
  • arm roll
  • hand roll
  • palm spin
  • flat toss
  • neck wrap
  • open hand toss
  • thumb roll
  • thumb flip
  • warm up routine

Corey Kinyon-Cruz

Corey started her twirling career with the Concord Blue Devils, and developed a passion for teaching both baton and colorguard before the age of 16. She holds the 1980 USTA Grand National Strut Champion title, and was a member of the US World team in 1982, 1983, and 1984, bringing home the gold in both 1983 and 1984 for Team USA! She now has a bachelor's degree in dance, teaches baton for the Syndication Baton Club, and Wheaton Dance and Twirl Teams, and is caption head for the Laguna Creek High School Colorguard.

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