Parade March… Tracking Early Success!

When it comes to the new addition of Parade March for the competitive season of 2013-2014, it comes as no surprise that it was a hit. A BIG HIT! In late October, USTA/Knowledge Central published an article on Parade March giving California much applause for it’s STELLAR growth of 1450% from the December contest with 6 entries to the February contest with 87!  Now, at the end of one competitive year, lots of emails and calculation of numbers, here are the results.

California Basic 468 317 785
Military 246 222 468
Parade March 236 327 563
Presentation 442 413 855
New York Basic 248 115 363
Miliary 69 17 86
Parade March 32 20 52
Presentation 249 99 348
Ohio Basic 173 50 223
Military 18 2 20
Parade March 32 10 42
Presentation 99 18 117
Maryland Basic 25 (no info) 25
Military 22 (no info) 22
Parade March 4 (no info) 4
Presentation 22 (no info) 22
Colorado Basic 108 36 144
Military 23 9 32
Parade March 5 2 7
Presentation 37 0 37


First, a bit of a background… I was asked to follow a handful of states and gather their ongoing contest statistics regarding Foundation Events. The participating states were New York, Ohio (southern area), Maryland, Colorado and California. (There were a few other states involved at the beginning of the project but were unable to complete the project.) They were asked to record and submit the total numbers of athletes participating in: Basic Marching, “L” Military March, Parade March and Presentation. A specific breakdown of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels was not needed.

In breaking down the year to track the numbers in an accurate manner, two timeline phases were implemented.

  • Phase 1: tracking the competitive months from Fall 2013 – March 31, 2014
  • Phase 2: tracking the months of April 1, 2014 – May 31, 2014

While doing this, it became evident in the Spring that there were a few challenges to take into consideration when calculating the overall final numbers. As an example, several states only had one contest to report in Phase 2, while others had more. Looking at the statistics to the right, we see opportunity for growth in the 2014-2015 year across the country, so please use the results to gauge your starting point for improvement.

Please remember, we coaches set the pace for these amazing developments in the sport we all love. It’s the base of our “foundations.” Encourage your athletes to become a part of our traditions. Take the time to fully introduce it to your athletes, and make it happen.

In closing, thank you to the following state representatives that assisted with this year-long project. I appreciate your time and the commitment given to the Competitive Events Department!

  • Cindy Harmon, Southern Ohio
  • Anna Dolan, Colorado
  • Linda Boss, New York
  • Stephanie Vara-Carter, Maryland
  • (I had the pleasure of following California)

Happy Twirling, Everyone!

Yolanda Stone

Yolanda Stone, former Sr. Women's World Champion, is a member of USTA's Competitive Events Department. Her current focus is on the design of our USTA Foundation Events and the USTA Championships Events. Yolanda is also a Level 1 Coach and the Director of The Dazzling Diamondettes Baton Corp from Fresno, California. She has been involved in baton twirling for 44 years.

One thought on “Parade March… Tracking Early Success!

  • December 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    As a math teacher, I always find it interesting to see statistics on various topics, even twirling. It’s interesting to note that for the states reporting from Phase 1 to Phase 2, the number of athletes participating in all of the events decreased. The one exception is the California’s Parade March data, where there was an increase of what I believe is actually 1350% (rathe than the reported 1450%). Regardless of the actual percentage increase, it would be worth knowing why the data for California varies from the other states and other events.

    I wonder if it would be better to compare data from two years rather than from two different time frames — Phase 1 being 6 months and Phase 2 being only 2 months. One would expect the number of athletes to be considerably less since the time periods are not equal.

    Since the number of states host a different number of contests each month, it may be beneficial to look at the average number of athletes for each event in each state over a consistent time period, say one year. Even with making those time periods equal, to get a better picture of increase, decrease, etc, data must be taken over multiple years to establish trends. An increase from one year to the next could be due to something that only occurred during that time period.

    I think that Ms. Stone is correct in that we need to encourage athletes to participate in these events which provide so much in terms of establishing good habits that hopefully will stick with the twirler, developing skills in manageable sized sections that is not as overwhelming as a solo, dance twirl, strut, etc, and that creating a less competitive environment, one based more on achievement than placement. At the same time, this is difficult to sell to many parents who have either come from a more competitive arena or who see everything as competitive. I believe that it’s already challenging to get twirlers to remain in a sport where it’s a lengthy process to reach a competitive, advanced or elite status. In other sports, athletes can reach those higher levels in a shorter time period. To convince parents and athletes to participate in these reported events is challenging at best.

    If we want to increase the number of participants, we will need to get creative in ways to make this happen, perhaps offering incentives or reduced fees (maybe enter any event and Parade March or another of these events is free). Athletes and parents need to understand the purpose for these events, so there should be education to help them realize this purpose. As coaches, it’s difficult to “make” kids enter events (or should I say to “make” parents pay for events). There may be more willingness to do so, if the reasons and convincing enough to encourage more participation. As students realize the benefits of these events, it’s only natural that the participation would continue to increase.


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