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Understanding Score Sheets (Guard)

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Understanding your score sheet is key to the growth and development of your program. Below is an example score summary sheet that shows the breakdown of the group's score.


For both captions of Equipment and Movement, you will see two sub-captions: Vocabulary and Excellence. Let's define these terms.

Vocabulary: The content or choreography being demonstrated by the performers.

Excellence: The level at which the performers are achieving said content.

It is common to see a gap between Vocabulary and Excellence, usually where vocabulary is higher that excellence. Sometimes it is the other way around, either way it is an opportunity to look at your content in relation to your performers' skill level. Your goal is to close the gap as much as possible. You'll need to challenge your performers enough to receive a good vocabulary score, but to close the gap they must be able to achieve it well.


For the caption of Design Analysis, the sub-captions are Composition and Excellence. Composition includes several elements that lend to the show's construction. WGI describes it as: the use of design elements in form, body, and equipment. It also includes the design and orchestration through time and layered events, meaning how well you have set up your moments and how you get from one to the next. Every element down to your color choices are part of the design. You'll want to look at your show as a whole and see if all elements are connecting to your music and concept.

Excellence in the design caption refers to how well your performers are executing the elements of your design. Are they committed to the emotion/character? Do they understand their drill responsibilities? Have they been trained well enough to execute the show? Can they portray the music through their performance? These are all questions to ask as you go and also before deciding on a concept.


In the caption of General Effect, the sub-captions are Repertoire Effect and and Performance Effect. This caption encompasses the overall production value of your show and how effectively you use equipment, movement, and staging to visually reflect the music/mood of the show.

Repertoire Effect: The show's concept and production value and how well it is communicated through the performers and design elements.

Performance Effect: How well the performers execute and deliver the planned effects, embody their role and identity, and also engage with the audience through a variety of effects.

It is important to always reflect musicality, style, and mood throughout your show. Technical skills can still be achieved with the added layer of these effects. However, you don't want to sacrifice technical skills for the sake of a stylistic choice. The performers still need to successfully achieve what is given to them, hence the performance effect being connected to repertoire.


Judges give you a score between 0-100 in each of their sub-captions. These numbers are then added up, and divided by 10 to make a double digit number (judge total). All of the caption totals are added to produce the final score. Any penalties received will be subtracted from this score. You'll see this reflected in the score sheet above.


I encourage you to read through WGI's score sheets and to study the ones for the class you have registered your group in (link below). Although lengthy, they will help you understand what judges have been trained to look for and how to give your students the best chance at success.

One note I will leave you with is this: Do shows that you enjoy creating. It is very rewarding to do well competitively and it's important to learn and grow, but enjoying the process makes it even better. Thanks for reading and best of luck!

Written by: Stephanie Calonge, SVWAA Executive Director

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