Baton twirling is a competitive performance sport that is rooted in early military parades. Whereas the leader of the column may have twirled a rifle or mace, marching band majors and majorettes now twirl batons. As a sport, baton twirling can be challenging whether you take it up for fun or for competition.What are the features of a standard twirling baton?
A twirling baton is made of lightweight metal with a cap at each end, and it should meet these specifications:
- Shaft: an aluminum bar measuring 3/8 to 7/16 inches in diameter and between 13 and 16 inches in length
- Tip: smaller rubber cap that fits over one end of the shaft
- Ball: larger white rubber cap that fits over the other end of the shaft
To accurately measure for your baton:
- Stand up straight with your primary twirling arm extended straight forward from the shoulder, parallel to the floor.
- Have a helper measure the length of your arm from the top of the shoulder to the end of your longest finger.
- Round fractions of an inch up if more than one-half inch or down if less than one-half inch.
- Match this measurement to the length of the twirling baton you need.
Basic baton twirling moves are the foundation for more complicated and difficult moves that eventually you will compile into a routine. Some basic moves include:
- Figure eight
- Horizontal twirl
- Open-hand toss
- Two-hand spin
- Wrist twirl
- Thumb to ball: a basic baton hold with your thumb pointing upward toward the ball
- Right "T" and left "T": standing with one foot perpendicular to the other, with the arch of the back foot against the heel of the forward foot.
- Butterfly twirl: a hand-to-hand twirl in front of the body
- Flat spin: rotating the baton parallel to the ground
- High aerial: tossing the baton high into the air and catching it on the down drop
- Star Line, established in 1959
- Kraskin, established in 1945
- Susan Orr Baton Twirling Ltd., established c. 1981
- World Twirling Inc., established 2001
Depending on where you will be showcasing your skills, various accessories can add to your visual impact. Some of the available add-ons include:
- Decorative tape and grip tape
- Dance streamers
- LED lights
- Decorative balls and tips