So glad you asked! Baton Twirling, according to Wikipedia, is an activity involving the manipulation of a metal rod and the performer's body to a coordinated routine. Let's break it down a bit further.
The baton is a metal stick between typically 15 and 30 inches in length. Really, you can make a baton any length, but we measure the length from your armpit to the tip of your middle finger. Go up an inch, if possible, to allow room for growth to help save a couple bucks over the years.
PARTS OF A BATON
Now, the baton has 3 parts. First, the stick, or more commonly known as the Shaft, is the metal part of the baton. Some batons have a smooth metal shaft, and some have indentations - better known as "Ditty Dots" - to help determine the recommended "twirl-able" part of the baton. We are most concerned with the middle of the baton. Sometimes twirlers add a little piece of Twirling Tape to the middle of their baton to help train their eye to look for it. When tossing a baton, the goal is to catch as close to the middle as possible.
Secondly, the baton has two ends. The bigger end is called the "Ball," and the little end is the "Tip". I usually call it "The Big End and the Little End" to help my twirlers visualize what end is up or down. Typically we point the Little End to the ground (when cradling or saluting).
TYPES OF BATONS
Lastly, as you may have guessed, there are multiple types of batons and brands. The two most popular brands are Starlight and ABC Batons. It is almost always cheaper to buy from your coach versus buying online. Coaches receive a discount when purchasing batons. Some batons have thick shafts; others have thin shafts. The ends are either smooth or have multiple sides to keep it from rolling. Some twirlers opt for a heavier baton with the Rose ends, and of course, we can't forget the "old school" batons with the actual bulb-like ends.
There are specialty batons as well, but we won't get into the details here. A few of the specialty batons include Fire Batons, Glow Stick Batons, Hoop Batons, Flag Batons, and Light up batons.
If you have questions about any of the baton parts or types, leave us a message in the comments or contact us directly!