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Troopers Look to Ramp up Performance Power under New Partnership with Forte Athletics

Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps is doubling down on the expectations they have when it comes to their own high-powered performance.

For 2023, Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps seeks to build on both their momentum and their commitment to providing a world class member experience. To support such efforts, the corps is pleased to announce a new partnership with Forte Athletics. This endeavor will provide each member a marching fitness training program specifically designed to prepare individuals for the rigors of world class drum corps and to do so with the unique needs of different sections in mind.

The importance of pre-season fitness is something that Michael Gough has stressed since becoming Director of the Troopers.

"For years, pre-season fitness has been talked about as something we needed to build on. However, it always ended up becoming an afterthought,” said Gough. “The trouble is that everyone becomes so focused on their primary responsibilities, and before you know it, we're into Spring Training. It is difficult to create a program and hold everyone accountable to it.”

When approached by Daniel Recoder about a new, specialized marching fitness program from Forte Athletics, Troopers’ leadership immediately recognized that the offering could be what they had been looking for.

“Now, for the first time, we can rest easier knowing that pre-season fitness is at the top of the priority list and that a dedicated individual is leading the program,” noted Gough.

More than an opportunity, for the Troopers, the pre-season conditioning will be an expectation beginning in late January. Each contracted member will receive access to Forte’s app that will present new weekly workouts and goals as well as opportunities for questions, interaction, accountability, and more. Members’ participation will be tracked, and corps staff will receive regular updates. Such feedback will allow staff to assess an individual’s commitment and progress. There will be expectations for members to become better not only for themselves but also for the person they stand next to as well as the Troopers as a whole.

According to Recoder and reiterated by Gough, drum corps in general has had a history of recognizing that fitness is important to high-powered performance. However, that acknowledgement has not been routinely paired with any system to truly address the right physical fitness. In most cases, there is a void in programmed fitness from January through move-ins, leaving marching members to their own devices.

“As a teacher myself, I did things as they were always done. I did not know why injuries happened,” said Recoder.

Interest in learning more about those issues prompted Daniel to consider the unique physical fitness needs of marchers. From careful studies of anatomy and a review of his personal and educational experiences, he began to understand that many of the injuries from Spring Training through Finals came from overuse.

“That can happen quickly when muscles aren’t prepared,” he said. “The remedy for that is rest. I wanted to pursue how to better prepare to avoid those injuries.”

Simply exercising is not enough. True preparation for a summer of marching drum corps has unique requirements. Those requirements can vary tremendously from section to section.

Recoder became determined to shed a light on the issue of preparedness and to change the way marching fitness is approached. With a degree in percussion performance and a history of both marching and teaching in hand, Daniel studied physical therapy and became a license PTA. From there, he founded Forte Athletics which now advocates for marchers and their specialized fitness needs. Per Recoder, the Forte program has been developed over several years and has been tested with a beta group of marchers. Forte’s team of coaches possess relevant experience to offer more than generic conditioning.

“We provide section specific programs,” noted Recoder. “Our coaches have specific backgrounds for authentic section benefits.”

Following January callbacks, the program enrollment will be shared with contracted Troopers. From there, three workouts tailored to section’s needs per week will be shared via the app. Training includes targeted strength training as well as mobility. Ankle stability and core strength will also be targeted for all.

Member connection will be a hallmark of the opportunity with Forte. Coaches will be available throughout the fitness journey and will help cultivate a sense of community.

“Forte Athletics fills one of the most important voids in the activity,” said Gough. “I have no doubt that this partnership will generate healthier performers and help us continue to grow. Heck, it might even help me get back in shape!"

With a goal of members being stronger and more prepared at move-ins, the Troopers hope to rise to a new level of performance maturity. With increased athletic abilities, the Troopers can, indeed, Lasso the Sun.


Daniel Recoder is a licensed physical therapist assistant (PTA), a fitness enthusiast and a world class educator with a long personal history within the performing arts. A native of California’s bay area, Daniel marched drum corps himself as a quad player and received his Bachelor’s in percussion performance. Following his marching career, Daniel spent several years as an educator, coaching an array of students ranging from beginners to world champions. During that time, Daniel discovered a fascination for kinesiology, the study of movement. Recoder’s passion for rhythm, movement, and exercise coupled with his understanding of high level marching arts and the athletic performance capabilities required in drum corps led him to pioneer new fitness opportunities for the marching arts community


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