As with patterns, cadences should be memorized and named. This will allow the section leader to quickly signal the members of the section which cadence to play.
The drum cadence must provide a strong sense of pulse which the marching band can follow. The parts should be rhythmically interesting but not so difficult that the members of the band have trouble finding the pulse.
For the young band which is not accustomed to marching or for the percussion section which is limited in ability, keep the cadence simple so that it can be played accurately and correctly. As a general rule it is also a good idea to keep cadences quite simple for rehearsals, long parades, or fast tempos.
Once patterns and cadences are established and memorized, uniformity is important for effective visual interest and ensemble unity on the field. All sticks should be the same size and drums should be worn at the same height. This is, of course, basic to all phases of marching and should be fully implemented in the percussion section.
Sticking should be uniform for all players of the same part. To accomplish this, the drum patterns and cadences should be written out with sticking indicated so that each member will learn the part correctly. An effective way to accomplish this is to have your section members face one another during rehearsals so that they can watch each other's sticking pattern and stick height.
With a strong section leader, proper equipment maintenance, plus memorized patterns and cadences, your percussion section will be able to significantly contribute as you gear up for another successful marching season.