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Lets discuss new shooters and how to help them

August 8 2017 at 2:15 PM
JimC  (Login 22Jim)

Response to First Year Shooter with an Opinion

I was going to start a new thread on attracting and keeping new shooters as it seems to be intertwined with the Hunter Class free for all. But Ray started this thread as a new shooter so lets focus the direction.

Here are my thoughts on how to attract and keep new shooters. I am tired of responding to threads so I will make this concise and hopefully expound later.

We do not need a beginners class!!! How do you manage it, how do you determine when people are not considered beginners.

Limiting equipment by some price point or other set of rules is a waste of time. Are new shooters coming into the sport looking for a cheap equipment class where they can shoot poor scores and be comforted by the fact that they are not alone? Airgun Benchrest thought this was a great idea and started a Production Class, it went nowhere. They found that people were not happy shooting low scores with inexpensive equipment. As history has shown us the amount of money spent on equipment bears no relationship to success in Hunter Class.

In spite of what some think, Field Target is a "Competition", while many are not concerned about climbing the ranks, we do compete and that is one of the joys of the sport. If you are going to compete, at some point in time you will probably have to upgrade your equipment and spend a good deal of time developing dope sheets, practicing in the wind and honing your skills. If you are not interested in doing that you will probably not stay in the sport long. I don't know anyone who has fun missing targets.

So how do we attract and keep new shooters, by letting them taste success early in their FT career! One of the great dilemmas we face is how do we conduct matches that are challenging to all classes and shooters but allow everyone to have success. Will Piatt had a great post in the Division/Classes thread and I hope he posts here. Hector had some great ideas as well.

What we do in Sacramento is set courses where a new shooter (shooting with an experienced shooter, a MUST) has a good chance of scoring 25-30% or better. We go out of our way to bring good shooting loaner rifles to matches so new shooters can see they can be successful with properly set up equipment. Nothing creates excitement and fun more than success. We make sure we set enough "killer shots" that we can create separation for the top shooters. We are even experimenting with having 3 targets on some lanes (4-5 per match). Two are designated as piston/novice targets two for everyone else. This seemed to work very well at our last match.

That's a start, let's hear what others are doing and any ideas you may have.

Jim in Sacramento

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On line trajectory calc by Brad Troyer MILDOTS


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