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Broaden the Base - ATA Membership

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by spitter, Aug 17, 2011.

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  1. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Another SOLUTION thread...

    I like the kids, love my own - but my kids are not the solution to broadening the base of trapshooting - they are not the customer - they don't have the capacity, no money, no focus, limited acquisition timeframe and then cars, girls/boys, college, marriage and their own kids - we lose them for 2 DECADES. Where is the financial future in heavily investing in pre-teens/teenagers... not a lot of ROI...

    PARENTS are the customer.

    Mentor to regain lost shooters and new adult shooters who have discretionary money to throw at an avocation and encourage them to pass along the pastime - the kids will come along...

    Presently, you can't make money at trap - remember, we have no professional athletes... unless kids can "Letter" in high school, they're going to put their efforts into other sports - baseball, basketball, football, soccer (uuugh) etc...

    Schools used to offer ROTC and small bore - let's work on the grass roots level to make "lettering" a reality - shooting sports would get along further than relying on SCTP, AIM, etc...

    Lastly... take a clue from the PGA (USGA, my error!) - everyone, and I don't care who you are (respectfully) - should be a member of the ATA if you shoot trap. Support the governing body of the association which oversees our sport - local clubs are failing on that responsibility to recruit ATA members - again, I don't care if you believe its their responsibility or not, but CLUBS who throw trap, should encourage - don't have to require, but should push ATA membership... knowledgeable members are better members/shooting sportsmen/women.

    Further, everyone should be encouraged to register a few hundred targets every year.

    I shot a round of golf for a decade - 6-months of weekly rounds for 10 ten years - I had no dreams of becoming Jack Nicklaus (pre-Tiger Woods) but I was encouraged by my shooting partners FROM DAY ONE to keep score... keep an average and handicap to document my progress...

    WHY DO WE NOT DO THAT IN TRAP?! It's not the money... there is no leadership on this issue from the top down.

    Expand the membership. Get folks used to registering targets and more folks will eventually compete at the local competitive level, translating into regional and national competitors. Take money out of the equation - true sporting events don't promote gambling as part of the daily activity - it's an embarrassment to "amateur" sports.

    Respectfully offering,

    Jay Spitz
     
  2. bggwind

    bggwind TS Member

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    I think Jay is right on point with this. I am amazed at how few shooters I encounter casually are members of the ATA.

    I joined the ATA (and the NRA for that matter) because they provide advocacy for the activities I believe in. I don't even know if it is really cost that is the barrier to entry here - I think it is just plain lack of providing important promotion and exposure at the club level.

    I also think the ATA should try to "do" more than what they are providing now. If they could provide a little more value for the experience, more shooters could justify the cost of becoming more involved in ATA activities.

    I think it needs to go beyond just simple scoring and competition. Many shooters I encounter are casual and could really care less about their scores and averages. They just want to smoke a few birds and hang out with the gun club folks (and I think this is great). I believe there is a underlying assumption that ATA membership is just for the high scoring competitors - maybe that's more true than not. If the value were more accessible to regular rank-and-file shooters, the ATA would be more successful.

    My two cents...
     
  3. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Are you saying if you go out to the local golf course that most of the golfers out there are members of the PGA? I don't think so.

    There will always be a lot more club shooters than ATA members, that's just the way it is, only a small percentage is willing to put it out there and be a real competitor.

    Kids are the future, not because they are going to stay with trapshooting after mom and dad quits paying for it, because they will come back to it later in life when they have discretionary funds to spend.
     
  4. John Galt

    John Galt TS Member

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    The difference in the PGA and ATA are in their first words: professional and amateur. Trying to compare them is pointless, IMHO.
     
  5. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    You play golf regularly, you are always hit upon to join the USGA - my error...
    Go into the proshops and there are piles of stickers for the guys/gals to apply to their "GHIN" cards.

    The guy/gal who shoots a few rounds of trap/golf a year is not the target market customer for the ATA/USGA... the guy/gal who shoots every week or so, a few times each month... that is the target audience and they should be a member of the ATA. PERIOD.
     
  6. RLC323

    RLC323 Member

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    The USGA has some success in recruiting members from the general golfing population. The USGA is similar to the ATA in the fact that they provide handicaps and the means to calculate such, and host their various national championships which could be considered the "Grands" of golf.

    Still there are millions of golfers who have no interest in posting scores for all to see, or compete in tournaments. A similar circumstance for many golfers and trapshooters, they are not interested in any competition beyond their regular friendly group. As we all know many shooters prefer games or practice to registered trap. Fact is you rarely hook these type golfers or shooters into joining an association for any reason.

    The leagues have always been the grounds for finding golfers/shooters willing to post scores and join up. Some competitiors join a league for the social aspect, learn the ropes and love the competition. They then take it step further by joining the USGS or in our case the ATA.

    All these kids who shot the AIM last week have parents with a bit of spending money or they would not have been there. Work on getting those parents involved in a friendly league by offering reduced prices and making it convenient for them to find a time to shoot. By shooting along with their kids and they may find they love to shoot as much as watch.
     
  7. Gapper

    Gapper TS Member

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    Jay, your statement "there is no leadership on this issue" says it all. Now, you have to ask yourself: Why? Do you honestly believe the powers that be care what you think? Oh yes, they'll take your $20 dues but they run the association the way they see fit. Witness the treatment of those fellows trying to change things; it's a shame.

    SCTP/AIM are very good programs, and anyone concerned with the future of shooting sports should direct their effort toward this type of mentoring, as youth is always the future.

    The "Amateur" in ATA is kind of a misnomer, but the association name was changed to emphasize the ability to compete - head to head - with the so-called "professionals" in the sport. This is a singular quality, unavailable in most other sports. This and the high quality of membership are our only saving grace. Regards, GAP
     
  8. primed

    primed Well-Known Member

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    silverbulletexpress et al:

    "Kids are the future, not because they are going to stay with trapshooting after mom and dad quits paying for it, because they will come back to it later in life when they have discretionary funds to spend."

    I researched in my home state and found no evidence of this. The ones that stay with it, stay with it. The ones that leave, don't come back. If your area is different, I would be interested in knowing how you get them back.

    I continue to believe that all of the resources put into youth programs may pay dividends to the pro-gun mindset of these kids but I just plain can't see any dividends to the ATA that have or will come from it based on real history.

    I continue to believe that if those resources were put into attracting adult league shooters, we would be much more successful as a corporation. That demographic has a demonstrated interest of their own (no pressure from mom or dad), some of the basic equipment and a basic understanding of the game.

    I know my position is not a popular one but I sure would like to see data to support the other position.

    I agree with the original poster. We need to grow the sport. What we are doing now isn't working. Let's try something new. The definition of insanity is "to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

    Bob
     
  9. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Primed I can't argue with your research and I base my opinion on my limited observations. Getting kids involved if we only show them there are uses for firearms other than what they see in movies and video games is a good thing.

    I also think the organizations whether it be the ATA or a local club would be better off focusing on keeping members rather than recruiting new ones. When we lose someone that has been in the sport for years and already has the equipment and knows the sport it takes several new recruits to ever replace them. IMO I see more effort put into recruiting than keeping the present members happy in some instances.
     
  10. MD12SHOOTER

    MD12SHOOTER Member

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    The sport is dying because the "SPORT' is gone from the game. You stand at the same 5 stations, shoot the same stupid 25 birds, and in 15 minutes you just went thru $10 to $15 dollars. Boy is that ever exciting. The game is hanging on because old fat men can waddle up to the line and act like they are doing something constructive with their life, and then can't wait to get back to the chair and have a cold one and talk about how tough those targets were today. The trapshooting of today needs to have a challenge added to it. Yes I know, very few shoot a perfect score, but the game needs a twist to it, and by that I mean something for the shooter to go back to his chair and think "man that was fun, can't wait to do that again", by maybe adding a feature that will catch the shooter off guard, something to keep his focus, something to keep his attention, and something that can change at random. The youth of today want a challenge, they get bored easily. The youth of today can get money for gadgets, they can get money for trapshooting. Yes, the wife and I were both members of the ATA, but as home trap ranges hold ATA shoots, and can change rules to accommodate the shooters at their discretion, that is pure BS, and yes, I have experienced this and until these things can be changed, I doubt that I'll be returning to the ATA. Let the comments fly. A shooter for 40 years and very bored with the game. Ray
     
  11. pdq

    pdq Member

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    Ray:

    It doesn't have to be this way.

    Yes, I know, I've shot at clubs where it is only a bunch of old fat men (I fall in that category), and some dress like they just got done changing the engine in their car, or wearing wifebeater t-shirts showing off their hairy backs and armpits. And then they wonder why women and kids don't want to be around. But it doesn't have to be that way.

    I also belong to a club that has a golf course and a trap field. They play golf April thru September, then have trap every Sunday from October thru March. Families come together. Husbands and wives shoot together. Parents and children shoot together. When kids come home from college they are there, participating in a family event. We promote it as "winter golf", and there are a lot of similarities in terms of skills required.

    4 or 5 times a year a number of members combine forces and have a 'sponsored shoot'. They make a really nice lunch, not just your standard hoagies or pizza, plus provide prizes including husband wife, parent child, etc. We handicap everyone so that they have a chance of winning high handicap in a couple of categories. We provide instruction. We have BT-99s and other guns as loaners. People go out of their way to welcome new shooters.

    We have 2 trap fields but on them shoot singles, caps and doubles. We also have protection shoots. We've had "painted bird shoots" where if you break a painted bird it counts as 2 -- people who never broke a 25 before can now do so, as everyone gets a couple of chances. We make it fun. It doesn't matter that they didn't shoot a "pure" 25 -- just seeing that score go up makes them smile.

    The result? We have a strong and expanding program. We've got a bunch of young shooters as young as 10 - 11 years old. Except for declared holiday weekends, they shoot every weekend, despite the weather we get here in PA. I could show you pics of them shooting when there was 4 feet of snow on the ground in temps that are in the teens, with a strong wind blowing. They are nuts. Why do they come? Because it's quality family time together and they look forward to spending that time with friends and having fun shooting. And when the shooting is over, they can watch the football game on the TV if they want.

    The competition is fierce, but that's not all we focus on. We want people to have a good time, and encourage familes to participate. It's fun. And beyond the fact that it's not just a bunch of old fat men, the participation is growing, not declining. So -- make it fun and people will come, and to your point, it doesn't have to be boring.

    Pete
     
  12. OldRemFan

    OldRemFan Member

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    MD12SHOOTER:

    I think that added challenge you talked about is called "Sporting Clays". I have never shot a round of sporting clays, but I do frequent the local sporting clays layout to pick up reloading stuff, something which my local trap and skeet club I shoot at, doesn't keep around. I haven't noticed a lot of old, fat, men down there either. Maybe old, which I also fall into that category, but I can't remember seeing a single fat person. Maybe some a little overweight, but they still wouldn't need a mirror to see whether their shoes are getting wet when they use the restroom. Maybe walking the 1/4 mile or so long course has something to do with the lack of excess weight also.

    Just my observations

    Bob
     
  13. missed some

    missed some TS Member

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    the ATA doesn't make much money off of memberships,they make it off target fees, and if people don't wanna shoot targets, you aren't gonna make em. Every other hobby out there has the same dilema,"how do we get more participation?", don't know the answer, BUT those kids may not come back, BUT they will vote someday, and probably vote pro-gun. Which in itself is an asset. mark
     
  14. indycamster

    indycamster Member

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    For added challenge, how about setting the traps on "the two hole?" Never tried it but hear the old timers say, the game changed when they went to "3 hole." A faster target with wider angles....if the traps can be changed in 5 minutes to throw doubles, how long would it take to change from 3 to 2 hole?? Open a special category, 2 hole event. Just a thought.
     
  15. V10

    V10 Well-Known Member

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    "3 hole" is wider than "2 hole."
     
  16. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Hmm, sporting clays shooters blasting trap shooters for being fat. From what I've seen there are plenty of big boy sportie shooters and not many of them walk further than to and from the golf cart.

    If it's a fashion contest or body building contest maybe firearms are not what you are really interested in?
     
  17. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    If good scores are not the challenge then go take up knitting as you sure as hell are not a shooter.

    The so called professionals got their collective butts beat the last two weeks by some good amateurs. So that arguement is lame.

    I still get a rush when walking out to the shoot offs or a case of the nerves when getting to the end of a great score. When that stops happening I will quit shooting.

    Don
     
  18. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Bigdon I agree. I don't understand the folks saying trap is too easy, it ain't for me and I don't see all that many perfect scores.
     
  19. kevin a.

    kevin a. Member

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    i like shooting in my travel league - i'm new to trap and its fun !!

    but to shoot registered requires to many targets and time to get the targets

    kevin
     
  20. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    kevin--You only need minimum target numbers to compete in your class and at your yardage at the larger shoots. The regular registered shoots require no minimum target numbers to compete. Even at the larger shoots, as long as your dues are up to date you can still shoot it will just be at penality yardage and class. At the Grand you can shoot for targets only and still shoot your regular yardage and class without having any registered targets for the year as long as your dues are paid. Why does it take more time to shoot a registered target as opposed to a league target? I think you have/had either been misled or do not understand the system.
     
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