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How about some feed back

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Phil Kiner, Jul 28, 2008.

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  1. Phil Kiner

    Phil Kiner Well-Known Member

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    My last blog entry (July 23) is a copy of a letter and short article to sent to ATA President Neil Winton and c.c.'d to the Board of Directors. My intent was to suggest a somewhat different approach to the handicap problem we have-- thus generating discusion and hopefully change. Phil
     
  2. Hauxfan

    Hauxfan Well-Known Member

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    Phil, it sounds good to me.

    Let's go for it.

    Hauxfan!
     
  3. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

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    Phil...

    Excellent points and I agree that many "Short Yardage" shooters need to be moved forward so as to be more competitive (even within themselves).

    Personally I'd like to see a 32 yard line (as in Live-Bird shooting), but I understand the logistics involved would prohibit this.

    The real problem is going to be the "Trapshooting Mentality" of the Board Memebers that will effect a change (the old "if it ain't broke" people).

    Curt
     
  4. gdbabin

    gdbabin TS Member

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    I am a 21 yd, second year shooter who recently took a reduction from the 22. My friends convinced me it was the best course of action in spite of the "hit" my silly pride took.


    It's strange how much a mere yard affects my mental game, even with knowing the physics and geometry vary little for the mere 36 inch difference in distance.


    I really enjoy Handicap, as it's the only event that I have a remote chance of winning something at this point. I sometimes pull off a mid to high 90, which can potentially get me in a shoot off.


    NASCAR used to be closer to the Trap model we have today with a relatively few dominating the field while the bulk rode around in fruitless circles. In NASCAR today the difference between the quality of equipment among the various teams is much less creating more parity. This parity results in more exciting racing for the fans, much to the chagrin of most of the drivers. NASCAR knows however that their bread and butter comes from the fans--not the drivers.


    I doubt if many of the bulk of shooters who are either novice, of average skill, or restricted in the amount of time/money we can expend toward the sport would vote against your proposals Phil.


    I also wonder rhetorically, what is more important or significant to our sport? A long-time shooter winning a big event from the 29 with 1200 fps ammo, or a 2-yr shooter winning the GAH from the 19? It's relatively easy to make a case for each.


    Creative thinking and open discussion is the path to change and improvement. Any enterprise that's not growing and evolving as a result of its current and future operating environment is one destined for decline. Thank you Phil for your wisdom and commitment to trap shooting.

    Guy Babin
     
  5. John Thompson

    John Thompson TS Member

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    Go over the stat.s, Yes, our "pro.s" win a lot and are in shoot offs but the short yardage shooters continue to win and be in shoot offs also. There are sandbaggers and pro.s alike winning major tournaments all the time. Please consider, "money is the root of all evil" How many pro.s & sandbaggers would exist if you had a mandatory $2.oo purse, period?
     
  6. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Phil- I like the intent of your suggestions, but they raise some questions in my mind. These questions are not negative comments about your suggestions, but are simply questions that should be considered in making any changes.

    My questions are from the perspective of effects of the suggestions at small clubs (1-4 traps, average number of shooters 5-25). These are the clubs that throw the majority of targets and the clubs where the majority of new members shoot targets.

    First, moving shooters to less than the 20 yard line would cause squadding problems. At that yardage, only a two yard separation of shooters on the squad is safe and possibly only one yard difference between adjacent shooters. Would this result in several short squads with only 2-3 short yard shooters?

    Extension of the 27 yard line, even straight back, would really be a problem for many clubs. It could be done at my club for around $150,000 and rerouting the entrance road to between the 16 yard line and the traps. We did have the road located in this position for many years and it does create unique problems. My club last Sunday had four 27 yard shooters at the shoot. All of them have received punches this year from the 27 so we would have a few 29 yard shooters.

    I am not opposed to starting new members on the 18 yard line, but history suggests this would not increase membership retention. A few years ago, new members started on the 22 yard line. This was changed to the 20 yard line and there was not a decline in membership loss because of this move.

    I like the idea of restricting loads to 1200 ft/sec, but this would require changing the way velocity is determined by manufacturers. Now, by industry standards, a velocity of 1200 ft/sec is any velocity between 1110 and 1290 ft/sec (1200 +-90). I know of one very popular foreign shell manufacturer that has put the exact same shell in boxes labeled 1145 ft/sec and 1200 ft/sec (2 3/4 and 3 dram equivalents were printed on boxes with the same shell). Your suggestion would require a change in SAMMI standards. We do now limit the velocity to 1200 ft/sec as defined by SAMMI but SAMMI does not agree that 1200 = 1200.

    I will also add my personal suggestion on how to help with our retention problem. That is for experienced shooters to make new members feel as if they are part of the group. We should not have the best shooters at a small five squad shoot, shoot together, sit together between events and present the image that only good shooters should talk with them. Sequestering new shooters does not make them feel welcome.

    Pat Ireland
     
  7. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Extensions from the 27yd. line are not economically feasible at a few local clubs but most of those clubs are not attended by the shooters that are affected by this change. All-American points are not awarded at a three squad shoot in Eastern PA or elsewhere so why would Kay be there? If any top shooter was that desperate for targets (unlikely), there's always Singles and Doubles events. The fact Pat mentions is that several local shooters received punches from the 27 acknowledges the need for more concrete. We all know that a shooter can only move beyond the 27 and to the level of his real ability by winning an event-an option not afforded to a lesser shooter, who only moves past his ability level.

    My hour long conversation with Phil brought us to an agreement on most of his suggestions-but not all. The need for more yardage is certainly one!!
     
  8. ccridr

    ccridr Member

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    From a new comer to the sport, (3 yrs.) I have questioned my decision to shoot registered targets and to compete in large shoots because of cost and lopsided playing field. The cost of travel,shooting fees, motels and food while on the road is very prohibitive to some one on a fixed income. Add to that the slim to none chance of even winning a trophy, let alone money, makes me question the decisions I make about shooting ATA. There are not enough Pro's to support the sport. The ATA needs the average shooter to stay in business and it is time the BOD recognize them and I think you’re the proposal you suggested would be a good place to start. Thank you Phil for your concern for the sport.
    Colby M Cousineau
     
  9. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    At the right time, changes are productive, even if the first attempt is wrong. We should atleast make an attempt to improve the game. The 29 yard line could be temporarily accomplished with pre-poured concrete pads merely set in place in lieu of pour in concrete. At some clubs, this pre-poured pad would provide better footing than the current worn out/cracked/crooked pads at the 27 yard line! I don't think squadding will be a problem. There would probably be a larger group of 18-20 yard shooters than any other group. 20-22 yard could also be squadded, giving the "squad nazis" additional short yardage flexibility. 1200 fps max is a no brainer. Go for it.
     
  10. JBrooks

    JBrooks TS Member

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    Phil,

    I do not think that the reason most new shooters leave the sport is because they find they are not competitive at handicap due to their assigned yardage. Because I have only been shooting three years and 2 1/2 years of registered shooting, I have recently gone through the transition of coming into the sport and having to work my way back to the 27 yard line. As such, the challenges which I faced as a new shooter are still fresh in my mind.

    Being the Facilities Chairman at our Club and having built two new trap fields in the last year, I think I am well aware of the difficulties in adding concrete, both physical and financial. I believe a better solution to the competitive problem created by the fact that there are a handful of shooters who have mastered the 27 yard line is not to move them further back but to create an additional yardage class called Master Class. In fact, at our next ATA shoot, we are offering a Master Class for 27 yard shooters with a 92% + handicap average. This allows the remaining typical 27 yard shooters a rational chance to win the 27 yard group.

    Adding an optional Master Class is a quick and easy thing to do. While it requires one more trophy, I think that it would substantially increase attendance by 27 yard shooters who may not consider it worth their while to show up at a shoot where they know there will be half a dozen 27 yard shooters, at least one of which will put up a 98 or 99. In effect, the average 27 yard shooter might be some of the elite shooters that day but can't beat all of the elite shooters. In any case it is far less expensive than pouring concrete.

    I also agree with the direction of the ATA in expanding the yardage group concept at the Grand. While a handicap system is theoretically designed to provide a level playing field for participants of all skill levels to compete equitably, the reality is that we do have a handful of shooters who almost have reached the same level of proficiency at 27 yards as the best shooters at 16 yards. Consequently, giving trophies to the top six places is always going to favor these elite shooters.

    As for starting people at shorter handicap yardages, I take the opposite view. In anecdotally reviewing handicap results around Southern California, the recurring theme when a short yardage shooter wins champion, it is often either a talented and well trained SCTP shooter or one of a few of the new shooters who have the time and talent to work their way back to the 27 yard line in a relatively short time.

    In either case, these are shooters who are not going to spend any significant amount of their career in the 19-24 yard range. We know that the young shooter is probably going to quit shooting when they go off to school, have to get a job or join the military. However, during their two or three year career they will take a lot of short yardage groups and a few champion wins before they are gone. Plus, there is always a new crop right behind them. For the adult shooter who is just "passing through" on his way to the 27 yard line, he too will take several yardage group and a few champion trophies.

    In effect, these two groups of "hot shooters" are truly under-handicapped at the shorter yardages. What this means is that it is very hard for a true short yardage shooter to win either in yardage group or champion because these under handicapped shooters are picking up the trophies. Consequently, my suggestion is that new shooters start at the 22 or 23 yard line and if they are not competitive they will quickly work their way forward to where they are competitive but if they are competitive they will not be picking up trophies at yardages at which they are under-handicapped.

    Finally, having had to go through the process to get to the 27 yard line and having watched others do so as well, the current earned at yardage system is a hodgepodge of gimmicks designed to overcome the concept of sandbagging. As such it is arbitrary and irrational and doesn't provide a clear and defined path for shooters to progress as their skill increases. A handicap system where a shooter can prove his mastery of a particular yardage by meeting a predetermined average over X. number of targets at that yardage , regardless of whether he happens to win champion or post the occasional 96+, would provide that defined path.

    I think a lot of new shooters get discouraged because they come to realize they might shoot consistent 93s, 94s and 95s but leave each shoot frustrated because the current system is either a good or bad result. I know that when I was trying to earn yardage, as soon as I missed that fifth target it was a real letdown and I was suddenly shooting "practice". However, had I been trying to achieve a certain average at that yardage, every target would have counted.

    These are my thoughts.
     
  11. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    First, let me say that I have never shot any registered birds and would like to say why. One reason was that I had to drive approximately 120 miles to get to the nearest facility. Another reason was that I would have to shoot from the 21 yard line. It's my own fault that I am a new trap shooter and can shoot fairly well from the 16 averaging 94 but not nearly as well from the 21 shooting in the mid 80's thus making me not very competitive. I know that part of it is ego, but in my mind I could already hear remarks like, who is this bozo, can't shoot but an 80. Last but not least is the expense. I practice skeet and wobble trap twice a week normally at an expense of $100.00 a week which covers fuel, reloads and club expense. It would cost me about $20.00 more for fuel to be able to shoot in Jacksonville or Savannah so that would not be a real problem.


    Having read Phil's blog I couldn't help but to agree with him whole heartedly. I realize that I have a whole lot to learn about the game but just wanted to share my point of view. It would seem that its a whole lot easier to work your way back than to begin at a handicap. It has a tendency to take some air out of your sails and if you don't improve fast it would be discouraging. Jackie B.

    I failed to add, while visiting some facilities which I won't name, it wasn't the friendliest places to want to be. I couldn't help but wonder if it was cliques or if was that I wasn't shooting a P gun or something along that line. One thing that I have learned is that if you want someone to come back whether it's a business, Church, or club you need to make them feel welcome.
     
  12. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

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    I readily agree with a lot of what Phil has written and suggested. I would like to add one recommendation, and that would be to go to maximum loads of 1 oz., eliminating the 1 1/8 oz. load. Rather than move yardages back from the 27, changing to the 1 oz. load would probably accomplish the same thing. This may or may not put Phil's 1200 fps recommendation up in the air. I'd be interested in Phil's, and others' comments on this.

    A lot of clubs, as some have already mentioned, would be financially strapped, and unable to extend the yardages. The 1 oz load may make this unnecessary.

    As to the move from 20 yards to something shorter, I'm a relatively new shooter, having not shot trap for forty years, until last year. Changes in gun equipment have overcome a lot of the challenges of the game, much the same as in golf. However, that stated, 20 yards is a mental, and not physical challenge. It's taken lessons, and practice to overcome the view moving from 16 to 20 yards. Now, I practice mostly from the 20-yard line.

    I also agree with Phil, that this should not be studied to death. While not all the research is empirical, the "soft" data based on long-time shooters' observations is well worth taking a chance.

    Just some comments.

    Best,
    Dennis
     
  13. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Old sarge is right on regarding the money aspect. Do anyone really care about a few belt buckles awarded the top shooters? That's why a Pro classification is absolutely meaningless when these same shooters are allowed to split up all the money. Does anyone really believe Harlon attends a major shoot in hopes of winning a pewter plate? In case nobody noticed, the "top dogs" usually play all the options with the intent to suck the "little dogs" dry. All fine and dandy but you can only take the food away from the "little dogs" so often before they wither and die.

    The "little dogs" continue to get smarter and fewer play any options than ever before. When the big shoots become giant trinket shoots, sooner or later, interest wanes and attendance suffers. Does anyone believe we're not there now!!
     
  14. ZeroHero

    ZeroHero TS Member

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    How would clubs that can not extend their walks allow 28-29 yard shooters to shoot? America is made up of grass roots clubs with only 1-4 traps. And only getting 5-25 shooters. They can not afford to tell any of them "sorry, you can't shoot the handicap event we don't have the space to extend the walk"

    The idea of 27 Master class was done in Vegas. (Gold/Silver by your average) maybe Steve would comment how that went.

    I don't know how to fix it, but I do think something needs to change.

    Duke
     
  15. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with 99% of what Mr. Kiner has suggested for retaining shooters in our organization. With his suggestions in place, it would totally change the shooters (perceptions) of the game! Most new shooters perceive our game as one of perfection and once they realize how much time and money is necessary to become competitive, they go elsewhere to spend their recreational dollars. Our loss!

    Adding more concrete to accommodate 29 yard shooters to this game's time has come. With all the gun and ammo improvements since the 27 yard line was made mandatory, I do wonder if the 29 would be enough considering the lesser angles shot today. Not every club would have to add more concrete either and those that could, wouldn't need very many traps to accommodate those gifted shooters.

    With the economy escalating as it has for quite some time, now is the time to change a few ways of operating to attract more shooters to our sport. As much as many die hard perfectionist don't want to admit, perfection in scores is hurting our overall game plan. Growing the sport is more important now than anytime in our history!

    Great job presenting your excellent ideas for helping our sport Phil! Thank you very much!

    Hap
     
  16. Bisi

    Bisi TS Member

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    I like your ideas Phil. I think we need to try some new things to put life back in the sport. If it doesn't work, try something different or turn back the clock.
     
  17. DENNISMASTROLIA1

    DENNISMASTROLIA1 Active Member

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    IMHO-No body will agree totally on anything that is suggested.Human nature as it is.I believe that the handicap system is just fine the way it is in place.If the big dogs are winning many shoots then simply don't play the money.Shoot the best that you can-every time and so be it.In all other sports someone will dominate from time to time.So what.Tiger Woods dominates as much as an ATA big dog yet we hear nothing about rule changes in golf.What if someone suggested that he(Tiger Woods) tee off from a greater distance or that he "putt" from a more difficult green than the rest of us.This sport is the only one where you even have the slightest possibility to compete with the very best in the world and now some would like to "even the field".Why-for some money?Or for a trophy? Again-shoot the best that you can and enjoy it all.
     
  18. Ljutic111

    Ljutic111 TS Member

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    I say no handicap yardage should be less than 19 yds and the 1200 fps is great . No longer yardage than 27 and go to 1 oz loads . My biggest beef is why we get there in the first place with the penalty yards for winning or not winning at small shoots with no money involved and get back past where you should be shooting from . Getting your 1000 targets is costly for reductions and thats where I think your loosing membership . I have no intention of spending way too much money per year and shoot with the chance of getting nothing back . I`d prefer to shoot locally and have fun doing so more often with going to money shoots , after all thats what it`s suppose to be -- FUN .
     
  19. saluki68

    saluki68 TS Member

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    Adding more concrete for 28/29 yds might be a real hardship on some (many?)clubs. Phil's other suggestions are basically reasonable and would not be difficult or expensive to implement; why not give some of them a try? If they don't generate improvement after a couple of years, they could be abandoned with no harm/no foul. It's not like he advocated something radical, like making the 27 yd "pros" shoot with a 28ga or a .410. Tom Montgomery
     
  20. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts on the subject:

    Most people who take up a hobby remain active for 2 to 4 years, then drop it for something else. That tendency explains most of the "new" shooter losses from the ATA.

    The second is the sheer amount of time it takes to shoot registered targets. At West Chester Gun Club we average between 20 and 30 shooters during the summer months. Even so, you have to devote an entire afternoon if you want to shoot all three events. You would think it would be quicker, but waiting until all the singles are finished so you can match up handicap squads means you could cool your heels for 2 hours between singles and caps. Adding an 18-19 yard group to the mix will delay everything even more, and will, as Pat suggests, result in short squads. Perhaps changing the class to 17-18 yards and allowing them to shoot with singles shooters would solve the problem. We already have a 19-21 yard classification, so why not. Or, perhaps you make 20 yards the minimum and institute a class system similar to singles, where the class you are assigned to depends on how big the shoot is. I can see classes that would de-handicap a 20 yard shooter for larger shoots. Say a 20 yarder with an 89 average gets moved up to the 19 for a shoot the size of the MD State Shoot, to the 18 for a PA State shoot size, and to the 17 for the Grand. Averages of 90 and over stay where they are.

    I don't like the idea of a 29 yard line, because of the logistics. I would rather see targets made more difficult, or ammo restrictions if you think making it more difficult for 27 yarders is a good idea. The groups that are all over the map are the 19-21 and 27 yard groups. 19-21 because of lack of experience and/or talent, and 27 yarders because many insist on shooting there even though they have an average that suggests they would be better of at the 23. So, I really don't see making life more difficult for the good 27 yard shooters is productive. I don't see pages of 100 straights in handicap like I do in singles at big shoots. And I still believe that 100 straight from the 27 depends on a little bit of luck in addition to good equipment, ammo, and an abundance of talent, at least here in the East. Besides, most 27 yarders needlessly handicap themselves by using 7 1/2 shot.

    Here are some common sense suggestions for retaining more new shooters than we do now.

    1. Don't let a new shooter shoot with a gun that doesn't fit, especially if it is a woman, and especially if it is a youngster.

    2. Don't insist a woman mount the gun the same way you do. In case you haven't noticed, their anatomy is different.

    3. Do not cheap out on shells. 1oz loads @ 1290fps may be cheap, but they hurt. Slow 7/8oz or 1oz loads are the way to start a newbie out.

    4. Don't gawk. Newbies may already be self conscious, and having all of you stand around critiquing their form, etc. is NOT a good idea.

    5. You are more than likely NOT the expert you think you are, so shut up. If you are asked for advice, offer a few suggestions, do not deliver a lecture.

    6. Be friendly and encouraging. There are a lot of things that turn a new shooter off, and the old boy's club is one of them.

    7. Remember that getting a new shooter back the second time is the first step towards adding a shooter to our ranks. Do all you can to keep them interested.

    8. Once you have them returning again and again, let them progress at their own pace. I'm still new enough that I remember how confusing it was to have 5 well meaning shooters tell me to do 7 different things. Chances are you forgot what it took to get you where you are, so "do it this way" works for you, but probably won't for them.
     
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