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How to increase shoot participation.

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by ebsurveyor, Feb 8, 2012.

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  1. ebsurveyor

    ebsurveyor Member

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    I'll try to stick to the facts. Trapshooting participation is dropping. Most agree that is a problem. The ATA is trying to fix this by awarding more trophies. I don't think that approach is working as participation continues to decline. At the PA State Shoot we are very fortunate to have a donated K 80 Trap Special awarded to the winner of a special shoot off on the Preliminary Handicap. Prior to 2005 (the start of the K 80 giveaway) the main Handicap event average several hundred more shooters than the Preliminary. With a single high end prize available, the Preliminary Handicap now out draws the main even by more than 300 shooters. Last year (2011) the PA Preliminary out drew the main even by 362 shooters. At 1180 shooters the 2011 PA Preliminary event may have had the highest number of entries in a 2011 Handicap event not held at Sparta. The gun is awarded to the winner of a "pull two numbers" shoot off. Conclusion: a very good prize that everyone thinks they have a shot at will increase attendance. Of course some changes to the Handicap system will also increase participation, a 30 yard line is needed.
     
  2. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    EB, you're correct that everyone wanting a shot at something nice is the primary reason the experienced shooters flock to the Prelim caps more so than the main!

    Shouldn't we also surmise that same response from new shooters joining ATA as first timers? Meaning, if they "thought" they would stand a chance somewhere along the line without having to shoot near perfect scores to do so? Then, to be told they'd have to shoot a thousand targets at penalty yardage first?

    Our sport does need a small amount of changes to make it more inviting to new shooters. Lumping a brand new shooter in with old experienced hands and expecting him to stay while shooting way beyond his abilities is asinine at best. It's no wonder our retention rate is so dismal with that line of leadership skill. I think what we have is no one in authority in our sport is thinking outside the box for NEW ideas to improve the ranks and the game as intended from the beginning. Shame on everyone of us ATA members for allowing this to happen to our sport! We all lose with that brand of no change thinking!

    Hap
     
  3. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    People will always participate in an event if they feel they have a chance. Take that feeling away and soon you'll be looking at an empty parking lot!!
     
  4. ebsurveyor

    ebsurveyor Member

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    Hey Hap, I agree we need some changes. I've been shooting for 40+ years and right now I can't think of any major changes in the past 40 years.
     
  5. handlepuller

    handlepuller Well-Known Member

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    Want to increase participation? Easy. Money.

    Look at the Grand. The Martins donated and attendance is growing.

    There are a lot of shooters with money. It's time to put that money where your mouth is. If you can afford it, donate the prizes for one of your club's shoots. It doesn't have to be a K-80. A $500 prize given away like you mention above would generate interest too.

    So many people complain but who does anything about it?
     
  6. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    People just want to belong to group, be accepted in that group, and have fun. Be courteous, helpful, and friendly to new shooters.

    And don't be afriad to ask someone to come to the club.
     
  7. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    I say this as one who really doesn't compete in tournament events, but as a cheerleader for ATA Membership and registering targets in general... to get more folks into tournaments, you need a greater pool of folks who register targets in the first place.

    The emphasis on money and big prizes can only hope to attract a segment of shooters who register targets. The majority of existing shooters already know they have little chance at winning the big prizes... for the masses the Lewis (with its flaws) and perpetual purses for multiple straights are maybe the only options for the rank and file - if gambling is a must-have...

    New potential ATA members need a fresh "carrot", requiring a fresh approach.

    A grassroots sales campaign is needed to get rank and file "practice" trapshooters to support the governing body and a reason to establish an average and a handicap as fun way to track their shooting progress and meet fellow shooters... training tools and comraderie.

    (1) get folks to establish known ability at their home club without pressure or penalties, establish an "ATA Club" within the club.

    (2) encourage home clubs to promote travel to other area clubs for target only and tournament shoots - a little interclub rivalry never hurts.

    (3) encourage clubs to promote regional (state/satellite tourneys) events and send representative shooters - coordinate caravanning, lodging.

    (4) encourage clubs to promote the Grand - again offering coordination to interested members.

    ATA sells clubs on becoming ATA affilates with an easy turnkey system to offer registered targets; POS membership materials and acknowledges clubs that recruit and grow.

    Clubs promote ATA programming, which in turn can only help expand their internal programming. Club members become better members and hopefully better shooters as the "best" mentor the "up and coming" and encourage the "newbies" to start...

    Get more folks into the system and you have a guaranteed increase in future participation... understanding that the ATA hasn't been selling itself for years and then only to the same choir... seeds sown today will reap a harvest for maybe 2013-14...

    Respectfully offered,

    Jay Spitz
     
  8. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Sorry jay, you're approaching the problem with a professional practice shooters mentality. ATA Trapshooting was never a practice shooters haven and when the money stopped so went the numbers. You are correct with expressing the need for feeder clubs to step up but fail to understand the roadblocks that prevent success. Any small club that currently attempts running successful ATA shoots finds that available dates, not conflicting with a State, Grand, Mini-Grand etc.are nearly impossible. Actually, the ATA shoots itself in the foot by continually encouraging these events and shutting the feeder clubs out of the picture.

    Please don't assume that pink ribbons with attached plastic gun trinket type awards will somehow stimulate growth or attendance. As Mr. Bornman clearly states, the PA Preliminary Handicap event has an enormous turnout simply because shooters believe they have a chance at a fabulous prize. Do you believe a large pewter plate will have the same effect? Do you honestly think the Grand in Illinois would enjoy even mild success without a large financial contribution?

    Case in point. We have several Trap leagues in our area. One routinely raises prices, offers large cash prizes, enjoys consistent growth and even adds new clubs. The others refuse to raise prices, do away with nice prizes and continually lose clubs-one of the leagues is on life support.

    And again, Sporting Clays has taken away the practice shooters with a marketing program oriented toward younger people, corporate outings and different challenging targets. Few young people enjoy banging away at mindless $30/100 targets, hoping not to miss any, and entering a shootoff late in the evening for a flashlite trophy. Nor do they care for joining an organization that simply keeps records and makes a few feeble attempts to clarify existing rules each year.

    As EB so clearly states, bring back the money or great prizes and they'll be back-they're out there but not for what's currently offered!!
     
  9. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Sorry jay, you're approaching the problem with a professional practice shooters mentality. ATA Trapshooting was never a practice shooters haven and when the money stopped so went the numbers. You are correct with expressing the need for feeder clubs to step up but fail to understand the roadblocks that prevent success. Any small club that currently attempts running successful ATA shoots finds that available dates, not conflicting with a State, Grand, Mini-Grand etc.are nearly impossible. Actually, the ATA shoots itself in the foot by continually encouraging these events and shutting the feeder clubs out of the picture.

    Please don't assume that pink ribbons with attached plastic gun trinket type awards will somehow stimulate growth or attendance. As Mr. Bornman clearly states, the PA Preliminary Handicap event has an enormous turnout simply because shooters believe they have a chance at a fabulous prize. Do you believe a large pewter plate will have the same effect? Do you honestly think the Grand in Illinois would enjoy even mild success without a large financial contribution?

    Case in point. We have several Trap leagues in our area. One routinely raises prices, offers large cash prizes, enjoys consistent growth and even adds new clubs. The others refuse to raise prices, do away with nice prizes and continually lose clubs-one of the leagues is on life support.

    And again, Sporting Clays has taken away the practice shooters with a marketing program oriented toward younger people, corporate outings and different challenging targets. Few young people enjoy banging away at mindless $30/100 targets, hoping not to miss any, and entering a shootoff late in the evening for a flashlite trophy. Nor do they care for joining an organization that simply keeps records and makes a few feeble attempts to clarify existing rules each year.

    As EB so clearly states, bring back the money or great prizes and they'll be back-they're out there but not for what's currently offered!!
     
  10. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    Everyone who you expect to come to the shoot should have a realistic chance of winning something. This "gotta' pay their dues" mentality is driving them away.

    John C. Saubak
     
  11. ebsurveyor

    ebsurveyor Member

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    Mr 'dawg, If I didn't know better I'de think you had some "COMMON SENSE"!
     
  12. reddeath

    reddeath TS Member

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    I agree random draws for prizes would inspire so so shooters to participate. Our gun club holds a summer league if you are a top shooter you win a $20.00 trophy. But if you shoot all your targets then you are in a drawing for either guns or money. Last year my 14yr. old son won $1,000.00!

    The biggest problem, that none of us can fix is the economy! Case closed!
    Cost of supplies, targets and ammo can really add up!

    Despite this I have recruited several youths into shooting the aim program. It is a much easier sell then full ATA. Once parents of children who shoot at the club level, understood they need to shoot 300 registered targets and then compete in two 100 target events, with the targets being 1/2 price. I had no problem getting them on board.

    Other youths I have shooting can not afford to shoot any more then the bare minimum. They are allowed AIM shoots and AIM practice only!

    Get shells down to $3.00 a box then you will see a real rise in shooters.
     
  13. Twinbirds

    Twinbirds TS Member

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    try chumming the waters a few minutes before casting...... what needs to be done noone wants to hear.
     
  14. Kevin Nelson

    Kevin Nelson Member

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    It all starts at the local level. The individual gun glubs have to promote the sport if it is to grow. Lots of clubs have great league turn outs but very few participate in the ATA shoots, why is that? Doing away with the good ole boy management at some of the clubs would be a start. MOst leagues you can shoot for 3-4 bucks a around. Go to an ATA shoot and it jumps up to over $10 per round. Thats a turn off right there. I know there are trophies, trap help, etc to pay for, but there has to be a way to fund that some how else. Just a few ideas anyway.
     
  15. senior smoke

    senior smoke Well-Known Member

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    Shooters did not suddenly lose their interest in participating in the shooting sports. How hard is it to understand that a tremendous amount of people are out of work, or their hours have been cut and they are hurting financially?

    Many of us have adult children and they are in a similar situation. How many parents today are helping their adult children make ends meet, or those who have had their adult children move back home because they either lost a job or they could not find a job after graduating from college? For numerous people their fun money originally used for recreation is now being used to basically stay a float.

    Many people believe that Washington has lost touch with the rest of America.
    The answer to increase shooting participation is good paying full time jobs, as that will bring back participation in the shooting sports. All the trophies in the world won't increase participation.

    Take a look at the ATA book from the depression years? Not much different than today. When jobs picked up so did the amount of shooters.


    Steve Balistreri
     
  16. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    Example-nice local club with a huge Thursday evening league and around 50-60 50 target squads-lot's of practice squads too. Typical ATA shoot at same club runs around 5 or 6-16 yd. squads-fewer Handicap and Doubles for all the reasons listed above.

    Lots of people blame the economy for all that ails Trapshooting. Well it sucked in the 70's too but Trapshooting was alive and well. Our local Sporting Clays course is so full on weekends at $38/100 it's hard to find a parking place. Casino revenues are up in many locations. It's hard to understand how shooters think nothing of buying a $10,000 shotgun but can't afford to shoot it!!
     
  17. guinner16

    guinner16 TS Member

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    I am totally new to shooting in general so I will offer my perspective. It comes down to money, and time for me. This year I have spends thousands on guns, start up supplies, safe, fees, ammo, reloader, reloading suppies, and other countless things. The first year of shooting it just seems the expenses keep adding up. I keep telling myself that once I buy this next thing, I will be good for a while. But we all know how that turns out. So the main thing is just the start up costs during the first year. (trust me I know it will only get more expensive too)

    I think the key is to not just concentrate on new shooters, but new young shooters. I am 29 years old, married, 2 children, and a full time job. Just finding the time to get out once a week to shoot a 100 can be difficult. I am very lucky because my club offers 24 hour 7 day a week shooting. If I had to be at a club on a specific day, and a specific time, then I would be shooting less than half as much. This doesnt include the time spent researching or buying things like ammo and supplies. Its not like we go shoot for two hours on the weekend and then forget about trapshooting until the next weekend. It becomes part of our life, and we get involved with the "chase". Sometimes I have more fun figuring out what i need to get, or reloading, then I do actually shooting.

    Unfortunately I dont think these are ATA related problems, but rather "this is the point im at in my life" problems. As much fun as I have shooting, it is still just a new hobby that I love doing. I am going to try and get my targets this year. My family in NJ, and a friend from Montana all want to meet up at the PA, and NJ state shoot this year to have fun. My understand is if we dont have our targerts (not sure if its 500 or 1000 each) we will be put in A class and a 25 yard handicap, and that is pretty discouraging to new shooters. I think lowering the target requirement for first year shooters is a great place to start for the ATA, but I am sure many vets will disagree. Its also discouraging that as a new shooter I will not get a two yard reduction, when an experienced shooter could be shooting in front of me. My understand is that a guy at the 21 can go to the 19 while I still stay at the 20 (please correct me if I'm wrong.) A good score for me in singles would be a 90, so I dont have a prayer in handicap, which I'm fine with. I just dont think the guy who has been shooting for a couple years gets moved in front of me. I'm not interest in winning trophies right now, because unless they had a Z class I wouldnt stand a chance. I would just expect to be on the same standard or less as someone who has been shooting for a little while. I expect to hear the "well if you cant break'em at 20 then you shouldn't be shooting handicap". This mentality would be a reason I shoot less registered targets, which in turn doesnt make the sport grow with new people.

    So these are my reasons for not shooting as many registered targets as a new shooter. You may agree or disagree with some of these reasons, but at least its an insight into what a new younger shooter is thinking. I havent been around long enough to make an opinion on the ATA, but I wanted to at least comment on what its like to be a first year shooter. The most important thing for me isnt at the ATA level, rather at the club level. The staff and members at my club do the best job in the world making new shooters comfortable. Also, every trap, skeet, and SC shooter I have met have been more than nice and helpful.

    At Ollie- I understand your arguement about the $10,000 gun and cant afford to shoot. My wife and I have a decent income, but we have the kids and house to pay for. We are lucky enough to get a nice bonus each year. We use that money for bigger purchases, which is helpful. However, it doesnt make the day to day, and week to week expenses any easier. Its basically the nickel and dime theory in effect. I dont mind making bigger purchases because you can plan well ahead and prepare for those. Its the extra $20 here, $50 there, 100$ here that is the hardest for me.
     
  18. MMcVitty

    MMcVitty Member

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    As with guinner16 I am newer to the sport. I shot in a local trap league and that's how I got my feet wet. I love trap shooting and would love to shoot more. What keeps me from shooting ATA? High cost/No chance at winning any type of recognition at this stage. Being newer my skill level is not good enough yet to compete in big competitions. I still have a lot of work to get there and I know it. My local league is about shooting for fun (for most of us). I will try ATA this year, but I don't know how much I will shoot.

    On another note: As a beginner at the sport a lot of the mystique of the ATA was quickly washed away as I listen to all of the bitching and complaining by poor losers. If you signed up to shoot, the rules were posted for you. Don't sign up and then rain on someone's good fortunes because they won and you didn't. Be happy for them. Don't call for rule changes because you happened to stink that day. It really makes me question whether I want to join, because God forbid I have a really lucky day and I am just on, I don't want to be accused of sandbagging.
     
  19. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Remember shooters are paying customers. Throw the best targets possible. Don't use banks that don't give everyone a level playing field. Use a good brand of targets for all registered shoots. Save the cheap targets for practice, club leagues,etc. Have spare voice calls readily available & make sure everything is working properly before starting a registered shoot.

    And most important--keep the newbies & kids without shell catchers on auto-loaders away from serious shooters---these shooters have disrupted too many squads & have taken the fun out of a good shoot.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  20. SeldomShoots

    SeldomShoots Active Member

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    Free beer served by Hooter's girls wouldn't hurt the attendance either.

    John
     
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