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Short History Lesson (with history)

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Neil Winston, Mar 21, 2008.

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  1. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Short History Lesson (with history) - Winston

    This is the first of two threads addressed to the question that’s so hot right now on TS.com: “What happened to “shooting” as target-setting rules moved from wider, faster birds in the 1970’s to the narrower, slower target of today?” “Shooting” here means scores, classes, handicap winners & yardages, that sort of thing. It can be summarized as “In the last twenty-nine years, what’s changed on the field and at the trophy desk?” A second question, addressed at the end, will be “What can we learn from it?”

    I’ve read I don’t know how many three-hole-promotional threads and while I’ve always found the logic abysmal, I presumed that the proponents were working from history, just as another current thread promises. Where that past should have lead us today is open to interpretation and that’s why the discussion goes on and on, but we’re all starting from the same place. Aren’t we? I mean, there is only one past, right? And it’s the one we are being told about here, right?

    What always gets mixed into three-hole threads is the idea that class scores are too high, it takes NN to win lower-class XYZ and it shouldn’t (!) and so on. Following Pat’s lead on another thread, I thought I’d take a look. What I found there made me ask “What if all this Good Old Days stuff isn’t true either?”

    So, courtesy of Betty Ann Foxworthy and Maureen Beuning, return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. We’ll start right at the top, the Grand American.

    Singles:

    As a result of today's power-puff, feel-good targets, have the scores needed to win moved over the last three decades from “just about right” to “so high it’s killing trapshooting?” Let’s take a look, not through the prism of memory and preference, but rather through the pages of Trap & Field.

    [​IMG]

    Hmm. All these changes and not much has changed? That’s not what I’ve been told. Maybe the Grand isn’t the place to look; let’s step down a level to the Singles Championship at the Minnesota State Shoot.

    [​IMG]

    I don’t see any trend. All I see is shoots with scores-required-to-win so similar they could be consecutive years, not twenty-nine and forty-seven years apart!

    Doubles:

    [​IMG]

    Well, if anything, those are opposite to what I’ve been lead to expect. What was going on in 1978? Big, wide, 50-yard doubles – and the winning scores in classes were better?

    Minnesota?

    [​IMG]

    Here it’s a little the other way. To move things on, I’ll accept, combining the Grand and our State Shoot, that not much has changed in terms of the score needed to win any class. That’s amazing, not only in terms of what people want me to believe, but just mechanically. Over-bores, voice-pulls, PAT-traps, narrow and short targets, a clinic-a-month, and it hasn’t bought the winners a bird?

    Handicap

    Handicap finally? It’s about time – that’s what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it? What do we need to control those pros and put things right again? Concrete? Three-hole? Bigger springs? Lighter loads? Something as-yet unrealized? All of them? Whatever it is, we’ve got to get back to the 70’s and see if we can start over. We do that; we’re in clover.

    [​IMG]

    Well finally! Now I see what used to happen, why everyone wants to go back in time. I’ll not only call these data unequivocal, I’ll even save some potential posters, seeing their proof before their eyes, the trouble of typing.

    “In the 3-hole, 50-yard halcyon days of the 70’s, a mid-yardage shooter had a chance to shoot a winning score in the Grand American Handicap, a chance he hardly has now at all. All he wants is for the mid-90’s score he can occasionally break to get him something, not just be buried in the stratospheric tallies of the pros.”

    I’ll even personify today’s victim: a journeyman shooter, on his way up who needs a victory to keep his hopes up, his dedication on-track, or on the way down who’ll quit if he can’t score some hardware pretty quick. I know these shooters; you do too. Lots of them.

    So let’s look a bit harder to get an even clearer picture of them.

    [​IMG]

    Now wait a minute; what’s this? They aren’t shooting the scores we imagined from my personification at all; they are all breaking real high 90’s! On harder targets with all the impediments in equipment and targets I mentioned above! These are the shooters Jerry found in the average book. Maybe, as I speculated in his “data” thread, it all boils down to the way punches worked then. Or that people shot a lot less, as Buzz-gun has apparently guessed. One thing’s sure. Harder targets aren’t going to bring these “people we want to have a chance” up to shooting scores like this. Concrete? Three-hole? Bigger springs? Lighter loads? I can’t see how any of that would help at all. King-sized reductions and no automatic punches might help, but I still can’t see it working that well, not to produce results like this.

    I hope you were as surprised by all this as I was. I don’t see those by-gone days as much better or even much different, not nearly as different as I would have guessed.

    As I promised: “What can we learn from it?” My answer is

    "If you want a little real history go to Trap & Field; that’s where it is, not here."

    Neil
     
  2. miketmx

    miketmx Well-Known Member

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    One history question: In what year did IR Industry Rep get dropped ??
     
  3. otnot

    otnot Active Member

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    So what your charts are really saying is that the shooters of old, were better shots than we are today. I see the same thing that is happening in our sport happening in all outdoor sports. Dwindling numbers of participants. The majority of our population is now raised in cities and are not as outdoor oriented as before. They need guides to go fishing,hunting because they were not raised in a rural enviroment. And most people just don't have the time to smell the roses.

    I have been waiting for days to see your charts and to be quite honest I am surprised at the results. Now what do we have to complain about? LOL So Neil how do we attract more shooters and retain them?

    Jim
     
  4. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Probably around 2000, MIke.

    Neil
     
  5. jakearoo

    jakearoo Active Member

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    Neil, But your conclusion is suspect. Yes it is true that the scores were all in the high 90s. But in modern times, lots of 27 yard shooters could shoot those high 90s scores in the GAH. Apparently, with the harder targets, the 27 yard boys had a harder time shooting those scores. Seems to me, your data proves that the short yardage shooters were much better off in getting into the top 10 with harder targets.

    The scores were the same, but the group shooting them was different. That may be good or not. But, that is what the limited look at two distinct years shows.

    Jake
     
  6. jbbor

    jbbor Active Member

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    Neil - I, for one, appreciate your endeavors in this as well as other discussions. I, for one again, was never talking about just the Grand where, with the numbers of entrants will normally produce some fantastic scores by a few. Always has and always will. My experience I draw on is from the many, although not insignificant, shoots across the Western States I used to attend. I used to work large construction jobs, sometimes three or four different ones a year, and in doing so lived and shot in many states. The scores, all classes, just were not what they are today and the top shooters did not dominate all the non-local shoots as they do today. I think I'll try to get off this merry-go-round. Jimmy Borum
     
  7. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    I would love to see history of before and after shot protector wads. I believe the AA appeared on the scene in the mid 60's. So also did hard shot.

    What Neil has showed bears out the fact that at a larger shoot, there will be someone who gets in the zone and pounds out a monster even though he can't do it consistently.

    Nice history, Neil.

    HM
     
  8. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    I see it. The shorter yardage shooters won in 1978, but in 2007 the longer yardage shooters won.

    In the days of 3 hole targets, the shorter yardage shooters won more.

    In the days of 2 hole targets, the longer yardage shooters won more.

    As you move back in yardage the 3 hole targets get harder to shoot than the 2 hole targets. Makes sense. Wider targets are harder to hit the further back you go.

    Presumably, if we shot 4 hole targets the guys at 16 yards would be cleaning up.

    What if we all just shot straight aways? (Just kidding)

    Should we shoot 2 and a half hole targets?
     
  9. IMR 7625

    IMR 7625 Member

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    NEIL

    THANKS FOR THE POST

    JACK
     
  10. N. J. BOB

    N. J. BOB Active Member

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    That is with out a doubt true, harder targets would improve my scores.Yea yea. As usual Neil hits it on the head.
     
  11. tim mitin

    tim mitin TS Member

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    I can see that Neil does not believe in bringing a knife to a gun fight. Interesting historical data. We need more of it on this site. Tim M
     
  12. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you got the whole thing, Joe.

    In the days of 3 hole targets, the shorter yardage shooters won more. But they were winning, at least at the Grand, with 99's and 98's. Here's the important thing. If short yardage shooters were shooting the same scores today, _they would still be winning at the Grand_. But they don't shoot those scores anymore. Even on easier targets.

    Say we went to the 30 yard line. Scores from the back fence would - or might - drop. But would the winning short-yardage shooters' scores go up to where they were in the 70's? Why?

    In the 60's and 70's there were shooters just as dominant as today - think of Joe Heisted, Dan Orlich, Dan Bonillas. They and their few equals are the ones now in the Trapshooting Hall of Fame and they won virtually every shoot they attended. It may be that today there are just more of them and it's no more complicated than that. Are today's top stars just winning because of easier targets? With all the other improvements that have made it possible to shoot good scores from the 27 why are we concentrating on target setting? There's more recent data on that I'll post when I get a chance, but a preliminary examination tells me that the 2- vs 3-hole difference is a minor player in any of this.

    The class scores are even more revealing. First, at least a big shoots what we've been told isn't true. The difficulty of the targets doesn't affect the winning score. The "average shooter" is no worse off now at such shoots than he was 30 years ago. Easier targets _did_ not make it "harder to win."

    Neil
     
  13. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    First, since I have been saying the singles scores in the lower classes is THE problem with failing to retain the new members, I want to point out that I don't consider that a new situation caused by "easier targets". There may not be a soluation to this at the ATA level, since I think it is more of a classifier problem at the local level. Scores have always been high at the grand and large shoots because of the number of shooters; and I think it is safe to say those shoots are also the objective for target managers. But it is still a big problem.

    I think that Neils' info to date on handicap points out that in the "old days" it looks like there was a situation for many more people to complain about the dreaded "sandbagger". It is interesting how short yardage shooters could shoot so well but not earn much yardage. I don't know what changes had an effect on this, but now, at least in this small microcosim of TS, we hear much more about the "pros" than the "sandbagger".

    And that will probably simply be reversed if the "pros" situation is addressed. A no win situation.
     
  14. Hauser

    Hauser Member

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    Neil


    Based on your focused analysis I assume the conclusion is that nothing happen the other 50 weeks of the year that contributed in any way to the current state of the handicap system.


    Good for you. Great analysis.


    The bottom line is you will stay away from anything that says the change to a 3-hole target may have had some unintended consequences.


    Jerry Hauser
     
  15. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    I get it Neil. This explains your point pretty clearly - "If short yardage shooters were shooting the same scores today, _they would still be winning at the Grand_. But they don't shoot those scores anymore. Even on easier targets."

    You're addressing the shorter yardage shooter's complaints.

    In my own shooting I sometimes see that my mind only does as much work as necessary. I shoot wobble and up my focus skills, but then settle back into 16s with the same scores when wobble league is over. Lazy mind syndrome.

    I wonder if you look at the population as a unit - it's just shooters - and as they move back they hit some thresh hold where a given hole target gets harder to break consistently. Going from 3 to 2 hole targets allowed that threshold to slide back towards the fence. Widen the target angle and the thresh hold would move up again. But maybe not.

    Maybe this is like baseball where human performance has peaked and you just will never see a 400 batting average again. There was an article on this somewhere. Maybe trap shooting has gone thru the same evolution.

    Interesting.

    Thanks.
     
  16. jakearoo

    jakearoo Active Member

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    Neil, I guess anyone can draw whatever conclusions they think are warranted. I very respectfully disagree with your conclusions. To me it seems obvious that with harder targets it was harder for the average person to shoot a score good enough to get them yards. When targets got easier, many more shooters shot enough good scores to get to the 27.

    I think that your data, limited as it is to two events in two years, shows that the typical "good" trapshooter could seldom pull off a 96 or better to get them yards when targets were harder. They stayed at shorter handicap distances and then would get "hot" at the occasional big shoot. And, where were the pros when those short yardage shooters were winning the major shoots.

    When targets got easier, it was one step back after another until the average "good" shooters were shooting toe to toe with the pros. The goal of many shooters is just to get there.

    I have been shooting trap a LONG time (since 1965 I think). (Admittedly not much ATA anymore.) I remember when "good" shooters would be stuck for very long times on the 24 or 5 yard lines. And, they all started at the default 22. Usually, when someone got a yard, they won or at least placed in the event. Heck, now days a 98 (or even a 99) in a big handicap event would be lucky to get into a shootoff. Lots of folks get to the 27 without a sniff at a significant win.

    But, I have stated my prejudices. I personally just like to shoot hard targets.

    I don't know if it would stimulate the game to go back. And, I agree with Steve's posts from Vegas. Who will enforce the rule? Shooters have become so "average" driven that they won't even shoot in a wind. Do you think they will shoot at clubs that throw more difficult targets? Doubtful. And clubs do like to attract shooters. (Isn't that how the softer targets became the norm?)

    And, I continue to be impressed with you as the the President. Very impressed.

    Regards, Jake
     
  17. Neil Winston

    Neil Winston Well-Known Member

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    Hauser: "Based on your focused analysis I assume the conclusion is that nothing happen the other 50 weeks of the year that contributed in any way to the current state of the handicap system."

    Winston: That is a completely unwarranted conclusion. I've made, as yet, no statements about what was happening those other 50 weeks. What I've shown, and limited my comments to, what happened in the other two.

    And yet in the end I'll bet you are going to be right. What was happening in those other 50 weeks (in those days) kept shooters with good averages and so good chances of being in the top-ten in the GAH from getting punched beyond short to mid-yardage. That can't be done today. (Ideally)

    Hauser: (edited to what I think was your intent) "The bottom line is you will stay away from anything that says the change to a 2-hole target may have had some unintended consequences."

    Winston: Again, an unwarranted conclusion. The bottom line is that at the big shoots I looked at the change to two-hole targets _did not_ have "unintended consequences." In singles and doubles it had _no_ consequences, intended or not. In handicap so much else has changed that to say today's situation is a "consequence" of the 2-hole is another example of that post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy I mentioned to you on that "data" thread. (Link above)

    Neil
     
  18. KEYBEAR

    KEYBEAR Active Member

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    Most targets are shot at small clubs and not the Grand or state shoot . It all startes at the small clubs the 10 or 12 squad clubs . To show the scores from the state or Grand does not tell the story . Yes I would think all classes would be won with higher scores (at bigger shoots) .
     
  19. rjdden

    rjdden TS Member

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    Neil!! Thanks for all the info. Makes sence to me!! Great Job!!


    Rich.(inPeoria,A.Z.)
     
  20. BRGII

    BRGII TS Member

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    Thanks Neil, very interesting information. I think the change in components has more to do with the longer yardage shooters wining more often. It also shows that addition of more yardage maybe warranted. BRGII
     
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