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STIRRING THE POT-- one more time

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Phil Kiner, Dec 26, 2008.

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  1. Phil Kiner

    Phil Kiner Well-Known Member

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    Below is a copy of my Jan 2007 column in Trap and Field.

    Let's try a different approach and instead of getting emotional everyone analyze the rec's a piece at a time and figure out if anything is acceptable or tweak able to be acceptable.

    For example I know that MANDATORY REDUCTIONS which is mentioned below is not acceptable so that would fall under the NFW (NFW = NO F'ing Way)category


    The handicap system – one more time

    I first ventured into this topic in December 1999 then updated in October 2001 and here it is January 2007 and for some reason I skipped ’03 and ’05.

    As I have traveled the country both shooting and teaching I have heard enough “grumbling amongst the troops” to figure there is sufficient interest (discontent) to warrant further analysis and discussion. This comment comes directly from the 1999 article and what is interesting to me is that nothing has changed except that perhaps the grumbling is worse than it was in 1999 or maybe it is not worse but more visible as a result of the internet.

    So this months article will be directly “stolen” from the two previous articles with any new thoughts I have thrown in to stir the pot. Previous articles quoted actual statistics for the currently available average books. I will not use the exact current ones because like usual I am past the deadline and don’t have time to do it and make the article work. Plus and this is what is amazing to me is that things are actually not a whole lot different. The numbers change very little.

    There is a major problem with our handicap system. There are some 27 yard shooters that are very proficient at the 27 and are under-handicapped. There are some sandbaggers that have figured out how to beat the system and are under-handicapped. If you add these two groups together you probably get to a number that is probably as high as a whopping ½ of one percent of the total shooters shooting ATA competitions.

    Over 50% percent of the ATA shooters probably never get more than a 1 yard punch in their “competitive shooting life”. What is even more telling is the fact that when you look at the annual statistics it doesn’t tell you how many shooters quit after a year or two or three that never got past the 20 yard line. If you could do some type of dynamic time series and would look the number of shooters over a 5 year period that were truly non-competitive and non-punched it would astound you. I think that it could easily exceed 80 percent.

    Now look at the above two paragraphs and tell me where logic would dictate that by focusing all of our attention on the problematic ½ of one percent is going to do anything at all to help the 80+% that cannot compete. If you kill the scores of the top tier of shooters you are still going to lose shooters every year by the droves and that 50 percent of the shooters that cannot hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle at handicap distances will continue to miss targets by the bushel basket full. We need to figure out how to help shooters get competitive.

    Continually “allowing” shooters to get “cheap” punches compounds the problem and causes the recipient of the cheap punch problems that he/she is not even aware of.

    I am not trying to insult any shooter or groups of shooters so some of my comments that may sound disrespectful are not intended that way only trying to make my points. Also anytime you try to change a system if you only “tweak” on the fringes you will only change the fringe of the system and never truly get to a solution.

    Based on my observations at shoots and clinics there are far too many shooters over handicapped than under handicapped. Standing too far back and missing targets is not the way to learn how to break good scores. To quote one of my good friends who also happens to be a great shot “you will learn much more when you practice hitting them than you ever will by practicing missing them”. He is 125% correct. When you are standing far enough back that you are constantly breaking scores in the low 80’s and below you are heading for mental problems with your 16 yard scores if you are not already there.

    There is another group that do get beyond the 21 that are also problematic. They have run into the wall so to speak. By that I mean they either went back so quick either on soft targets and automatic punches or some variation there of that they finally get to the point that they are absolutely non competitive. Instead of taking a reduction they try to get over it and never do. Especially when they go to a real shoot with real targets and get their asses handed to them. Then there is one more group that is causing part of the problem. That is the “elite group” of 27 yard shooters that have about the same chance of winning the power ball as they do of breaking a winning handicap score at a major shoot. As much as most shooters do not want to admit it there is a significant change at the 27 yard line that many shooters will never be able to handle. The above mentioned groups are a victim of their own pride and are killing themselves score-wise by refusing reductions.

    On more than one occasion I have seen someone that is a solid AA singles shooter get to the 27, refuse reductions, not handle the 27 and end up in a slump that takes them down to a B/C class at the 16 yard line. When this happens the next stop is usually out of the game.

    If I were “dictator for a day” I would :

    Make the 17 yard line the minimum. All new shooters would start at the 19 (juniors and ladies 17) and earn their way back or forward.

    Change the 1000 target review to 700 to make reductions easier to acquire.

    Do away with automatic punches for 96’s and 97’s.

    Change the earned yardage table to make it harder to get a yard especially at small shoots. Never give a punch for less than 50 or 75 shooters.

    Give a mandatory 2.5 yard reduction to every ATA shooter except the group of 27 yard shooters that are effective such as All Americans (Men’s and First Team Ladies only) and Handicap specialists ( e.g. known sandbaggers and great 27 yard shots that have not made the All American team).

    Add the 28 yard line. This one yard would be a bigger change and have a bigger impact on the problematic ½ of one percent than most realize and would be much easier to accommodate for more clubs i.e. it is doable.

    Make reductions mandatory.

    Make all non competitive shooters take a clinic (that’s a joke). We do need to figure out ways to help shooters score better.


    DUCK and never show my face in public till after one whole year of this experiment.
     
  2. Uncle Sam

    Uncle Sam Member

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    Okay...let's do it....
     
  3. Nebraskashooter

    Nebraskashooter Member

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    I would still have automatic punches but it would have to be for at LEAST a 98; even better if it was for 99 and 100 only. 1/2 yard for 99 and 1 yard for a 100.

    I would still punch on ANY shoot no matter how many shooters but only for the scores posted above. I think punching for a win is not a good idea no matter how many shooters there are. It should be by score only and the score should have to be 99-100.

    The shorter review time is a good idea. But with that said have rule that if you shoot a 98-100 in a state,zone or grand shoot then no reductions for 2 years. This will help stop the baggers!!

    The adding of yardage I don't think is a good idea.

    All reductions should ABSOLUTELY be MANDATORY!!!!!!!!
     
  4. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    I'm all for the changes. However, the powers that be will never make it happen.
     
  5. Don Steele

    Don Steele Well-Known Member

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    Phil,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. For the most part, I agree completely with your proposed changes. I would like to add a couple of my own thoughts on the topic. The best coaching I ever received came from Frank Little. One of his basic and most memorable tenants was: Pay less attention to misses, and more attention to your hits. Since most of us HIT a heck of a lot more targets than we miss, You have to understand why you're hitting targets in order to understand why you missed. On the subject of reductions...I completely agree that mandatory reductions would make more shooters competetive. For myself...I ALWAYS take a reduction when I have earned one. That said...I'm not to enthusiastic about making them mandatory...especially the "first" one. I'd be more inclined to make a second earned reduction mandatory. If you shoot that badly, for that long...you're going to become a detriment to the other shooters on your squad and need to move forward. DEFINITELY....NO punches for anything less thana 98. NO punches unless there are minimum 50 shooters. My competitive Trap career started in Kentucky,attending a LOT of "cornfield" shoots...3,4,or 5 squads(at most..). Heck, I burned'em up. Won every H-cap event with those hot low to mid-90's scores, and took the punches. Got to the State shoot...back on the 25 or so...and still shot my usual low 90's on H-caps. Thing was...I saw all those guys I had been "beating"...still standing up on the 20-21 yd. line SMILING...and breaking 98-99's,'cause it "all came together". Personally...I realized long ago that there are 2 very different games being played at any ATA shoot. Once I quit playing the money, and learned to enjoy my own game against myself, a LOT of my angst over "the system" went away.
    Best Wishes, and a Happy New Year to all...!!
     
  6. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Phil, I've read all these posts on proposed changes, and adding yardage is the best suggestion that I feel will work. It will be difficult (not impossible) to do at 2 of the smaller clubs I shoot. Mandatory reductions will PO some. I think it can be too easy to get yardage at the small shoots, so I'm in favor of the "no punch under 50 shooters rule", but even that will upset alot of people. I do not believe a 2.5 yard reduction is good. Not everyone shoots 10,000 targets a year, so it may take some people time to get experience at a new yardage. Give them a chance to learn it. If they want to move up because of their inability to shoot competitively, they have that option after 1,000 targets. It's their money. I had a friend that was stuck on the 24 yard line for years. It didn't bother him, he just liked to shoot and was happy he made it that far. There are a lot of people that feel that way. He said he was on the 24 for so long, he knew all the 24 yarder's kids, wives, and dogs. Don't piss off 5% while trying to please 1%.
     
  7. zinger

    zinger Member

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    works for me! good luck though
     
  8. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    I could get behind the idea of; start everybody on the 17, along with eliminate "penalty yardage". Beyond that, adding concrete at the back end is the obvious solution except that way too many trap ranges would have to be totally rebuilt to accomadate enuf' added yardage pads to do much good.

    John C. Saubak
     
  9. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

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    OK, I'm in. To be fair, I'll only comment on your proposals, Phil, not the ones added after.

    I agree absolutely with your observations about many shooters not being competitive in handicap. In my own case, I have by my count 30,600 registered ATA handicap targets. The ATA Shooter Information Center shows me with 31,000. In those targets I have exactly three high scores of 98, one on 7/13/1980 at Mason, MI, one on 8/3/1985 at Pocatello, ID, and the third on 6/21/2008 at Pocatello. The score at Mason was at the 1980 State Shoot, and I took second after a shootoff with about six other people. First was won that day with a lone 99. I got 1.5 yards for that, punched from the 20.5. The 1985 score may have won that day, but I don't recall that it did. If so, and if there were more than 75 shooters, I would have been punched 1 yard. It was again shot from the 20.5. The score this year did win (from the 25.5), but there were only 46 shooters in the event. I am not entirely clear from your proposal whether I would be punched ("Change the earned yardage table to make it harder to get a yard especially at small shoots. Never give a punch for less than 50 or 75 shooters."), but say for the sake of argument, I was. I would have earned one yard, but likely it would not have been from the 25.5. Over the years, in the current system, I never made it past the 24 based on punches, and was at 22.5 in late winter 2007 when I asked Neil to move me to the 25 so that I could squad with friends at the SW Grand. Most likely I would have been at the 20 when the 98 was broken, so now would be at the 21, and therein lies the problem I see. Several other recent threads have complained about the problem retaining new shooters when they see the need for nearly perfect scores to be competitive. This has mainly been directed at singles (the old "you need a score in the high 90s to win Class D at a big shoot" complaint), but it would now apply even more to handicap. In making it very hard to get punched, you may make it harder for the extremely accomplished 27-yarders like yourself to win at majors shoots, but you also make it much easier for moderately talented shooters better than myself to win over and over and over again at local shoots without ever moving back. At least in singles we do have a class system. What we would have in handicap is a system, at least at the local clubs, where almost all of the shooters are at yardage as short as the newcomers, and almost never moving back. What incentive is there for the newcomer to even try handicap then?

    One may argue that my scenario is unrealistic, and I would not have shot that latest 98 from 20 yards, or near to it. All I can say is that under the current handicap system, where it was so "easy" to gain yardage, I was still at the 22.5 in March 2007, refusing numerous reductions along the way, when I asked Neil for the increase to 25.
     
  10. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    Phil,

    Some people think you do not have a sense of humor, others are Humbled by your persistance ...

    "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  11. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Pocatello's statement is correct. To make matters worse, what if he was moved up 2.5 yards after a reduction. He could kick everyone's butt at the small shoots (under 50-75 shooters)without ever getting yardage. You have to give mandatory yardage for a high handicap score regardless of attendance.
     
  12. 687EELL

    687EELL TS Member

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    Phil,

    Being competitive is something that a shooter has to want. It is not being on any yardage where you would like them to be because of their scores. Some shooters are happy no matter where they are, and if they want to move to the 27 yard line...then, and only then, will they become competitive...As far as retaining shooters, there are too many factors at play to make any kind of a valid prediction of what to do. Just like being competitive, a shooter has to decide if trapshooting is for them for the long haul. Making it easy or whatever trying to retain shooters is never going to work...a person has to have the will to shoot before they will stay. All your theories are good, but none will work to keep shooters in the sport, but their own desire to stay................Rick Johnson
     
  13. EE

    EE Banned User Banned

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    All good ideas, Phil. I'm in. But, I'd still like to see 1 oz. loads phased in over 3-4 years. Other than the whining of a few NON-competitive 27 yarders, there's really no good reason not to.

    EE
     
  14. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    A point came to mind while I was out feeding my cattle this morning that I don't think has been brought up before in these threads (hard as THAT is to b'lieve?);

    Concerning the idea of lessening the impact on the clubs of adding concrete by only requiring then to add further yardage pads on just enuf' fields to accommadate the few who're assigned to 28, 29 or whatever? Now.....at many clubs it wouldn't be a big factor to consider but at SOME clubs (Missoula, MT comes to mind) there's a BIG difference in the desirability of shooting over the traps on one end of the field as compared to the other end........sometimes it's a matter of vastly different backgrounds, maybe sometimes it might be automatic traps vs hand-sets, or whatever? maybe just a difference in how far you have to walk from the clubhouse? At any rate does anybody really believe that the 2 or 4 or whatever number of required "super" long yardage trapfields would be put for example down at the west end of "death valley" in Missoula?

    John C. Saubak
     
  15. Delbert

    Delbert TS Member

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    Since EE has referred to BigD, I'd like his take on Phil's suggestions.
     
  16. jbbor

    jbbor Active Member

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    Phil - Don't give up. If we give up, as some have suggested, we will never see change. Jimmy Borum
     
  17. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Phil -

    I'd certainly defer to your judgement on what changes might help, but it seems like making people who aren't competitive competitive is the biggest issue. As you mentioned regarding the 20 yard shooters that can likely never win, letting them stand on the 17 or 16 or even halfway to the trap house wouldn't improve that in a majority of the cases. A friend of mine always says that he never expects to win a handicap event because he can't break a singles score that would win a handicap so why would he expect to break a handicap score that would win (from the 20 or 21 yardline).

    I'm against mandatory reductions, only because I don't believe it would address any of the "problems" that we have now. I don't know of anyone (myself included) that has turned down reductions but still complains about not being able to compete with the 27-yard shooters. Most of the complaining I hear comes from people who don't shoot enough to get a reduction, not from those who get them but choose not to take them. Your idea to offer faster reductions might address that.

    The overriding problem that I see is never going to be fixed via a rule change - and that is the recreational shooter will never be competitive (over time) with the dedicated/semi-professional shooter.

    Scott
     
  18. Texas Trap Shooter

    Texas Trap Shooter Member

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    Phil,

    I really like your proposal - how can I help?

    Ron Schroer

    Georgetown, TX
     
  19. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    The biggest complainers regarding marginal 27Yd. shooters refusing reductions comes from 23 ydrs. and below who never advanced past that yardage. Putting me at the 24.5 yd. line will not boost my average past 94%. Put me at the 21 and look out Kay!!
     
  20. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    In addition to yardage handicap maybe you could figure out a way to add a few targets to a shooters score based on their average inorder to make them competitive. HMB
     
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