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Thoughts on increasing ATA shooters

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by smsnyder, Feb 28, 2008.

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  1. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    I have been shooting since 1992. I have seen a steady and growing decline in ATA shooters. Some of it is normal and some due to high cost of shooting. Higher gas, prices, Higher health insurance, Higher lead prices all effect our sport. But i do see other things i think can increase shooters. I think we need to create more classes in the 16 yard groups. Expert class, Super Senior class, E class or even F class. There are far to many high scores in the lower classes. Yardage groups need changed. Every shoot i go to its 19 to 21 yardage,22/23, 24/25, 26/27 . Let's turn the tables, 19/20 yards, 21/22 yards 23/24 yards. 25-26-27 yardage groups. You say that's not fair? Neither is the 19 to 21 yardage group . The short yarder has three times the competition factor. Why not move the competition factor back to the 25-26-27 yarders were it belongs. I believe that short yarders and B,C,D Shooters are the majority who spend the money that's why something needs changed. My thoughts
     
  2. nogunracks

    nogunracks TS Member

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    I go along with you on more classes and different yardage groups the only problem is how do you keep the cheaters out of the lower classes if all classes pay the same. from what i have seen the lower classes are mostly newer shooters so why not give them a nice trophy instead of a money prize. the question i have is adding these classes isnt that going to add to the cost of shooting the money for these prizes has to come from some where just my two cents Earl F.
     
  3. pendennis

    pendennis Well-Known Member

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    Earl, I like the idea of eliminating money at the shorter yardages. Pay only at 25-27 yards. Everyone else gets trophy, buckle, etc.

    I also like your ideas, too, SMSNYDER. Great points.

    Best,
    Dennis
     
  4. over the hill

    over the hill Active Member

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    From what I see at shoots the majority are older duffers like me. Many I have seen for thirty years. Are we getting enough young people to take our place?

    True, the sport is expensive but team sports (my daughter plays softball) is as well.

    My son will be shooting junior class this summer and Im trying to interest some of his friends. So far only one chick shows any interest.

    Regards Gerald
     
  5. angryman7

    angryman7 TS Member

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    i say the cheese slipped off his cracker a long time ago.
     
  6. Colonel Reb

    Colonel Reb TS Member

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    Every time this topic comes up most people are in favor of E and F classes, but it never happens. I've been in the ATA for three years, and I can now actually shoot D class, but the first two years my scores were what E and F classes would be (way less than 80%). I stuck with it, though, and hopefully I'll get out of D class someday, but extra classes would help people by giving them realistic goals to shoot for.
     
  7. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    Let's not work at getting better, more competitive. Let's bring the field back to where you are. Let's give attendance awards. Let's diminish the skill level of those above you.

    You want this all in the name of increasing attendance but the reverse might happen.

    Who would want to compete in some watered down game with watered down rules. Some or many of your better shooters would leave for a tougher venue and a better chance for a payday.

    Same crap different day.

    Don
     
  8. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Zardozforty pointed out that any club can do what Earl has suggested now. I would agree that the first few trophies a new shooter wins are very important. It can be expensive for the club to offer more trophies. A typical shoot with 50 entries will now give around 11 trophies (Champ, AA,A,B,C,D, S-Jr, Jr, Lady, Vet, S-Vet). That means about 20% of the entries would win something. This requires a club to purchase nearly 30 trophies for a shoot. Increasing this number gets expensive and time consuming. Also, with the current system, figuring out who won what can get very complicated. Next, comes a job I dislike. That is getting the trophies to the winners who have already left.

    Even with these difficulties, I would like to see a few clubs try the suggestion and see if it works.

    Pat Ireland
     
  9. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    Getting more shooters to the ATA. I shot trap for a 1.5yrs before I new what the ATA was. A lot of people do not even know it is out there. Prizes? that's tough what attracts some might make someone else not shoot? For me the non shooting related trinkets,barsets,cheese cutting boards , and the rest of the Lillian Vernon catalog prizes........O well I shoot for the fun and competition. I only hope I shoot as well as last year. I won a few times. so far cash and lobster have been my favorite prizes.
     
  10. trapwife

    trapwife Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    As a marketing major I was told that you won't ever sell any item until you get the customer into your store....the ATA needs to get the shooters "into the store"...then the next challenge is to keep them coming back. A life membership program (life memberships were given away as trophies) was discontinued due to "politics"...clubs should consider giving memberships as trophies. This will get them "in the store". Now all we have to do is figure out how to keep them shooting. Every organization/sport goes through generations of highs and lows. Trapshooting was strong in the 1960's-70's. Today, we have implemented youth programs that has introduced shooting to a large and growing number of kids. It will take time to see the fruits of this effort.
     
  11. bobdog

    bobdog Active Member

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    I agree with Don. If you want a trophy, do the work and learn to shoot or it doesn't mean anything. The sad truth is that you may go through your entire shooting career and never win anything. But when lightning strikes and you finally do win one, you've got something to take home that you don't get at the trophy desk.

    Either that or eliminate scoring altogether and just give out "Thanks for Coming" awards to everyone who shows up at the cashier's window.

    That should attract new shooters in droves.
     
  12. dbls_champ

    dbls_champ TS Member

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    I think that as long as the middle class keeps getting squeezed the attendence will go down. People don't want to admit but these are bad times for a lot of people. Higher prices for fuel, food, and all the other necessities coupled with the fact that most people's wages have been stagnant for years is bad for all the shooting sports.
     
  13. bobdog

    bobdog Active Member

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    You may be right about that. I'm shooting fewer registered targets this year, and I think a lot of shooters feel the same way.

    That said, however, for those that do show up, competition has to mean something or nobody will have a reason to keep going. Reducing event competition to the equivalent of Girl Pushups isn't going to keep the sport alive.
     
  14. Hap MecTweaks

    Hap MecTweaks Well-Known Member

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    The retention rate of keeping people involved in ATA competition is dismal at best? That's an accepted fact. Offering more trophy's isn't the total answer and one that clubs surely can't afford! Even if they could, I don't feel such a drastic measure would retain any more shooters. So, what's the problem, if there is such a problem? All the reasons listed above are true, everyones correct. Shoot more,get better yada yada yada ad nauseate! But, even that's a true statement.

    How new shooters perceive our sport is very important! More so today than in the past because of all the reasons already mentioned and then some. It won't take long for new shooters to realize our game is one of almost shooting perfection! There's absolutely nothing clubs can do to change that perception either in my opinion. New to ATA shooters are lumped into the mix in the same fashion as a class D member that's shot for years! My bet is the experienced class D shooter will beating the pants off a new shooter 95% of the time! Maybe even higher!

    Below is my thoughts and ideas how this may be a possibility for the sake of discussion?

    Most new shooters to the organization, BTW, leave after 1 to 3 years, should probably be probationary shooters for some agreed upon specified time frame. ATA could set aside a trophy fund out of these probationary "potential" new members fees for all the trophy's awarded to those new shooters. In that scenario, they don't have to compete with our current class shooters. Once a new shooter "proves" he can compete with our current class of ATA members on a class score basis, he then moves into the current class ATA system. Arguing about shooting more don't cut it, neither does stating it costs too much, it is what it is. People are going to spend entertainment dollars! The trick is, how do we get more to stay in the organization longer? Until we address that, nothing changes and as Mrs. Harrison said, to get them into our store for keeps! Just my humble thoughts. Hap
     
  15. Mr Newbius©

    Mr Newbius© TS Member

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    Something to consider when wanting to increase ATA membership is the amount of, location of and the target prices of clubs holding registered ATA events.

    If your in an area that has a prolific amount of clubs holding registered events than it can be adventagous to join the ATA if you really wish to compete. Now if your in an area that say has 3 clubs all within an hour and each club holds 3 or 4 registered events a year a shooter must ask themselves is it worth joining, traveling to each event and paying to shoot in each event against the cost of it all. Most shooters are not shooting for prizes but for the pride of shooting a good score that can be shot at the local club each weekend.

    To increase ATA shooters and membership it must start at the local club level not at the ATA level and now you must consider that it is the clubs that need to do something to both increase the amount of shooters and that is where it all begins.

    I will shoot a couple of registered events this year because they are relatively close and I like the clubs and wish to support the clubs more than supporting the ATA. I am not planning on traveling any farther due to costs and such to shoot any registered targets but even if costs were low I still would most likely not travel much more than an hour or so to shoot.

    It aint the ATA that needs to do something but it is the local clubs. If they want to change the program to whatever they desire to do what they think is fair to the shooters then that is what they are currently allowed to do.

    Personally I would like to see events that have no money at all, nothing, nada, zip for cash prizes but instead have the ATA do a massive buy on a single cheap trophy item of some sort and the higher up in class and yardages you make it the better to trophy is but all trophies at all ATA events would be the same. I would also like to see any and all Lewis class options eliminated. Take all money out of all registered events and you will see allot of shooters that are now shooting to improve there scores instead of shooting in the target management mode to try and win money.
     
  16. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Fixing classes, handicap system and trophy issues are putting the cart before the horse - TrapWife is on point here.

    The ATA has forgotten its mission...

    "THE PURPOSE OF THE ATA IS TO PROMOTE AND GOVERN THE SPORT OF AMATEUR TRAPSHOOTING THROUGHOUT THE WORLD"

    From my perspective, the ATA has forgot what its business is. The ATA is in the membership selling business, registering target business, registered shooting advertising business and making rules so everyone plays fair business.

    With all due respect, there is no promotion of ATA at the club level except within clubs who are already ATA affiliated clubs (fraction of clubs out there). My club has never received any promotion, an invite, a solicitation to offer registered shooting in 15 years.

    Our Club celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, we're located in the downtown of an upscale metropolitan city of 150,000 who can afford registered shooting and we're not hiding, easy to find - so where is the promotion - lost in the mail?! Phone doesn't work?!

    The ATA preaches to its choir. How many times can you go to the same well?! Ask any salesman how many times can you sell the same customer and you expect sales growth?!

    SCTP is not the saving grace either. Some clubs who have heard of SCTP, have no interest in either offering or supporting SCTP.

    So how do we get folks to the show (Shooting Registered) who may have both the interest and resources to continue. Don't reinvent the wheel, use systems that work.

    Take golf for instance. At ANY golf course, Pay a small annual fee, receive an account number and card, input your rounds into a computer system which records and updates your handicap. The average golfer isn't going on the PGA tour and the typical golf outings he's invited to are events staged by vendors, customers etc... and those are usually a "best ball" format - longest drive, closest to the pin etc... so why does the average hack keep score? - to challenge him/herself, to improve.

    The ATA has a paper system - it works, we continue to use it, but every club should be empowered to offer it. The average shooter will never be a Harlan Campbell or a Leo Harrison, but they do want to improve their skills and they want an easy method to keep track it in a non-intimidating atmosphere.

    The ATA needs to empower every club (that means contact every club in the USA, CANADA, etc... (the world remember?!) to offer targets-only registration - to encourage shooters into keeping track of their averages in singles and doubles and to find their yardage in handicap.

    Now, only a segment of clubs and shooters will want offer/shoot registered targets (time, money and effort are required) and that's OK - but the ATA has to make an effort to at least ask and offer assistance to clubs/shooters to develop programming - it may cost the ATA some money to do this, but there's NO FREE LUNCH! (ATA, has to follow its mission)

    LET CLUBS FIGHT FOR SHOOTERS FOR TARGET-ONLY SHOOTS. These self-imposed boundaries by ATA/STAs stymie competition. If a small club wants to offer their members registered shooting every weekend let them - who cares if XYZ Club is having their Satelite Grand, County Grand, etc... most new shooters are too intimidated and will not be inclined to shoot those anyway. Self-imposed boundaries are nothing more than an oligopoly divving up the spoils - may as well be a monopoly.

    "Got to get shooters to the show", "got to get shooters to the show" then worry about fixing the classes and handicap sytem - "got to get shooters to the show"!

    Jay Spitz
     
  17. JBrooks

    JBrooks TS Member

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    The reasons most new shooters leave ATA is that the earned yardage system in handicap is a joke of mismash nonsense, and the classes in singles are too close together requiring 100s to win B(sometimes C) through AAA in larger shoots. Reform the handicap system to earn yardage based on achieved averages at each yardage and make singles classes something more like AA 96+; A 93+; B 90+; C 86+ and D <86.
     
  18. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Well-Known Member

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    Jay, Great post!! Some of your thoughts are along the line of what Bobby Ward was proposing, even more liberally applied. Being too familiar with golf, your suggestion has merit. Shoot well and often, Bob
     
  19. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    Jay spitz, yes you are right.
     
  20. rcmax29

    rcmax29 TS Member

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    Jay and JBrooks - great posts.

    As Jay says, the ATA does very little to help the local club with that all-important, cricical "first contact" at the "point of sale." The ATA's promotions are all internal, preaching to the choir as Jay points out.

    IF YOU ARE A LOCAL CLUB I DEFY YOU TO GET SOME REAL, HANDS-ON HELP FROM THE ATA FOR ATTRACTING AND KEEPING THAT FIRST TIME SHOOTER. The ATA staff is great, but conceptually they have missed the ball when it comes to getting and keeping that first time shooter.

    So the sport remains the best kept secret in shooting. Off topic a bit, but if I have to decribe our sport as "you know, it's kinda like skeet" as the only way to describe our sport to a stranger or newcomer, I'm gonna scream.

    The ATA MUST get back to the basics on its marketing and make the first-contact at the club level it most important mission.
     
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