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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How do you put your youth squads together? I'm curious about different options people use and the rationale.

By average? That keeps shooters of equal talent shooting together.

By shooter timing/tempo? By that I mean you keep "quick" shooters together and "slow" shooters together to create some kind of rhythm to the squad.

By age?

Other criteria?
 

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Every coach is different.
I personally believe in squading shooters by as you say, tempo and rhythm.
To put slow shooters with faster ones makes no one happy.
I've even gone as far as to ask the kids to submit their recommendations for squading.
Ironically, the squad they put together was exactly what I would have done.
Seems they, (especially the younger shooters), really like shooting with their friends, no matter how far apart their abilities are.

Other coaches squad according to scores....the best shooters compete weekly for a spot on the #1 squad. Problem with that is even the best shooters can have a bad week and get bumped out off the squad. You usually won't the same group of kids shooting together. Most of the schools follow this practice.

The reason I do not is because I'd rather our kids have a more enjoyable experience in shooting sports than focusing on winning.

Several years ago one part of the SCTP mission statement was that winning was not the main focus of SCTP. It was written within the first few pages of the rules.
Teaching youth valuable life skills through shooting sports was the main reason for SCTP.

I guess I'm old school because I actually still believe that philosophy.

One final word.......there's nothing more exhilarating and exciting than watching a well matched squad run through the trap. Once those kids ease into a rhythm, all spectators can see it. It's a real thing of beauty.
 

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I squad my team based on age and ability. I try to equal it out as best I can. I may move the athletes around a little during the first few shoots until I get what I believe are good squads. Then I leave them alone, they tend to get comfortable with one another and develop a rhythm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Friends...that's one I considered as an example criteria. I wondered if any coaches considered that but I thought it wouldn't be as important as other things. Given what you said about simply enjoying the shooting certainly makes it worthy of consideration.
 

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We squad our shooters for SCTP based on their age varsity, junior varsity, collegiate so forth. We are a small team so we usually have rookies and juniors squadded together. We put the best average shooter in each squad on station one.


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We squad our shooters for SCTP based on their age varsity, junior varsity, collegiate so forth. We are a small team so we usually have rookies and juniors squadded together. We put the best average shooter in each squad on station one.


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I certainly understand the idea of putting the best shooter in station one.
I have done that too. It's the same idea as in baseball.......you lead with your best hitter; one you know can get on base.

The #1 spot is just that. That shooters job is to get that first hit and hopefully set that pace for the rest of the squad.
However, really look at your shooters. Not everyone has the right personality to handle the pressure station #1 dishes out.
One of our kids, (who actually was our best hitter), refused to start there. He just couldn't handle the pressure.
This is when we started to "ask" each shooter which position they perfered.
Some kids just need to see a bird fly several times, to get over the nerves.

I never force a kid to start in a position unless I talk to them first.
In my mind, each position is important and I explain it to them that way.
Station 5 is your clean up batter :) especially if there are several misses in a row.
Then missing becomes contiguous. At that point, someone HAS TOO put the team back in sync.

One year At state we went with a squad where our first shooter was actually the weakest shooter on the squad. Those kids shot together most of the season and I saw no reason to split them apart.
Why I left them together was because although that shooter was certainly not the better one, she has other leadership qualities which her team mates respected.
She looked out for them and rallied them when needed.
Those kids had fun, and shot well. It was a terrific final high school experience for all those graduating seniors.

P.S. That squad, some now married with children, still get out on occasion and shoot together. They have all remained friends. :)
 

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Two years we had three collegiate shooters one extra JV and one rookie we listed them separately but the shoot squadded them all together the JV shooter fell apart because she was trying to keep up with the college shooters but the Rookie had the time of his life and shot his highest score up to that time took high over all rookie.


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I loved shooting 4H and i can say that looking back the most fun i had was when i got to shoot with the the squad that was similarly skilled.... Takes the stress of shooting with the big dogs away and makes u feel comfortable

Sometime the better shooters can get pissed when u miss and it can messnwith your mindset shooting..

Different tempos didn't bother me till later in shooting when my expecttion was to hit them all..

And even then i had to learn and embrace the different tempos.. Especially in doubles
 

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LIke was said above, I have asked each youth what their favorite pad was, and then tried to start them there. Figured they'd get settled better. As to Post 1, yes I like to have a leader there, not just my best shooter. Had one guy, that shot well, but he needed to focus on himself. Put him on Post 1 where he feels responsible for calling any chips and such, he falls apart.
 

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Looks like everything I do has been covered, I know after time I know what posts which athletes like. However I do keep an eye on the scores and will try and squad them in like ability usually the younger shooters love shooting with the older kids and will usually improve their scores just trying to hang with the big kids/dogs. But I have juniors and Sub juniors that shoot AAA scores so i gave up on the age thing. and if I have a full squad of race horses I will throw a slower one in just to get them to slow down. Nothing good ever comes from racing. Everyone will find a rhythm regardless of their squad mates. just my .02
 

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I to have found that squadding students with others of like skillset and personality comes into play and they seem to excel one with another better with the likeness of skill level between each other. Dominance from one or two can lead to causing those with lesser skill to feel that they can't hang with "the big dogs" and therefore hinder their performance under pressure. I constantly reassure my students to shake off the miss and focus on the next shot.
 

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We try to keep our new entry level shooters together at the start of our season but as time goes by we like to mix them in on some of our older more experienced squads. We have found that it really doesn't effect our top shooters but our younger students gain some knowledge by shooting with the older kids. On a side note we try not to have more than a couple new inexperienced shooter together at a time for safety reasons. At the start of the season we have a coach assigned to each of the younger kids and they stand a yard or so behind each kid.
 

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For SCTP shoots, I build the most competitive squad for each classification. For ATA, NSCA, and NSSA shoots they squad themselves.
 
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