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"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."

Truer words were never spoken Phil! There are other things we should concentrate on also.

Nothing we can do will make most shooters shoot competitive scores as Scott mentions above. Compare the average ATA shooters 16 yard averages to the top 200 or so handicap averages? If most average shooters were allowed to shoot the handicaps from the 16 yard line, their ability to prevail would be minimal even from there.

Change should be concentrated on retaining more new members and growing the sport is my thoughts. What we need to change is the new shooters perception of our game being one needing to shoot near perfect scores to be somewhat competitive or at least have some hope? We scare away potential members with that perfection attitude and sky high averages. They leave in droves compared to the one's that stay with the game.

The secret to meaningful change lies in selecting delegates more interested in growing the sport rather than an easier target format and high averages. I applaud Phil for informing those who read Trap&Field and those here on this thread with his great ideas for bettering the sport! Too bad we don't have many delegates as like minded as he too. Thank you Phil!!

Hap
 

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Phil,

I just read an article written by Kent Harris of Idaho. His observations are
very similar to yours. I fully support most of your recommendations. The one exception I have concerns about is the addition of the 28 yard line. It would just not be possible at many of the clubs where I shot. A phased implementation program of the remaining recommendations might be something to consider. Start with making yardage reductions mandatory using your criteria. There is a system in place already to make this happen. Next would be no yardage advancements upon request and so on. A need exists for change, and many see that need. Unfortunately there are a few with a great deal political clout that continually stop progress. Good luck in trying to make change. You have my support.

Bill Myers
 

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Bigdon had this to say on Phil's last thread concerning rule changes:

"These are the current rules. Accept them and step to the line. OR stay at home and be a wannabe the rest of your life. This is a competition with rules like any other game, you accept the rules and you play. Do any of you try to change the rules of other games you play or do you just whine here."

Somehow I don't think Phil is a "wannabe" and whiner for trying to change ATA rules. Hap hit the nail on the head in his last paragraph.
 

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Phil,

I know this is self-serving to you and I am not trying to patronize you, but I think the one item that you joked about, maybe the most constructive comment that you made....The one about mandatory lessons. The cheapest way to "learn" how to shoot well is to be "taught" well. This takes into account shooting etiquette, proper stance, properly adjusted equipment, etc. and then, how to hit the target. We all know you can get a bunch of shells and start grinding away and eventually you will start to break targets. The best time I have ever spent "learning how to shoot" was on the practice field with you at the Southern Grand with only four (4) boxes of shells last year. I had always wanted to take a "lesson" from one of the "Big Guns", but for whatever reason (and it wasn't money) it just never happened until you got fed up with my whining and agreed to "watch" me shoot. You spent a total of about an hour with me at the practice trap. Since then my averages have gone up by ten (10) birds (total for all 3 events) and I truly learned the value of being "taught" how to shoot better. So whether it is "mandatory" shooting lessons by ATA Rule or by the person's desire to shoot well, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than "blind faith" and just start banging away. To anyone who is a NEW shooter or and OLD shooter wanting a NEW attitude about being competitive, paying your money and taking the time to "learn" how to shoot is the best money that you can spend. The better that you shoot, the better your chances are that you will be competitive in this sport, no matter what the Rules are and what the maximum yardage is and who is on it. Thank you for your time last year. I am also the guy that said you should charge for lessons on the "Honor" system at $100 per bird average increase. I owe you 10 birds x $100 = $1000. The check is in the mail and I will still love in the morning. I hope to see you again at the Southern Grand this year. DEZ
 

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Why is everyone worried about other peoples yardage? One pure fact is that no matter how you try to "FIX" the Handicap System the better shooters are going to win the majority of the time ie.. 27 YARDERS or 28,29,30,31 YARDERS.Good shooters will figure out the new yardages and dominate once again.

My 2 cents

Ted Alsteen
 

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I was thinkin and damned if I didn't forget about what ..!

Someone else suggested this many times over and its never been given any consideration, while it might be a good solution to the problems, that is if there is a problem or a need for change ...

The 27 yardline has caused so much concern, discussion, and debate I think they should put everyone on the 27 and just classify them differently like they do in singles ... This would eliminate the big money at the shoots where the biggest payoffs are and only the top guns would be shooting for each others money as will the other class's right on down the line ... The clubs could eliminate a lot of concrete and have a 16 yard pad, a 17 yard pad for doubles, wobble and International, and the 27 yard pad for handicap ... If someone wants to shoot 7/8th or 1 oz. shells that will be their choice just like it is now, those that want to shoot 1 1/8th can just do like they do now ... The rate of speed can be adjusted accordingly once the appropriate speed has been discovered or agreed upon and accepted as a rule ... Think of all the smiling faces and how much less clean up there will be with the shells in only two places on the fields ... Why has this not been considered and given some serious thought ..? It eliminates all of the problems and crap to bitch about, now that might be a problem ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
 

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Looks to me like the problem is with 27 yarders that cannot be handicaped any further who are shooting perfect scores. How about using the penalty point system? Using whatever criteria decided on when a yard is called for that can't be accomodated by the range, you simply add a penalty point, next time the highest possible score would be 99, win again and your highest score possible would be 98 and so on. It's a simple system that levels the field without hurting everyone.
 

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Dednlost,

Sounds like a very liberal idea!! Take away from those that strive to do, and achieve, the best they can.
 

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Gundr I agree, if it was up to me there wouldn't be any classes everyone shooting their best and coming out wherever they do. That said any handicap or classification system is a liberal welfare system, the purpose is to make everyone the same on equal terms. No system is any different in this respect. I know this won't be a popular statement but its the cold hard truth.
 

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If we eliminated punches for any shoot with less than 50 shooters, we would be eliminating 90% of the shoots. Making smaller shoots less significant is not the way to increase and retain new shooters. These are the shoots that they attend.

For many shooters, winning a handicap event with 30 shooters is not a cheap punch. It is a significant accomplishment for many.

Mandatory reductions has been discussed for years. I hold to the position that an individual should decide what makes him happy shooting handicap and others should not decide what is best for the individual.

Phil accurately described "the major problem" with the handicap system. It involves the very top shooters and some sand baggers. The difficulty with approaching this problem is that we could solve it easily for the 1% of the problem shooters but at the same time seriously alienate 35% of the shooters. A very simple solution to the problem described by Phil would be to eliminate all money options. But this solution to one problem would cause many other additional problems. Solving one problem and creating three problems is not a way to advance unless you are a Federal Government worker.

Pat Ireland
 

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Don't take points away from the good shooters. That's not nice. Add points to everybodies score based on averages. With a maximum score of 100. More shoot offs equals more fun. HMB
 

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I agree with Pat on punches. At one of the largest clubs in my state last week, we had two short squads of Caps. The days of every shoot being a large one are over.

Small shoots should not be penalized. If one wins caps, they should receive a punch.
 

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Sportshot, do you ever read what you write? You are right on Phil. I hope you can continue to fight the good fight. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See at the Silver Dollar. Jim Mendoza
 

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Phil


I agree the earned yardage table needs to be revised and should have been revised two years after they made the change to an easier target in 1995/96.


I do however dis-agree about mandatory reductions. You can't force shooters to be competitive. Like it or not this is not the PGA and shooters who elect to stay on the 27 when they are not competitive aren't really doing anything harmful.


I consider myself a competitive shooter and have been so for 40+ years so as long as I'm ready to take the line when my squad is, and shoot when it's my turn, I'll continue to compete.


The day the ATA tells me that I can't shoot a handicap event with my squad after logging 135000+ handicap targets, because I have to move to the 25 or closer, is the day I'll leave the sport.


Jerry Hauser
 

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Only 150 sandbaggers and under-handicapped 27yd. shooters in the entire ATA membership? Hell, you can find that many 'baggers alone in one state-I will not mention the name!!
 

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Having gone from a new shooter to an AA/27 in my first two years, the trudge from the 20 yard line to the 27 is still fresh in my memory. I will have to say that "earning" the yardage between the 20 and the 25 was a monumental waste of time and money. Had I known then what I know now I would have just sent in the letter for the automatic move of the 25.

First, the current earned in yardage system is a hodgepodge bunch of crap cobbled together to supposedly measure a shooters proficiency but primarily to control the dreaded sandbagging.

Earning yardage by winning a shoot is ludicrous because there are so many variables involved in actually having the highest handicap score in any given event. So to make up for this stupidity, the amount of yardage that is earned is adjusted by the number of shooters in the event and if there are enough shooters in the event you can actually earn yardage for finishing second. Pure nonsense. This is because the winning shooter has really not demonstrated any measurable proficiency to compete at either his old yardage and certainly not at the new yardage.

Actually, posting a 96 or better is a more accurate representation of a shooters ability to post a good score at a particular yardage. However, once again stupidity takes over and the amount of yardage earned is adjusted by the number of shooters in the competition. Pure nonsense. What difference can it possibly make whether a person shoots a 96 with 10 people in the shoot or 500? It is still a 96.

The only way to demonstrate that a person can consistently compete at a given yardage is if that person can achieve a competitive average at that yardage. Consequently, a rational system would require a person to achieve a target average at a yardage that would then qualify them to move back a yard and then demonstrate that they can maintain a competitive average at the new yardage. While it would take some actual data analysis, my guess is that the target average would have to be around 91-92%. Take the average of the best eight out of the last 10 rounds.

This system would have additional benefits. By being able to throw out a couple of bad rounds it would encourage people to shoot in less than ideal conditions. More importantly, it would make every target count for a person trying to earn yardage. Now, at most shoots, once a shooter misses five targets he is just practicing. However, if you is trying to achieve an average over 91%, every target would count because each target would be calculated into the average.

Another benefit, particularly for new shooters, is that they would know exactly what they have to do to earn yardage and it would eliminate the mumbo-jumbo of earned a yardage based upon the number other shooters, or even more ridiculous, earning yardage based upon winning money.

I think having to confront the pile of crap that is the current earned yardage system is a major reason why new shooters get discouraged.

Second, we do not need to reduce loads, increased angles or new concrete to control the handful of shooters who have become proficient at the 27 yard line. We just need to put them in a master class because they have mastered the 27 yard line. This class can be established by determining a baseline average that once a shooter achieves that at the 27 yard line may move into the master class.

Third, everyone should start at the 22 and either work forward or work backward. Letting people start at shorter yardage only under handicaps really good shooters. These shooters are often kids that only compete in ATA for a couple years before they reach 18 and move on to school, jobs or the military. However, they collectively take a lot of wins off the table in their short careers.

Consequently, you have under handicapped short yardage shooters who are very good and you have under handicapped 27 yarder is who have mastered their yardage. To prove my point, when was the last time a 23 yarder won a major shoot?
 
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