Newcomers to our sport.

Help Support :

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

westley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 31, 2013
Messages
4,864
Location
West Lancs.
Can anyone tell me HOW to go about introducing a newcomer to OUR sport, but more, their first competition ?  In my 60 plus years shooting experience, I can not recall any competition that was specifically for newcomers. I learned yesterday that I have been doing things the wrong way and should just have let the newcomer loose on the range.

This is NOT a first time shooter, but a first time competition.  I had taught this lad from his first shoot ( a group of 6 for a birthday bash). I helped him with his Certificate application and purchase of his first gun etc. As the shoot was very well organised by Cheshire Police clay club members, I had shot the Comp since the 1970's. I knew a lot of the shooters and felt it was a good shoot for a newcomer,  as other shooters would be tolerant to his situation. WRONG  !  When we (3 of us) arrived we met up with a lot of seasoned shooters and I introduced the newcomer to a lot of people. We were squadded with 3 other shooters, 2 Males and 1 Female. We were also given a stand to begin at. We made to the stand on time and I introduced our team of 3 to the other 3. I also explained that we had a newcomer and that I would be assisting him as much as I could. NO COMMENT WAS MADE AT THAT POINT. Our turn came to shoot and I asked the Ref if I could help the newcomer. ( of the 13 stands only 1 Ref objected to my doing that). I suppose that moving his gun to a better 'start' position  is constituted as 'Instruction' ( I am a Ref too). Anyway after a few stands without problems, one of the other 3 shooters complained that my standing behind the newcomer, was stopping her from seeing the targets, before she shot. As the newcomer was doing quite well on his own, I apologised and moved out of her way. As the newcomer was further alienated by using an auto, she made much of kicking the odd empty shell away.  A few stands further on we were stood away from the stand, discussing how the newbie could have better approached the stand he had just shot. We were then berated for talking whilst they were shooting. We were well enough away from the stand, but I am deaf, so I suppose he was a bit louder when talking to me. He was quite shocked by their reaction, not ever having experienced this at any shoots he had previously attended. At the final stand, our 3 were last to shoot. We finished only to find the other 3 had already left. I am more used to shaking hands with each of the squad, thanking them and getting a group picture. That did not happen. The lady went on to take a very well deserved High Gun (Ladies), for which I congratulate her. However IF  I am squadded with her again, I shall be changing squads. I go shooting to enjoy a pleasant social day out and to aid as many new shooters as I can, in fact 2 of the Newbies pals that I first taught, have taken up the sport too. I shall be helping them with gun purchase as and when. That was the first time I have ever encountered animosity within a shooting squad, we were slowing them down between stands too, it appears  !  Of our 3 the eldest is 81 and I am not far behind him, we find the hills at some grounds to be a challenge, but we still manage, albeit a bit slower.

However I have to say the lad shot a 53, about which, for his first event, despite a couple of obstacles, I was very pleased.  Any advice on introducing newcomers would be greatly appreciated, or am I just getting grumpy in my old age  ?

 
Well Wes, I can just about remember my first club comp. It was DTL at the club where I learned to shoot clays. 
It was a very friendly affair, I knew a lot of the other competitors, I shot total crap, much like I do to this day! 😂
The club was not CPSA registered and there were no cash prizes, so we didn’t tend to get the pot hunters entering the comps. 
I shot a lot of comps after that, in various places, mostly OT and ABT, most of the big names were really decent people, however there were one or two who were not like that, but I won’t name them. 

 
Can anyone tell me HOW to go about introducing a newcomer to OUR sport, but more, their first competition ?  In my 60 plus years shooting experience, I can not recall any competition that was specifically for newcomers. I learned yesterday that I have been doing things the wrong way and should just have let the newcomer loose on the range.

This is NOT a first time shooter, but a first time competition.  I had taught this lad from his first shoot ( a group of 6 for a birthday bash). I helped him with his Certificate application and purchase of his first gun etc. As the shoot was very well organised by Cheshire Police clay club members, I had shot the Comp since the 1970's. I knew a lot of the shooters and felt it was a good shoot for a newcomer,  as other shooters would be tolerant to his situation. WRONG  !  When we (3 of us) arrived we met up with a lot of seasoned shooters and I introduced the newcomer to a lot of people. We were squadded with 3 other shooters, 2 Males and 1 Female. We were also given a stand to begin at. We made to the stand on time and I introduced our team of 3 to the other 3. I also explained that we had a newcomer and that I would be assisting him as much as I could. NO COMMENT WAS MADE AT THAT POINT. Our turn came to shoot and I asked the Ref if I could help the newcomer. ( of the 13 stands only 1 Ref objected to my doing that). I suppose that moving his gun to a better 'start' position  is constituted as 'Instruction' ( I am a Ref too). Anyway after a few stands without problems, one of the other 3 shooters complained that my standing behind the newcomer, was stopping her from seeing the targets, before she shot. As the newcomer was doing quite well on his own, I apologised and moved out of her way. As the newcomer was further alienated by using an auto, she made much of kicking the odd empty shell away.  A few stands further on we were stood away from the stand, discussing how the newbie could have better approached the stand he had just shot. We were then berated for talking whilst they were shooting. We were well enough away from the stand, but I am deaf, so I suppose he was a bit louder when talking to me. He was quite shocked by their reaction, not ever having experienced this at any shoots he had previously attended. At the final stand, our 3 were last to shoot. We finished only to find the other 3 had already left. I am more used to shaking hands with each of the squad, thanking them and getting a group picture. That did not happen. The lady went on to take a very well deserved High Gun (Ladies), for which I congratulate her. However IF  I am squadded with her again, I shall be changing squads. I go shooting to enjoy a pleasant social day out and to aid as many new shooters as I can, in fact 2 of the Newbies pals that I first taught, have taken up the sport too. I shall be helping them with gun purchase as and when. That was the first time I have ever encountered animosity within a shooting squad, we were slowing them down between stands too, it appears  !  Of our 3 the eldest is 81 and I am not far behind him, we find the hills at some grounds to be a challenge, but we still manage, albeit a bit slower.

However I have to say the lad shot a 53, about which, for his first event, despite a couple of obstacles, I was very pleased.  Any advice on introducing newcomers would be greatly appreciated, or am I just getting grumpy in my old age  ?
I'm not too sure where you're going with your post. You begin asking the very reasonable question of how to introduce a younger to the sport then seem to go off tangent a little.

I'll answer your first point with the assumption they wish to shoot competitively and don't have any pre-learned flaws to undo.

Firstly, buy the best equipment he can afford. Good quality equipment that he's shooting comfortably builds confidence. Above all, make sure it shoots where he looks. 

Secondly, find a coach he trusts and is able to bond with. No need for them to be a successful competitor but they must be able to teach shooting fundamentals in a relatable way.

Thirdly, watch and talk to the most successful competitors. He’ll learn an awful lot from them, especially once the physical moves are mastered and the game becomes more mental.

From this point onwards it’s about putting the hard yards in to climb the classifications and reach the top. For all but a very lucky few this takes time. I can only relate it to trap and skeet shooting but always remember to make sure the shooting fundamentals are rigorously applied. He’ll find that when they are the score will come along for the ride.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
Thanks Jan, I think we had most of that covered in his equipment and he is well aware of the safety aspects, his gun fit has now been sorted, it just needs to be made permanent.  He needs a bit more 'fine tuning' on stance and hold points, but that will improve with experience.  I have Grandkids of his age and I know how difficult it can be to balance the books, so to speak and I think at this stage he would sooner spend the money on shooting, rather than coaching. I suppose my question was, "What is the attitude of some of the successful shooters on here, towards newcomers"  ?

 
Sorry to not appease you Westley, but I think he should do enough practice rounds so as to be ready for a competition. Once you’re in a competition, it’s no coaching, no assistant in the way, no loud talking while people are shooting. These are simple concepts that can be prepared for during practice. A significant part of shooting well is working it out for one’s self and not being guided through it too..

 
Not nice i know,but here goes.

the comp i think you're refering to is a proper serious comp at a very well respected ground(the best in my opinion) .Coaching a newbie at such a event is (again in my opinion) not a great idea and against the rules.Yes most refs will see by the card and if coaching is not effecting any placings  will turn a blind eye.Although on very busy like i think youre talking about anything more than a quick word will slow the squad down and as rightly pointed you over the shoulder are making viewing hard for next in line.

That's the bad bit over

These days we are in a fortunate position of being able to practice on courses like the last garlands or doveridge eng selection,and these are perfect for a newbie ,to start.You have scores set to judge by and can practice and repeat where needed at youre iwn leisure.

Once a standard has been reached where said newbie can go it alone yeh fill youre boots on comps but its not just about hitting clays a read of the rule book i would recommend as worthwhile so they know procedures and dont get tacken by surprise when faced with a ref quoting them.

 
Perhaps the other thing a newbie should learn is the etiquette of the particular discipline to be shot. This can be taught of course, this can then be reinforced by practice and also watching some comps as a spectator. 
It’s probably true that some etiquette comes under the heading of rules, but not always so. 
 

 
So, my two pennies worth!  We shot recently at a registered shoot in a squad with a complete novice lady and her husband who was fairly experienced, she had done some general shooting but no competitions and so was very nervous, she apologised in advance and we all said we’ve got to jump in the deep end at some stage.   Everyone including the ref helped her.  She was never going to win the comp and we encouraged her all the way round.  I know that’s against the rules and I wouldn’t do it normally when shooting with experienced shoots at all. Regarding talking, again everyone knows you shouldn’t do it but everyone does.  Other squads come up whilst you’re shooting chatting away and don’t think anything about it so it goes on.  I’ve only ever once asked someone to be a bit quieter as they were extremely loud and they apologised straight away and it didn’t happen again.  It’s more about common sense really, rules are there but it only works if everyone sticks to them and that will never happen or be enforced whilst you have unqualified refs etc,  BUT there is no excuse for plain rudeness, it leaves a nasty taste and sours the day completely. 
I have shot at several shoots where friends/other half’s stand over them telling them “a bit more/you’re over it etc”  and no one has ever said anything.  You obviously had an unhelpful squad I’m afraid. 
Good luck to the young lad anyway and I hope he wasn’t too put off by their attitudes.  Maybe a little straw baler  might be better to start him off on where it might be a bit more relaxed.  

 
I can only speak as a trap shooter and in trap, whatever the discipline, there is never any coaching or helping going on when a squad is shooting. Once you are on that line you are expected to know what to do, nobody is going to help you. The ref most certainly won’t help you, except possibly in the case of a gun malfunction. 
Yes trap shooters do get very picky if someone doesn’t observe the rules and/or etiquette. 
A comp is not the place to help someone or to ask for help. 
 

 
I can only speak as a trap shooter and in trap, whatever the discipline, there is never any coaching or helping going on when a squad is shooting. Once you are on that line you are expected to know what to do, nobody is going to help you. The ref most certainly won’t help you, except possibly in the case of a gun malfunction. 
Yes trap shooters do get very picky if someone doesn’t observe the rules and/or etiquette. 
A comp is not the place to help someone or to ask for help. 
 
I’d add that it’s expected competitors have some knowledge of the rules of the discipline they’re shooting. No need to be experts, that’s the referee’s job, but they ought to understand target sequence, etiquette and how to handle things if there’s a misfire or gun malfunction. It’s amazing how many don’t.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
I can only say that this was not strictly 'coaching' as we would perceive it. It was more " don't start so far back with your gun", comments, or turn your feet a bit more to the right/left etc. He has shot several sporting shoots over the last 12 months and I felt he was more than capable or I would not have taken him. ALL of my clay shooting has been as part of a team or squad since 1974, unfortunately that squad has now dwindled to just 2 of us, but has always been an enjoyable experience. There was only 1 Ref out of 13 who objected. Certainly, if I had been Reffing yesterday I would have never objected.

Not nice i know,but here goes.

the comp i think you're refering to is a proper serious comp at a very well respected ground(the best in my opinion) .Coaching a newbie at such a event is (again in my opinion) not a great idea and against the rules.Yes most refs will see by the card and if coaching is not effecting any placings  will turn a blind eye.Although on very busy like i think youre talking about anything more than a quick word will slow the squad down and as rightly pointed you over the shoulder are making viewing hard for next in line.

That's the bad bit over

These days we are in a fortunate position of being able to practice on courses like the last garlands or doveridge eng selection,and these are perfect for a newbie ,to start.You have scores set to judge by and can practice and repeat where needed at youre iwn leisure.

Once a standard has been reached where said newbie can go it alone yeh fill youre boots on comps but its not just about hitting clays a read of the rule book i would recommend as worthwhile so they know procedures and dont get tacken by surprise when faced with a ref quoting them.
The ONLY thing that slowed the squad down was the inability of 2 of us to jog between stands  !  😄

I can only speak as a trap shooter and in trap, whatever the discipline, there is never any coaching or helping going on when a squad is shooting. Once you are on that line you are expected to know what to do, nobody is going to help you. The ref most certainly won’t help you, except possibly in the case of a gun malfunction. 
Yes trap shooters do get very picky if someone doesn’t observe the rules and/or etiquette. 
A comp is not the place to help someone or to ask for help. 
 
THAT is why I chose a sporting shoot and NOT Trap or Skeet. I am hoping to include those later in the year though and understandably, he will be on his own.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
So, my two pennies worth!  We shot recently at a registered shoot in a squad with a complete novice lady and her husband who was fairly experienced, she had done some general shooting but no competitions and so was very nervous, she apologised in advance and we all said we’ve got to jump in the deep end at some stage.   Everyone including the ref helped her.  She was never going to win the comp and we encouraged her all the way round.  I know that’s against the rules and I wouldn’t do it normally when shooting with experienced shoots at all. Regarding talking, again everyone knows you shouldn’t do it but everyone does.  Other squads come up whilst you’re shooting chatting away and don’t think anything about it so it goes on.  I’ve only ever once asked someone to be a bit quieter as they were extremely loud and they apologised straight away and it didn’t happen again.  It’s more about common sense really, rules are there but it only works if everyone sticks to them and that will never happen or be enforced whilst you have unqualified refs etc,  BUT there is no excuse for plain rudeness, it leaves a nasty taste and sours the day completely. 
I have shot at several shoots where friends/other half’s stand over them telling them “a bit more/you’re over it etc”  and no one has ever said anything.  You obviously had an unhelpful squad I’m afraid. 
Good luck to the young lad anyway and I hope he wasn’t too put off by their attitudes.  Maybe a little straw baler  might be better to start him off on where it might be a bit more relaxed.  
Donna, thank you. He has been shooting over 12 months, I would most certainly NOT have taken him if I felt he was unable to 'go it alone'. It was just verbal advice and NOT physical help.

 
Clay bashing can be a most enjoyable and sociable of occasions, like many I’ve had plenty such events with chums old and new, however competition shooting ( or indeed competition sports of any type) are wholly different beasts and some (plenty) competitors can be a bit, er, keen, anxious, over zealous, short tempered and even rude, some knowingly some not. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be with someone at their first competition and not feel a bit obligated to ensure that they are not finding the event a bit overwhelming, ideally a non squadded event known for being rather friendly ( happy faces nice cake decent WCs etc) would be first / regular choice until they are well enough grounded to ride out the bumps, good luck and hope your chum isn’t put off.

He will though, due to the inclusive nature of our sport oft be with very good / competitive individuals, and some are very determined / focused this can come across in a poor light at times.

 
Clay bashing can be a most enjoyable and sociable of occasions, like many I’ve had plenty such events with chums old and new, however competition shooting ( or indeed competition sports of any type) are wholly different beasts and some (plenty) competitors can be a bit, er, keen, anxious, over zealous, short tempered and even rude, some knowingly some not. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be with someone at their first competition and not feel a bit obligated to ensure that they are not finding the event a bit overwhelming, ideally a non squadded event known for being rather friendly ( happy faces nice cake decent WCs etc) would be first / regular choice until they are well enough grounded to ride out the bumps, good luck and hope your chum isn’t put off.

He will though, due to the inclusive nature of our sport oft be with very good / competitive individuals, and some are very determined / focused this can come across in a poor light at times.
This year was the first time it was 'squadded' but Refs at each stand. Previously it has been a Ref going around with each squad. I found this out upon our arrival. A bit late to back out then. You are correct in what you say though, over the years I have encountered many top shooters with only a very small percentage of those being in the 'even rude' category. 

 
As it was a competition I think a good idea would have been to observe only, and possibly video him shooting, your there for him if things happen, malfunction, interpretation of rules etc have a chat between stands, this lets him concentrate on his shooting and not worry too much about the tech stuff and your not upsetting anyone else in the squad. 

After with the help of the video go over some points about what you think would have helped him, I realise that because you wouldn't be able to be right behind him to make the most of the of what you videoed, it would maybe help when you make the point of why you think he missed etc

It may have been a bit off putting for him too having someone telling him why he's missing, as there's enough pressure on him when shooting his first competition with experienced shooters around him anyway 

Just imho as someone who has coached with target shooting

 
I can only say that this was not strictly 'coaching' as we would perceive it. It was more " don't start so far back with your gun", comments, or turn your feet a bit more to the right/left etc. He has shot several sporting shoots over the last 12 months and I felt he was more than capable or I would not have taken him. ALL of my clay shooting has been as part of a team or squad since 1974, unfortunately that squad has now dwindled to just 2 of us, but has always been an enjoyable experience. There was only 1 Ref out of 13 who objected. Certainly, if I had been Reffing yesterday I would have never objected.
I’m no hedgie but surely that’s not allowed? If you’re giving another competitor advice as to how to hit a target it’s coaching and the rules forbid that. A referee would be quite justified in challenging both the competitor and instructor. I appreciate it’s done in the interest of improving a newbie’s enjoyment but if it’s a police league shoot (which I think it is) it’s shot to CPSA rules.

image.png

 

 
Last edited by a moderator:
I am fully aware of the rules, which Is WHY I checked with each Ref FIRST. I think Donna has grasped and summed up the situation admirably.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
I am fully aware of the rules, which Is WHY I checked with each Ref FIRST. I think Donna has grasped and summed up the situation admirably.
Chap, as both a referee and shot I’m always amazed at how many coaches / competitors don’t / won’t either know / adhere to the rules in order to gain a perceived advantage, and believe me it’s got rapidly worse theses last 4/5 years, clay bashing is a very very pleasant social pastime, competitive clay bashing seems to bring out in some somewhat different attitudes, and sadly not all are well received. 
As before hope this chap has not been deterred from trying again. 

I’m no hedgie but surely that’s not allowed? If you’re giving another competitor advice as to how to hit a target it’s coaching and the rules forbid that. A referee would be quite justified in challenging both the competitor and instructor. I appreciate it’s done in the interest of improving a newbie’s enjoyment but if it’s a police league shoot (which I think it is) it’s shot to CPSA rules.

View attachment 9309

 
Sadly Jan some of the above do have to get picked up on, not usually well taken either. 

 
It amazes me why chatting in the background upsets some shooters I mean there's multiple guns going off at 140+ decibels and there wearing ear defenders !, they should practice their concentration techniques, I hope these people never take up professional darts they'll no what background noise is all about 😁

 

Latest posts

Back
Top