Growing the sport

Discussion in 'Competition Forum (All Calibers)' started by Alex Wheeler, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,963
    I am interested in everyone's opinions on how to,

    1. keep shooters we have interested

    2. get new shooters involved

    I am primarily concerned with Benchrest, but want to hear all competitors opinions.
     
    Grimstod, WyleWD and jimmymac like this.
  2. tom

    tom Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    2,084
    It would help me from burning out if my gun smith did my load development and match ammo loading.

    For new, potential new, on the fence shooters. Make it known that all they have to do is show up. They will be welcomed, the information they need will be freely shared by us regulars. It's a lot of work, but anyone can be competitive if they work hard and have the right equipment built.

    Tom
     
    swed6.5, 500Stroker, Jet and 8 others like this.
  3. Berger.Fan222

    Berger.Fan222

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Messages:
    984
    It depends on your perspective. I've helped at least a dozen shooters get started, develop their marksmanship skills, shoot their first matches, kill their first deer, etc.

    The steep learning curve, cost of equipment, and unwelcoming attitudes (for young shooters and females) can be real barriers. Without fail, everyone I've helped get started was shooting firearms from our family's collection until they figured out what discipline they preferred and what equipment they wanted to go out and buy.

    So I guess my big secret is to invite lots of friends and family to join me and have pretty decent equipment available to borrow.

    From a match director's perspective, here are my suggestions:
    1. Communicate well on the web site, especially if a match is cancelled. New shooters lose interest quickly if they prepare and travel some distance only to find upon arrival that the match was cancelled with no notice on the web site.
    2. Clean bathrooms make a huge difference with many youths and all ladies.
    3. Encourage your old timers not to communicate an elitist attitude - the idea that new shooters don't belong without many thousands in equipment. If folks give advice, it should be how shooters can improve with the equipment they have or modest upgrades.
    4. Get match results bulletins posted and/or emailed out in a timely manner.
    5. Have one of your friendlier old timers make a special effort to welcome and talk nice to newcomers. No one likes old geezers. Everyone likes smiles and a friendly face and a chance to shoot finer equipment.
     
    swed6.5, WyleWD, Mikey_P and 3 others like this.
  4. R.Morehouse

    R.Morehouse Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2012
    Messages:
    814
    Maybe consider setting up a display table at the bigger gun shows in your area with a gun set up in a rest and rear bag and some of the reloading equip. we use for precision work with a small display of prepped brass. An example of the targets w/groups and maybe a 10min. presentation vid. on a loop that can be watched explaining things accompanied by an invite with directions to the next match nicely color printed so the people that collect every piece of paper at the show will surely put in their "schwag bag " to look over again when they get home. Have nothing on this table for sale at all. Just beautiful equipment all shined up on display.............. Maybe with a Do Not Handle sign...........:eek:
     
    foxguy, MattS, snert and 1 other person like this.
  5. rifleman3

    rifleman3

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2017
    Messages:
    113
    Alex I am going to observe this post very closely an after it is at a standstill you an I will go over all responses an see if we can find a postive to support precision marksman ship thanks for bringing this forth
    PS looking forward to hearing what true 1000yd benchrest shooters reply on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  6. rifleman3

    rifleman3

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2017
    Messages:
    113
    Tom you mean you are going to give up your secrets lol.
     
  7. 308sawyer

    308sawyer Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2016
    Messages:
    191
    To get new shooters into competition shooting welcome them with open arms.

    When a new shooter is thinking about starting in competition let them buy what they think will work. Too many people overwhelm them trying to talk them in to buying super duper expensive stuff. Working up the ladder never hurts.

    Let them know how much fun can be had after the match when you have a beer in yer hand telling everyone why you didn't win a relay and all the reasons your bullet wasnt pointed in the right direction.

    Let a new shooter know what the feeling is when the scorers words are..... X one on...

    Dont lie to a new shooter make them fully aware of the disease they are about to become sick with.

    Were all in this together...
     
  8. gilmillan1

    gilmillan1 Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    299
    I would like to see some big cash prizes and a structure to advance to bigger matches. I like the prs system. They have several matches a year and then the top shooters get qualified for the grand final match.
     
  9. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,963
    Tell us more please
     
  10. ShootDots

    ShootDots Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    4,060
    It is one thing to attract new shooters, it is quite another to get them involved to maintain their presence. I can only talk about F-Class.
    1.) Make sure matches are run smoothly and correctly;
    2.) Ensure that scores are posted for EACH MATCH so that each competitor can see how they are performing against other competitors;
    3.) "Talk-it-up" after a match when the winners are mentioned. Say things like "So and So has been progressing well and has moved from Expert to Master" etc..etc..
    4.) Make the "pay-outs" better. At Bayou, when I was in Texas, if you were a member you paid 15 bucks for the match. If you won ALL THREE matches you won 14 bucks! Ridiculous! If they charged $40.00 per match you could cut $20.00 from each competitor to make a decent pay-out.

    I am sure there are other excellent suggestions. These are what I came up with. Not doing ANY of the above will result in a LOSS of competitors>>>guaranteed!
     
    Scott Harris and johnnyi like this.
  11. tom

    tom Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    2,084

    I don't keep any, I never have. None of our core guys do actually, in the end everyone is better for it because it's a two way street. I've been helped by guys that I have helped prior, it usually has something to do with trying to outsmart myself when something isn't working right.

    Tom
     
    boiler_house7, jimmymac, Jet and 3 others like this.
  12. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,963
    Id like to ad a couple questions.
    For those guys that have the equipment to compete, what stops you from actually going to a match?
    For those guys that used to compete, what made you stop going to matches?
     
    rifleman3 likes this.
  13. rifleman3

    rifleman3

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2017
    Messages:
    113
    That's a very good point thanks for asking
    PS that question doesn't pertain to me the Lord ain't buried me yet but a very positive question.
     
  14. Immike

    Immike

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,828
    Offer accuracy classes at your club that are open to the public. Start with the ground floor basics with progressive levels. I suggest a 3 level coarse of classes that get the average person started with the equipment they already own. I have done this in the past with good results. We promoted fclass but that's up to who teaches the class.
    How to get started:
    Have sign up until the class is full but not too many.
    Schedule a date and have them bring 50-100 rounds.
    Bring coaching help and tools to tighten all the loose screws.
    Be prepared for all levels of shooter but don't take their knowledge for granted.(how to clean, etc..)
    They have to attend level 1 to attend level 2 and then 3 which should be reloading and competition level.

    We started this as a range qualifications class and it brought several people to our matches as well.
    Classes should be a blend of classroom and range time over a 6-8hr day. Make a easy target that can be ran off on the copy machine and keep them trying to improve on it with your help. Signing up for a class gets the people that are too intimidated to ask for help or worried about embarrassing themselves at a match. Keep them comfortable with the learning curve and coach them through their first step towards the sport. Q&A should be open for dispelling any thoughts that it's not available to them. The club charged $30 per class to cover expenses and inconveniences.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    500Stroker, jimmymac and ShootDots like this.
  15. dkhunt14

    dkhunt14

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    4,587
    A couple of us wanted to send out a survey to past members. Asking questions like why did you stop, what would bring you back, what do you think needs changed.. Our board said it would do no good, they knew why they left. Matt
     
    dedeadeye and savagedasher like this.
  16. gilmillan1

    gilmillan1 Silver $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    299

    The first thing I would like to see in F Class shooting is money prizes. Alot of the other shooting disciplines have cash prizes. For example, Erik Cortina just won $6,000 in a new shooting discipline. Its some long range competition. I do not know all of the details. I love shooting F-Class, and the main goal is to become a better shooter and to win sometimes. Last year, I won a state match championship and all I got was a plaque. Its nice but I would have liked to see something else too. I do not mind paying a higher entry fee so there are cash prizes. When you consider what you invest in having equipment that can win a match, reloading components, reloading equipment, travel expenses, and hotel expenses, a $200 to $300 entry fee is nominal. If twenty or thirty shooters show up, that is a total of $4000 to $6000. You could split 50 to 60% of the proceeds towards the top winners. I really think this sport is missing that component. The argument against the cash prize idea is that some folks will believe that a high entrance fee is not justified if they are average shooters. However, I am not advocating all competitions to have a high entrance fee. I am advocating one competition a year that has an entry fee of $200 to $500.

    The second thing I would like to see is structure in the shooting programs. By structure, I mean an advancement program. I would like to see a competition where you advance as you shoot in matches. This is a very similar structure that PRS has. I think this would be a good idea for the nationals. PRS has several matches throughout the year, and if you score good enough points, you advance to the next round, until the elite shooters get to shoot against each other. Again, there is the argument that this structure will cause some shooters to shy away from shooting because they are your average shooters. However, the history of PRS tells us otherwise. Most club matches that have a PRS/tactical style attract a very high number of shooters, good and bad. Their club match entry fee is around $50.00.

    What I am saying is that there is too much investment in this sport and there has to be some reward for the winners. You are always chasing that carrot on the stick, and on the lucky day that you catch up to it, you realize its really not what you expected. In other words, investing thousands of dollars in a shooting sport sometimes is not justified if you only achieve bragging rights at the end of the day. Its somewhat disappointing when you win a big match and you go home thinking, that's it!?
     
  17. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,963
    Some good points here. I do like the idea of a match you have to "qualify" for. That could boost regular match attendance. That match could have a high entry fee and pay out.
     
  18. Joe Wade

    Joe Wade

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Messages:
    111
    I used to compete High Power with a A2 .223 Service Rifle. I read all the books and taught myself the basics. My first classification card was Expert and stayed there for years, until I quit. I just could not improve without a mentor and the Masters & High Masters in my area were tight lipped about any advise. The only shooters that would talk to me at the matches were same or lesser classification guys, we were all eager to learn. After three years I gave up. Did not want to go to another match just to be intimidated by the High Masters.

    I took five years off and focused on learning gunsmithing skills. Decided to get into F-class.
    Found a great group of guys in Wyoming that share information and encourage participation.
    Been having fun ever since. It is the people that can make it enjoyable. Not really focused on prizes, just improvements in my shooting performance.

    #1 If you want to boost participation, encourage your top shooters to be helpful and friendly to new and learning shooters. Without new shooters, the sport will die.

    #2 At the local match level, offer a shooting clinic, instead of a match once in a while.
    Have it be a fun learning day to improve skills and share ideas.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  19. dedeadeye

    dedeadeye Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Messages:
    153
    Today I had a young man enter my shop to talk about what was necessary to shoot in 1000 yard Benchrest competition. He was very eager and genuinely excited telling me he has followed the Williamsport results on the Internet. He told me he has been hunting and shooting all his life but his growing family has placed restraints on building a rifle. We talked for quite some time and showed him some recent targets. I had him handle one of my 17 lb rifles which in hindsight was probably a mistake. I could see he was shaken when he inquired about the costs envolved.
    So my opinion is we must have a two or three class structure to allow these men and women to enter our competition with equipment that is affordable. The key is to GET THEM STARTED and give them the chance to win or place in their class. Winning or placing is very addicting and winning a prize more so. Post the names and results on the Internet. Give them exposure. In time as they become more efficient in group & score and move to a higher class. If clubs are to survive we must allow those interested the easiest opportunity to GET STARTED by whatever means possible.
    Roger Gower
     
    tmwinds, WyleWD, jimmymac and 9 others like this.
  20. Alex Wheeler

    Alex Wheeler Gold $$ Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    4,963
    WyleWD likes this.

Share This Page