Article 3 – 2010
Question: My son is 18 this year (2010) and has been shooting normal trap at our local club for the past year and has now a competent A Grade competitor. He is no longer eligible for Junior Awards in domestic events, but under International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) rules he will still be eligible to shoot as a junior for a couple more years. He likes this type of shooting and I think he may go a long way further in it. Can you advise me when is a good time for him to start shooting the international events in trap? I have heard several members of our club try and warn him against getting involved as they believe it will destroy his enjoyment of the sport and this has probably turned him off even trying it.
Answer: It is always sad to hear this type of negative comment from shooters that probably are simply jealous or have never had any dreams or aspirations of their own. Your son obviously has some potential to say the very least as he has achieved a grading that proves this. Have no doubts, International Trap (Olympic Trap) is much harder technically than the domestic events (DTL), but the fundamentals are the same. Your son won’t achieve the same percentages that he currently does and if his enjoyment level of the sport is dictated by the need to do so then the detractors at your local club will be right. I am confident they aren’t. Most juniors I have seen that have tried the International disciplines have proved they can adapt quickly both physically and mentally. Certainly the greater percentage of kids do not go on to represent Australia, but long term goals such as this won’t enter into their enjoyment factor for quite some time. The faster targets, wider angles and lighter shot loads that are part of the International game will make your son into a much better competitor at the domestic events when he next tries them. Certainly keep encouraging him to compete in as many DTL events as he can as the competition that these events offer is also paramount to becoming a better competitor. I often criticize many competitors that only shoot ISSF events with little success, but won’t “lower” themselves to shoot DTL. Most of these shooters would not win at club level in DTL, but are afraid to compete against everyday club shooters for fear of getting beaten. DTL is still a fabulous stepping stone to an ISSF career and we are very lucky to have this in Australia and are foolish not to exploit it.
My advice is to take him along to a practice day at an international range and give him a try without any pressure or expectations on him. If he can hit 23 or 24 out of 25 at normal Trap then expect he will hit around 18 to 20 first up at Olympic Trap with the occasional 15 or 16 thrown in. this will test his character for sure, but it will make him a better shot overall. Finally when you next hear someone giving your son that type of negative advice ask them politely if they believe Michael Diamond, Suzy Balogh or my father ever gave their children the same type of encouragement?