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Most clubs don't have the space to have different courses for the A, B, and C shooters from the Master/AA shooters. Few, if any would want to incur the cost of setting up different courses. Most of them already have to bring in additional machines for the big shoots. Rent for additional machines, extra trappers, more people on keep machines full of targets and fixing problems all runs the cost up. Without the sponsorship/advertising revenue that other sports have, I just don't see it happening.
Not a space issue, you have 3-4 machines on one course with various menus for different classes; yes it would be a royal PITA for the teenage trapper, but then some folks are all about soothing egos and not challenging themselves.
 

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Not a space issue, you have 3-4 machines on one course with various menus for different classes; yes it would be a royal PITA for the teenage trapper, but then some folks are all about soothing egos and not challenging themselves.
The 3-4 machines per station on one course would resolve the space issue, but there is still the cost of the additional machines to be brought in for a big shoot. When you start doubling the number of machines for each course it would add up. At this regional there were 2 main event courses, 4 5 stands, and separate courses for Super Sport and Providence Cup. Plus the Sub Gauge Course, Sub Gauge FITASC and FITASC.

I was just looking at this from a cost stand point. I am a bean counter, so that is my nature.
 

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Castnblast...interesting comment and perspective. You sound like many of us. Without burdening you, and until we may or may not be able to access the book, can you maybe summarize Anthony's and or your thoughts on those changes; even a nutshell version?

Thanks.
Well, I just passed 1000 registered targets, have only started my journey to class C, don’t know Anthony and have never seen him shoot, but you asked so here goes.

I never held a firearm until I was 40, fell in love with dog work in the uplands and only stumbled on clay target shooting as a way to learn enough so my buds wouldn’t laugh at me and my dogs would not piss on my pant legs.

I was emerging from a deep dive in another sport as well as other changes in my life. My journey took in fine SxS’s from London and Birmingham and driven shooting in Scotland, Ireland, Hungary, South Africa, doves in Argentina and Uruguay, and many memories in my favorite uplands or plains here at home.

There were lessons from the Orvis shooting school, Brian Belinski, Jack Mitchell, Chris Batha, Pat LaBoone, etc. All disciples of the instinctive (British) style of shooting. I heard, read about and practiced Bum, Belly, Beak and Move, Mount, Shoot. Heard lots about foot position but never “shot planning”. Well maybe never paid attention;-(

I also found I loved to break clays and carried that style, along with my preference for British SxS’s over to the new game of Sporting Clays. Machines were manual and stations were designed to mimic and often named for shots one would see in the uplands, plains or marshes

I know, TMI.

In a nutshell, Anthony’s book clearly describes target presentations one might see in 2022, the importance of shot planning and finally the execution of the shot plan.

People I shoot with, and I include myself, see targets we never would even think of shooting at in the field and we employ techniques (and equipment) totally unique to the sport of clay target shooting.

Not sure how big my library has grown over the years, but Anthony’s book, is certainly at the top of my list. BTW, he also has a terrific set of DVD’s.
 

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To me, the answer to this self-inflicted drama is simple. Have 14 stations, where you have 3 where “you better hit them all”, and 5 that are very technical but within 30 to 45 yards. Then, finish with 6 stations that are true separators With some distance. You know, something for everyone.
 

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Alternative solution: just be willing to only shoot 65 on a course that really challenges the pros. What's wrong with that? Level playing field and all.
Fine for a three day event…… but that’s an issue as well.

Not sure I understand the fascination with setting a course so hard, just to see the best miss more? There is so much more than just throwing some machines down and firing 70 yd screaming edge targets.

Work harder at your game, not wondering how to lower the scores of the best shots…….
 
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Occasional public displays of ineptitude (humiliation) can spur one into more focused effort and success. Consistent public displays of ineptitude usually lead to withdrawal and surrender. Ego drives us all.
Schadenfreude is alive and well in competitive circles. I confess to having engaged in it while watching some of our very best shooters miss targets. Don’t know if jealousy, resentment, envy and/or admiration are involved.
Target setting depends on the nature of the event and the goal of the setter. To stay in business, a majority of shooters have to come back. Targets should always regress toward the mean ability level- if the club wants to stay in business. A tiny.minority of true elite shooters won’t keep a club open.
 

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I do think Big Bank type shoots should be challenging and more difficult than a monthly registered club shoot, but that should be accomplished with targets that are hittable by most above average competive shooters.....tricky lines, optical illusions, pairs that require you shift footing between shots, pairs that require you to take one shot earlier than the optimal break point are all ways to create a fun but challenging course for all involved.

With that said for the really big shoots (regionals and above) an idea that allows for both a reasonable course overall yet provides the ability to really put together something that challenges the Elite pro level shooters is for the top 10 or 15 shooters in the main to qualify for a "Super Main". Rather than the Super Main being a make or break style elimination event have it be a 50 bird layout with nothing but high level challenging targets. The scores from the main don't carry over so those 50 birds are what counts for the HOA championship. The main course is basically a qualifier for those top shooters and therefore can be set more reasonable without trying to decide between catering to the masses or the top shooters.
 

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The 3-4 machines per station on one course would resolve the space issue, but there is still the cost of the additional machines to be brought in for a big shoot. When you start doubling the number of machines for each course it would add up. At this regional there were 2 main event courses, 4 5 stands, and separate courses for Super Sport and Providence Cup. Plus the Sub Gauge Course, Sub Gauge FITASC and FITASC.

I was just looking at this from a cost stand point. I am a bean counter, so that is my nature.
And those rental costs are why big blasts cost $1.75/target
 

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I have always felt a fun, fair and reasonably challenging targets for all classes. Then have the top scores in a shoot off with the extremely challenging targets. Let's face it easy or hard targets it is still one of the top dogs who win! Let's make it fun and exciting for most. Then sit back and watch the big guns work for the win. Everyone should be happy with that set up. No extra machines no extra scorers, just an extra event to keep us mortals entertained and give us something to work towards. You won't lose the top dogs their sponsors and ego's will require them to attend the big events.

Just my opinion.

Buster
 

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I have always felt a fun, fair and reasonably challenging targets for all classes. Then have the top scores in a shoot off with the extremely challenging targets. Let's face it easy or hard targets it is still one of the top dogs who win! Let's make it fun and exciting for most. Then sit back and watch the big guns work for the win. Everyone should be happy with that set up. No extra machines no extra scorers, just an extra event to keep us mortals entertained and give us something to work towards. You won't lose the top dogs their sponsors and ego's will require them to attend the big events.

Just my opinion.

Buster
Okay, good idea. But the shoot off should be 100 targets. 100 really, really hard targets. Make 'em work.
 

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Occasional public displays of ineptitude (humiliation) can spur one into more focused effort and success. Consistent public displays of ineptitude usually lead to withdrawal and surrender. Ego drives us all.
Schadenfreude is alive and well in competitive circles. I confess to having engaged in it while watching some of our very best shooters miss targets. Don’t know if jealousy, resentment, envy and/or admiration are involved.
Target setting depends on the nature of the event and the goal of the setter. To stay in business, a majority of shooters have to come back. Targets should always regress toward the mean ability level- if the club wants to stay in business. A tiny.minority of true elite shooters won’t keep a club open.
Exactly, completely, 100% correct.
Okay, good idea. But the shoot off should be 100 targets. 100 really, really hard targets. Make 'em work.
You don’t think they worked hard to get where they are? The best will always beat the wannabes. Because they worked for it while the wannabes were trying to learn to shoot on the internet.
 
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Okay. Then, what's changed since 20 years ago?

Shooters were mortal human beings and just as talented. So that can't be it.

Shooters had access to affordable ammunition for practice. So that can't be it.

Equipment was just as good. So that can't be it.

I can't think of anything. What could it be? What's changed?
SCPT program in my area that I never had in my youth, and coaching. I started trap at age 36, and sporting clays in my early 50’s. Anthony, Zack, David have thousands of comp targets, and who knows how many practice targets. They started at a young age with a good instructor. I will never be as good as them at starting in my early 50’s. 20 years ago sporting in the USA was still a young sport. There was not even a course to shoot at in my area.
 

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20 years ago sporting in the USA was still a young sport. There was not even a course to shoot at in my area.
Make that 40 years ago, and you are more accurate
 

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I do think Big Bank type shoots should be challenging and more difficult than a monthly registered club shoot, but that should be accomplished with targets that are hittable by most above average competive shooters.....tricky lines, optical illusions, pairs that require you shift footing between shots, pairs that require you to take one shot earlier than the optimal break point are all ways to create a fun but challenging course for all involved.

With that said for the really big shoots (regionals and above) an idea that allows for both a reasonable course overall yet provides the ability to really put together something that challenges the Elite pro level shooters is for the top 10 or 15 shooters in the main to qualify for a "Super Main". Rather than the Super Main being a make or break style elimination event have it be a 50 bird layout with nothing but high level challenging targets. The scores from the main don't carry over so those 50 birds are what counts for the HOA championship. The main course is basically a qualifier for those top shooters and therefore can be set more reasonable without trying to decide between catering to the masses or the top shooters.
I see this as a very sensible compromise that is consistent with the financial and economic realities of the sport. I would prefer 100 targets for the shoot off, but that is just nit picking. Despite our best efforts at contention, this discussion has actually produced a really good way to meet the needs and desires of all shooters, thanks to a couple of creative contributors, buster45 and Lacyb. Can it happen?
 
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