Outdoor Articles

Why You Should Participate In Registered Shoots

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in Competition Shooting

I’m Not Good Enough to Shoot!

This is not true. Many new and casual trapshooters practicing at local gun clubs “for fun” believe they must shoot better to compete in the big registered shoots and shy away from the prospect of signing up. “I can’t beat them guys!” I also hear, “I just shoot for fun” as another reason why they don’t participate. Do you fall into this category? Let’s talk!

Let me assure you I fully understand your reluctance as I (and everybody else) went through the same thing, 1) You do not have to shoot better to begin competition shooting and, 2) It is more fun than shooting at the local club…10-times more fun! 3) It is perfectly normal to be a bit intimidated to the prospect of signing up!

Fear is the predominate factor to overcome…fear of shooting an embarrassingly low score. This fear is unjustified and totally unreasonable. If you attend any registered shoot you will see very low scores even among shooters who have competed for 20-years or more! I’m talking low 60’s in handicap! If you look at your own practice scores you may be surprised to see you are doing way better than that!

There is no reason to fear shooting a low score. Trapshooter’s at these shoots are very cautious of ‘racking on’ anyone’s scores as they are usually not very proud of their own scores! Everyone gets a dose of ‘humbling lessons’ at these shoots…as most everyone who attends loses! So your fear of losing and shooting a low score is not realistic, so you may as well get your calendar and mark it to attend the next shoot!


The fun factor of shooting registered targets is more fun than shooting at the club on Sunday’s. Many more functions are planned, larger banquets and fun-shoots like Annie Oakley’s and Buddy Shoots. There is the fun of taking mini-vacations out of town to meet new friends you haven’t even met yet. And at the Grand-level shoots your wife can take-off on excursion tours offered by the shoot promoter on shopping trips, museum visits, etc.

When the sun falls and the stars flicker above you can sit around and chat with people nibbling on tasty morsels of food they use to attract friends (it’s a dirty trick to get company but it works). So if you shoot for fun…you are missing out on the real fun if you don’t attend registered competitions.

Now for those who want to shoot better before entering competition and plan to practice until you get better? It doesn’t work that way! First, competition shooting is totally unlike practice and there is no comparison whatsoever. Secondly, you can practice all you want at the club and hit high 90’s in handicap and when you go to the registered shoot you’ll blow it and lose badly and that will crush your spirit greatly.

You will not be shooting against the pros! You will be assigned an entry-level class and you will shoot with other shooters with the same abilities you now have, more or less. So it is not inconceivable to actually go to a registered tournament shoot…and actually win it! It happens all the time. So there is no need to fret and delay. Pack your bags and get ready for the next registered shoot!
Sooner or later you will attend registered competitions. Many, many, many, shooters have told me, “Never will you ever see me shooting tournaments. It’s not my thing. Believe me.” And two-years later guess who I see shooting? Yep, it will happen to you too! If you keep shooting on weekends the day will come your friends will ‘go for it’ and eventually you will feel ‘left-out’ and join-in on the fun. Believe me, it is more fun shooting registered shoots than simply practicing on Sunday afternoons. Just try it once and see for yourself. You at least owe that to yourself to have some real fun, don’t you?

The day arrives you will get the urge to shoot better and to do this you’ll need to enter registered shoots.

Here’s Why

  • When you practice at the local club you are shooting on familiar ground.

    You know the traps, the targets, the speed and feel of the traps and targets, and the people around you will be upsetting to your natural squad-building at the registered shoot. This comfort zone will not be there when you attend your first tournament shoot. Everything will ‘look different’ and the targets thrown may be faster or slower or of a different color and this will upset your timing and sight pictures. The background scene will be strange and will cause eye-flicker. All of this will dump your scores for you have gained little to no experience of shooting at other clubs and variant conditions. So it’s a waste of time, energy and a life of fun to wait until you shoot a better score. Don’t make this mistake!

  • The formal nature of the shoot will upset your mind-set and the internal fears of shooting a good rank will be destructive to your final score.

    Competition stirs adrenaline like no other factor and it can not be generated at the club on a Sunday practice shoot. Try as you may…it’s impossible. So no matter how much you practice it’s all for nothing until you get your feet to the fire during competition itself. Only competition can elevate you to a new level.

  • To be a better shooter and to get your scores up you have to enter competition, and the sooner you do the better shooter you will be.

    The longer you delay the worst it’s going to be for you to compete! The better you get at the local club…the lower your score will be in the registered tournament event and that will create more fear and perceived embarrassment to you. If you delay…you pay. It’s all part of competitive psychology.

  • How are you going to learn if you surround yourself with shooters that are not top-notch trapshooters?

    Knowledge is passed on by pros to friends and to you at these shoots. Along with the actual experience of shooting competition…you learn! Your knowledge base remains limited if you only practice at the club on Sunday afternoons.

Do yourself a favor. If you love to shoot your shotgun, the registered shoot is the place you want to be! The time to join is now!

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