Coaching While Shooting for Score

O Great One: (The Editor)

We are a shooting family, father mother and 14 year old son. We have
always looked up your home page when browsing around the web. All three
of us compete regionally (New England) and I have been to a couple of
National Tournaments on the East Coast.

We have been members of a privately owned sporting clays club for almost
2 years. At this club there are three leagues a year, two for 13 weeks
and one for 20 weeks in which we all participate in with enthusiasm. We
noticed that the owner/operator and certified instructor has a select
few shooters he coaches each week for their league score. There are a
few others that take advantage of this coaching on an irregular basis. I
have read every rule book that I can find and I have found that coaching
in any sort of way is forbidden. I feel that whether itís a 100 bird day
shoot or 50 birds for 13 weeks, itís still a tournament. Is this a
common practice or an unfair advantage to these certain people.
Personally I always felt that this was an individualís sport not a team

Yours Truly,

Michael Chapman

Dear Michael,

Roland and I are co-editors, but since he forwarded this to me I will
put in my two cents. Roland’s opinion may be different.

Usual tournement etiquette is that there is no coaching while the
shooter is in the stand preparing to take his targets. It is very common
for shooters to receive advice just before or just after they have shot.

The purpose behind the rule of no coaching while in the stand is simply
one of expediency. It slows things down too much for the other shooters.
That said, many shooters in the box will turn to a friend and ask “Where
was I on that one?” That is why certain shooters just love to shoot as a
team when they can. The no coaching rule is strictly enforced in FITASC,
but I have not noticed it enforced very stringently in English sporting.

Since you are shooting for fun in a league, why don’t you do everything
possible to take advantage of the instructor’s knowledge? Get him to
help you too. Margot Fontaine took dance lessons from her coach until
the day she hung up her toe shoes. Don’t fight it, join it.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck

Dear Michael,

If you are shooting for score, there shouldn’t be a coach by your side
teaching you the shot as you shoot. But if you are out of the shooting
box, and a fellow shooter, who is your coach and is in your squad
discuss a target before or after it is shot, off to the side and out of
earshot of any other shooters and in a manner as not to slow up the
squad, well, I can’t say that is wrong either. But you two shouldn’t be
discussing the shot, before or after, while you are standing in the box,
holding up, or breaking the concentration and timing of other shooters.

NSSA rule III-C-g states that you’ve got 15 seconds between shots. I’m
sure there are similar rules for other shooting disciplines. The rule’s
there because in competition you are there to shoot, not get a suntan.

Roland Leong

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4 Responses to Coaching While Shooting for Score

  1. Dennis Bosch says:

    As a coach

    1) I don’t think its ever a good idea to shoot and coach at the same time. Its to much of a distraction.
    2) SCTP strictly forbids coaching while in the box.
    3) Missing and loosing is a great way to learn and grow as a shooter.
    4)Take a photo of your score card and use it for your next lesson.

    Thanks Coach Dennis Bosch


  2. Michael………you have heard from Bruce and Roland, now hear it from an Instructor. It is NEVER acceptable to coach a student during any competition. As an instructor our goal is for the growth and learning of our student. It is not to hand he or she the brass ring by any method possible. I have a 15 I have been coaching for about a year now. He started in E class, is now in AA, and is 5 punches from Master. He is 32nd. in the Nation in Sub. Jr., and has grown by leaps and bounds in a year. In a tournament this year I was shooting on the same squad as him. On the last station I knew he had to run the station to shoot his first 90. I was up before him, and I missed the first target, then ran the rest. I knew he may misread the first target as I did, and it would have been easy for me to coach him as I walked off the stand. I said nothing…..well nerves got to him, he missed 2 targets and shot 88. By me allowing him to “fail” on his own, he learned way more than I could have ever taught him by walking him through the targets he was about to shoot. I am a firm believer that once the first bird has been thrown, we as instructors must keep our mouths shut. When we try to help other competitors, we are doing a great disservice to our students, the other competitors, and acting unethical to ourselves. There is a time for shooting, a time for talking, and a time for teaching. In any competition, from the highest level in the sport, to our home gun club benefit shoot. Coach before, coach after, but during the event……….talk about the weather or what your date did last night…………not how to break the targets in front of you. Just my two cents……… three cents if the stock market keeps going up.


  3. Roland Leong says:

    We may be both wrong. In the 2015 NSCA rule book, I couldn’t find any reference to a time limit between shots for NSCA only FITASC 7.5 “The maximum time allowed to shooters between single or double targets is twenty seconds. If a shooter exceeds this time the referee will issue a warning to the shooter and then apply Article 12.2.” I guess sporting shooters can take their time between shots…


  4. Bill Beinert says:

    NSCA rule 7.2 allows 20 seconds between shots


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