This month’s article is dedicated to the very first thing you are required to do when attending a major ATA-registered tournament: classification. While this may not seem like the most interesting topic for discussion, I assure you it is one of the most important. As a 26-year member of the ATA Central Handicap Committee and a six-year member of the ATA Rules Committee, the past few years I have witnessed a disturbing trend in the increase of handicap score disqualifications.
I’ve often been asked how I deal with pressure when shooting a good score. There is no easy answer to this question, and I can tell you my experience has been that handling the pressure of a good score is one of the toughest things to do. The reward, though, is a great feeling of accomplishment when you are able to put a good score to bed, despite the pressure. What follows are some of my thoughts on dealing with pressure situations and some techniques I have found successful in overcoming the negative effects pressure can have on your score.
Trap guns have evolved rapidly over the past few decades. When I started competitive shooting almost 50 years ago, an adjustable stock was dependent on how much moleskin you could affix to the comb. Adjusting the impact of the barrel usually involved a fork in a large tree or giving the barrel a few strong “whacks” over several bags of shot on the tailgate of a pickup truck. Fortunately, most trap guns today come with an adjustable comb and some come with adjustable ribs to change the point of impact (without bending the barrel!).