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‘Tis the Competition Season The challenges of establishing a set competition calendar and how we’re trying to navigate them.

We are indeed in the heart

of the competition year! Com- petition is what USA Shooting is about. Our athletes spend count- less hours practicing for the opportunity to test themselves against others in competition and training for the opportunity to make the USA Shooting Team and represent the United States at international events. For our coaches and athletes

the competition season has be- come increasingly extensive over the years. Previously the domes- tic match schedule consisted of local events and a national championship. At the interna- tional level there was one world event annually with perhaps a European training event or two. Today’s competition calendar is much more extensive with junior and collegiate events, an ex- panded Junior Olympic program at the state and national level, selection matches and national championships. In addition, our allied organizations, including NRA, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the Scholastic Clay Target Program, American Legion and others host competitions and championships. Disciplines have expanded to include three- position air rifl e and progressive- position pistol as developmental programs. Internationally the ISSF sanctions four world cups, a World Cup fi nal and a champion- ship event each year. In addition, there are now many quality com- petitions that host participants from 10-30 countries in Europe, Asia and South America.

6 The expanded competition

opportunities have had a posi- tive impact on the progression of our sport in both participation numbers and higher scores. Skill levels have never been higher with competition opportunities being a key ingredient to that de- velopment. Increased competition op-

portunities do present additional challenges. More matches re- quire more fi nancial support for travel. More matches require in- creased time away from school which is a mounting challenge for both high school and col- legiate shooters. Our academic structure has become less fl ex- ible in allowing time away from the classroom. As a result, there is increasing pressure to conduct as many competitions in the va- cation break schedule as pos- sible, and it seems the school vacation schedule is shrinking as well.

Another competition chal-

lenge is avoiding scheduling confl icts as much as possible. USAS cannot set a competition calendar until the ISSF publishes

USA Shooting News | July 2013

their competition dates. Many of our members also participate in events hosted by allied organi- zations making coordination of schedules diffi cult. No one wants to hold an event in confl ict with another relevant organization, but sometimes confl icts cannot be avoided. It is indeed a com- plex process and we are grateful to our allied organizations that work with us to avoid scheduling confl icts as much as possible. Another perspective of event

scheduling is consideration of our staff and volunteers. USAS does not have enough staff and volunteers to host multiple competitions simultaneously. It is also a strain to hold consecu- tive events. This spring our Com- petitions Department hosted a two-week long National Junior Olympic Rifl e and Pistol Cham- pionship fi nishing in late April followed by an ISSF World Cup at Fort Benning, Ga. The Spring Selection shotgun match started at Fort Benning before the World Cup fi nished. Our staff and vol- unteers returned home approxi- mately one week before return-


ing to Fort Benning to conduct the National Championships for Rifl e and Pistol followed by the National Shotgun Junior Olym- pic Championships in Colorado Springs. This was a busy time indeed for volunteers and staff. We cannot thank our volunteers enough for the job they do and the time they commit to serving our athletes and organization. We are frequently asked why

we do not establish a consistent schedule from year to year thus allowing better planning for all concerned. With an ever chang- ing ISSF schedule, we must co- ordinate our events with theirs and plan our events accord- ingly. When scheduling selection matches, team training, host deadline requirements and trav- el planning must all be factored into the scheduling process. Competition is a prime USAS

focus as it is where we interact with the largest portion of our membership. It is through com- petition that we see our mem- bers develop into the medal winners of tomorrow and for all to enjoy the Olympic shooting sports. It is that satisfaction that makes us eager to host the next competition. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information on the 2014 ISSF calendar, please scan the QR code below.

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