Fastest Growing Youth Team Sport
-Clay target shooting is the fastest growing varsity High School sport in the US. While other sports such as Football, baseball, soccer, and softball will always have a large number of participants, Clay Target shooting has experienced an immense increase in the number of competitors. High Schools across the country are adding Clay Target to their athletic programs at a record pace. Over the next few paragraphs, we will discuss how to get your child involved in this challenging and exciting sport.
It is also interesting to note for those concerned about putting a firearm in the hands of their child, Clay Target sports are the safest of all high schools sports. There are no sprained ankles, broken bones or concussions. There has never been one documented firearm related injury in High School Clay target shooting outside of a sore shoulder. Safety is always paramount with safety briefings provided before all practices and competitions, along with being under the watchful eye of certified instructors. There are several avenues that provide a path to involvement for the clay sports. All of these offer a viable and legitimate route to competition. Here are the most common.
High School Clay Target Teams
– More and more high schools across the country are offering Clay Target as a Varsity Sport. Schools throughout the country are adding this sport at a record pace. Regions such as the Midwest, that were once Trap or Skeet focused are now shooting multiple disciplines(skeet, trap, and sporting clays.) In most states you will need to have your child attending a private school or Christian School. In Georgia, for example, the GIAA (Georgia Independent Athletic Association) and GAPPS (Georgia Association of Private and Parochial Schools) are two school associations offering Clay Target as a Varsity sport with a State Championship for participating schools. Below you will find links to both of these associations. Other states have similar associations. You can search and find a local school in your area. Several states do have some form of public-school participation. The US Clay Target League is another great organization involved in youth participation. This organization has shown incredible growth and now has 1000’s of participants in 34 states. Some associations offer Middle School programs for those in 6th grade and up. As you can see there are several options for getting your son or daughter in a school sanctioned program.
Scholastic Clay Target Program–SCTP
=The SCTP is a fantastic organization and is the premier youth shooting program in the country. SCTP Nationals, held every July in Marengo Ohio, hosts thousands of kids from all across the US. To understand more lets look at the SCTP Website…”SCTP provides kids from elementary through high school and college with the opportunity to participate in the fun and challenging sports of Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays, as well as the Olympic disciplines of Bunker Trap, Trap Doubles and International Skeet. SCTP is the official feeder program to USA Shooting and a path to the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team.” SCTP is an outstanding program and has hundreds of teams and thousands of youth shooters. It is easy to find a team. Ask at your local club if they have a SCTP practicing at their facility or see the link below to find one near you.
-4-H Is another great option for getting your son or daughter involved in the shooting sports. From the 4-H website…”the focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program stands out as an example. Youth learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. The activities of the program and the support of caring adult leaders provide young people with opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth, and conservation ethics.” Thousands of young shooters are involved in 4-H in approximately 37 states. You can find your State coordinator here:
NSCA, NSSA, ATA
-All of these Clay shooting organizations that individuals of all ages can join. These groups promote their respective disciplines whether its skeet, trap and sporting clays. It is necessary to be a member in order to shoot registered tournaments. These tournaments are held all over the country and provide opportunities to show your skills in a class based system that supports all levels of competition.
Your Local Club:
Perhaps the easiest and most often overlooked opportunity to get your youth involved in Clay shooting is to just visit your local club. Most of the organizations listed above will participate out of a local area club. Ask the person behind the counter and they should be able to provide you with all the information you need regarding who to reach out to in your local area.
There are many options for getting your son or daughter involved in Clay Target Shooting. Many kids enjoy the sport so much that they shoot on multiple teams along with shooting individual tournaments. Whichever path you choose you will need to make sure your child has completed a safety course such as a Hunters Education course. Once they have that and are proficient in safety then find a team and have a lifetime of fun.