Originally Posted by Gerry and Jordan
The lack of youngsters in both F.T. and H.F.T. is absolutely staggering ,i shot the Nefta hunter at Ponty a few weeks ago with my lad, now bearing in mind this was our first comp for over 4 years the fact is that in the first round my lad was the youngest out there by some considerable margin he is .........20yrs old.
Not that many years ago this format was attracting junior entries in double figures.
What went wrong ? Is the equipment too expensive ? are the courses too challenging ? have the anti-gun lobby got to them ?
What ever the reason it needs addressing as a matter of urgency otherwise the sport along with all its supporting factors ,shooting grounds , shops ,suppliers etc are going to suffer and close down.
On a purely personal level i think a combination of the above factors are largely responsible for the general reduction in junior / new shooters coming into the sport.
A return to a less challenging competition series ,i.e. Nefta hunter would allow junior / new shooters to compete and get an insight into the sport without worrying about the expense of top line equipment and their own ability to get a respectable score this along with a sensible degree of on course coaching from more experienced shooters would go some way to encouraging new blood.
As i said earlier this is my own opinion on the matter ,but the fact that this topic has generated such a response suggests that i'm not the only one with these concerns.
By all means set courses for "A" and "AA"shooters but there is a down side to this.
Just to be pedantic, Thomas grace shot the NEFTA hunter and is 13.
BUT, i agree with what you are saying as he was the only Junior in the series which is really quite sad. I find it worse because NEFTA is one of the best regions (IMHO) for clubs and members. Normally on both FT and HFT courses there will be maybe 2 'gimme' targets that everyone should be able to get. It's all about finding the right balance of very hard, hard , tricky and gimme targets. we've had it before where a course has been set to be difficult and then the weather report was for high winds. The course setters decided to bring in a few targets only for the wind to not appear resulting in a shedload of very high scores. C'est la vie.
FT is a bit more restricted than HFT. For example at this years NEFTA series we had...
York- course was technical but with some partially covered kills/cage shots
Thorn Dell-course was downhill but with some partially covered kills/cage shots
Redfearns-not many mini kils and a relatively easyish course
Emley-old school technical with loads of reduced kills/tricky target placement.
Ponty-tricky positional shots with the odd obscured kill
Anston-old school HFT with a 50/50 split of easy/ very hard shots.
Every single one of those courses was different. That's very difficult to do with FT as it's expected to be able to get down on the cushion and clearly see the kill. Mind you i have to say that i have never shot a FT course that i would describe as boring...some can be a bit samey though with lane after lane of 55/45 yard targets. I've always thought that mini kills had no place in FT..BUT...if there are mini kills in the Euro and worlds comps then to keep your regions shooters competitive, you need to have them in your regions winter leagues.
Just to rewind a bit though onto the lack of Junior shooters. How do we reverse that?. The only way is to get publicity and start small with local rags. I know that it's not easy as i contacted all the local papers when Emley held the HFT Classic shoot in aid of a cancer charity, I even offered to write it and add a photo.
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