New England Scholastic Clay Target Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1 What is the SCTP?

Question 2 Is it safe?

Question 3 Who are the coaches?

Question 4 Are the coaches trained?

Question 5 Do SCTP coaches receive background checks?

Question 6 What does it cost to participate in the SCTP?

Question 7 How do teams qualify to compete at the SCTP Nationals?

Question 8 How much does it cost to compete at SCTP Nationals?

Question 9 Which squads will benefit from the MassSCTP funds raised to travel to SCTP Nationals?

Question 10 If SCTP includes Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays, why are most teams shooting mostly Trap?

Question 11 Do SCTP shooters sometimes go on to become Olympic Champions?

Question 12 What is "Trap Shooting"?

Question 13 What is "Skeet Shooting"?

Question 14 What is "Sporting Clays"?

Question 15 What is the SCTP tradition of "shooting a hat"?

Question 16 How are SCTP squads built?
Q1. What is the SCTP? SCTP stands for “Scholastic Clay Target Program”. SCTP is a youth development program providing young people with a positive experience in the exciting and challenging sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays. The SCTP is designed to instill a set of personal values or character traits for fair play, compassionate understanding, individual responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline and personal commitment. These are qualities that will serve youth well throughout their lives and will be instrumental in helping each SCTP athlete reach his or her full potential.

Q2. Is it safe? Yes. According to national safety records of all the sports commonly played in the United States, the shooting sports are some of the safest. The Massachusetts Department of Public Safety agrees as well.

Q3. Who are the coaches? SCTP coaches consist of adult men and women who are passionate about the heritage of and participation in the shooting sports. They wish to pass on this passion to a younger generation.

Q4. Are the coaches trained? Yes. All coaches are experienced clay target shooters and possess either an NRA Shotgun Instructors Certification or an NRA Shotgun Coach rating. Here, in Massachusetts, most SCTP coaches have both. In 2009, the SSSF instituted an additional certification for all SCTP coaches which our coaches will be completing this year.

Q5. Do SCTP coaches receive background checks? Yes. In 2009 the SSSF instituted mandatory background checks for all coaches and volunteers associated with the SCTP. Additionally, here in Massachusetts, we also conduct C.O.R.I. checks regularly. This is the same system used by public schools to check the backgrounds of all their employees.

Q6. What does it cost to participate in the SCTP? Each team is funded separately so actual costs may vary. Some teams are self-sufficient while others are subsidized by a club or organization. The average cost is about $600 per athlete for the 2009 season.

Q7. How do teams qualify to compete at the SCTP Nationals? First, a team must participate in the state competition in the appropriate event (trap, skeet, or sporting clays). Then the top three squads in each division (Rookie, Intermediate, Senior) may go on to compete at the SCTP Nationals in Sparta, Illinois.

Q8. How much does it cost to compete at SCTP Nationals? From New England, it costs about $7,000 per squad to travel to SCTP Nationals and compete. Technically we could send a maximum 27 squads from each state (top three squads in each of three divisions in all three sports - trap, skeet and sporting clays) but we do not have the funds to do so. In 2008 we sent a squad to nationals from New England for the first time and they had a fabulous experience. In 2009 we plan to send two squads. (see Question 9)

Q9. Which squads will benefit from the MassSCTP funds raised to travel to SCTP Nationals? The top SCTP squad overall at the MA State Trap Shoot will be the first to receive funds to travel to SCTP Nationals. The second squad will be drawn at random from the first place squads in the remaining categories at the MA State Trap Shoot. Members of the winning squads will be required to pay a portion of their travel expenses, usually $200-$300. The balance will be paid by MassSCTP, assuming we have raised enough money.

Q10. If SCTP includes Trap, Skeet, and Sporting Clays, why are most teams shooting mostly Trap? Trap is currently the most organized clay target sport in New England. Each year we are growing the program to include more opportunities to learn and compete in Skeet and Sporting Clays. See our calendar of events for dates and locations.

Q11. Do SCTP shooters sometimes go on to become Olympic Champions? Yes! SCTP alumni Vincent Hancock and Corey Cogdell won gold in men's skeet and bronze in women's trap, respectively, at the 2008 Olympics.

Q12. What is "Trap Shooting"? "Trap Shooting" has been a sport since at least 1793 when it used real birds. In the late 1800's, live birds were replaced by glass balls thrown into the air by a "sling-like" device. Soon after that, the familiar clay targets we use today were introduced. There are many versions of this game including American Trap, Doubles, Handicap, Olympic Trap and Olympic Double Trap. Modern trap shooting is set up with one house that releases targets and the shooters move through 5 different shooting positions, called "posts". It is unknown to the shooter which way a target will fly.

Q13. What is "Skeet Shooting"? “Skeet Shooting” was created in 1920 in Andover, Massachusetts, by a small group of upland game hunters as a means to practice their wing shooting. A “round” of skeet involves 25 targets from two houses (low and high) from eight different positions, called “stations”. You start with four targets at Stations 1 and 2 (first a high house single, then a low house single, then doubles). At Stations 3,4 and 5, you shoot just the high and low house singles. You shoot singles and doubles again from stations 6 and 7. At Station 8, each shooter shoots a high house target only. After everyone has shot a high house, the order is repeated for the low house. The shooters who have “gone straight”, breaking all 24 targets, shoot their option shot at Station 8, low house, for a 25 straight. Records are kept for different shotgun gauges (12, 16, 20, 28, and .410 bore). Skeet is also an Olympic sport.

Q14. What is "Sporting Clays"? “Sporting Clays” began in England as a method of preparing for the hunt. Targets representing various game birds and animals were used to sharpen a hunter’s skills. Sporting Clays has been described as “golf with a shotgun” because of the following parallels. Golf is played on a course, as is Sporting Clays. A golf course changes from time-to-time, as does a Sporting Clays course. Golf is a game of thought, rhythm, smooth movement and timing; as is Sporting Clays. A golf course consists of a series of holes, while a Sporting Clays course consists of a series of stations. Each hole in golf has a Tee, while each station in Sporting Clays has a stand from which the shooter fires. A golfer will study the hole and select the proper club for the shot at hand. A Sporting Clays shooter will study the target presentation and select the proper choke and shot combination for the upcoming shot or shots. Sporting Clays is considered by many to be the most difficult of the clay target sports. Top scores in Trap and Skeet are consistently at 100% while the top Sporting Clays Scores are only about 93-95%. Participation by female shooters is the fastest growing part of Sporting Clays!

Q15. What is the SCTP tradition of "shooting a hat"? When any team member hits a perfect 25 targets in a registered competition, SCTP tradition dictates that the team gets to celebrate by "shooting his hat". The member's hat is filled with clay targets and thrown into the air so the rest of the team can shoot it before it hits the ground. This process will transform a regular hat into a "lucky hat".

Q16. How are SCTP squads built? The SCTP has three divisions which are based on each athlete's current year in school. The Rookie Division is for athletes in grades 5 and under. The Intermediate Division is for athletes in grades 6-8. The Senior Division is for athletes in grades 9-12. Both the Intermediate and Senior divisions have two "categories". Intermediate is broken into "Entry Level" (for athletes in their first year of the Intermediate Division) and "Advanced" (for athletes in their 2nd or 3rd year of the Intermediate Division). The Senior Division is broken into "Junior Varsity" (for athletes in their first year of the Senior Division) and "Varsity" for athletes in their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of the Senior Division. The major benefit of this system is that it prohibits the process of "cherry picking" the shooters with the highest averages and placing them in the same squad. "Cherry Picking" is counter to the letter and the spirit of the SCTP and is strictly prohibited in the SCTP handbook.
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