O.R.P.A. State Team Development for the Nationals
by Ed Shank, Long Range Team Coordinator
As a person listens to conversations about the vast amount of time and money spent on load development, practice, matches, reloading, rifles, replacement barrels, scopes and all the associated equipment, one must come to the conclusion that all of this is being done to excel at this sport. When I first started deer hunting I was given some advice that I have never forgotten. I should get the best rifle and scope I could get, so that I did not have to worry about my rifle or scope, only my shooting abilities. The same idea holds true for shooting at paper targets regardless of what type of firearm is used. The key is to get the best equipment one can mustard and the rest is up to the shooters ability. The only way to improve scores after that is time on the range. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. This also applies to a team’s success. A lesson on team performance can be learned from the small-bore junior team. The O.R.P. A. small-bore team shoot together all year long as a team, whether it is in a practice or at a match. We also can find this strategy in the winning teams at Camp Perry, regardless if it is small-bore, high-power, civilian or military.
My intention this year is to develop a Long Range Team that practices and fires matches prior to going to the Nationals at Camp Perry this year and into and past 2015.Historically, teams are formed by either a group of four shooters sending in applications together requesting to shoot on the same team or by the team coordinator (me) finding the best mix based on past and recent performance and NRA classification. Typically, they learn the night before the match at Camp Perry who they will be shooting with. It is safe to say that a good team needs to be developed and spend time on the range as a team, with each other, whether it is discussing load development, rifles, scopes and most of all practicing and coaching with each other.
My proposal for team development is to select the best four Ohio long range shooters and group them on one team, which will be designated as The Gold Team. There could be a Gold team for any or all of the rifle divisions, (service, any, match, Palma). This team could be either chosen before or after the Nationals, depending on shooter’s commitment to be on the 2014 or 2015 team. The2014 long range team application will provide the appropriate boxes to check if you are interested on being on the 2014 or 2015 team. I also have not forgotten that not everyone has a High Master classification. In this case, if there are four shooters in a given division that show an interest for forming a state team, I would extend the same opportunity.
Since applications have historically been sent out in June, and in order to get some practices in prior to the 2014 Nationals, we need to start putting this together as soon as possible, I will email or make contact by telephone or in person as many of the past team members to see if they are interested. If you do not get an email from me, please contact me through the ORPA web site. Since the shooting season is just around the corner, I will be emailing applications out with the requirement of returning the applications by March 14, 2014.
For 2014, if there is a pre-organized team and a team member has checked the box requesting interest on being on the 2014 Gold Team. The shooter’s record and classification would be investigated to see if they would qualify. A call (from me) to the team captain of the pre-organized team would be made to notify them and get their input that one of the team members is a candidate for the Gold team. At this point, an alternate would be chosen to backfill the Gold Team member. This would insure that the pre-organized team members have four shooters and a firing point on the line. Conversely, the Gold Team members have the option after the Nationals to renew for the following year given they can still qualify for the Gold Team.
As far as practices, as of this time, there are two one thousand yard ranges that we can shoot at, for which I am a member of both. One is at Malvern, Ohio and the second is at the Oak Ridge Sportsman Association in Oak Ridge Tennessee. Once the team(s) is formed, we can discuss what arrangements we should make based on where and when. In order for this idea to work, there must be a strong commitment from each team member to make as many practices as possible. In summary, the objective is to provide the shooters their best opportunity at placing as high in the standings as they can get.