By Chad Whittenburg, Head Coach, Martin Methodist University Trap and Skeet team
Here are a few simple tips and proactive measures that can make all the difference in your pursuit of shooting or landing a scholarship at the collegiate level.
1. Keep a shooting journal
From the moment you start shooting, I would recommend keeping a scores journal. While many of the NGBs do a great job of keeping track of your shooting records you should do so as well. Keep track of ALL shoots you participate in and the score achieved. (Yes, even the bad ones.) You should list the date, the name of the shoot, and the score hit out of how many.
2. Be a good student
Probably most importantly, continue to excel in the classroom. Most colleges would prefer you have at least a 3.0 high school GPA. You’re no good to a college or university if you are academically ineligible, so being a good student is a must!
3. Be a well rounded shooter
Don’t be a one-trick pony. To attract the interest of colleges or universities, you must become a very well rounded shooter within the different shotgun disciplines. Certainly becoming a specialist in one area and obtaining such honors as All-American status is a great resume builder, but at the collegiate level, you have to participate in multiple disciplines. To be of the highest benefit and value to your potential college or university, strive to excel in multiple disciplines. Most colleges compete in six major disciplines: trap, skeet, sporting clays, five stand, international wobble trap, and international skeet. Some teams may also participate in international bunker trap.
4. Start contacting schools early
Lastly, if you wait until your senior year to start contacting schools, in most cases you will be too late. This is especially true for those schools with scholarship dollars. It’s always helpful to get on the recruitment radar your sophomore and junior year of high school. Sometimes it’s as simple as a phone call or an email to the coach to let them know you’re interested, what year you will graduate, and perhaps providing an updated resume. Keeping up with frequent communication and dialogue with the school is crucial in the recruitment process. And if I can offer one more piece of advice it would be to not put all your eggs in one basket. This is college-level athletics. Things are budget driven and can turn on a dime. A minimum of three colleges should be your selection process.
Good luck! You’ve got this!