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SSSF Launches Modernized Coach Education Programs

March 12, 2020 – By Tom Davis

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) understands the vital role that volunteer coaches play in the success of youth shooting sports. With new teams being activated through programs such as the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) every day, the need for a simple, efficient and comprehensive path to coach certification is realized as the SSSF Basic Coach Certification Program.

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation has worked in partnership with Kalkomey Enterprises to create ShootingSports-Ed.com, a platform for shooting sports education needs. Current course offerings include Basic Shotgun Coach and Basic Action Shooting Coach certification programs. SSSF anticipates launching other educational offerings for shooting coaches and athletes in the future.

The Basic Coach Certification Program is designed for prospective coaches wishing to start or join a youth clay target or action shooting sports team as a coach or an adult volunteer. The intuitive, primarily online-based curriculum certifies coaches to work with beginning and novice athletes involved in the shotgun sports of American Trap, American Skeet, and Sporting Clays, as well as the pistol and rifle disciplines of Action Shooting. The curricula covers information and skills needed to guide a shooting sports team such as Safety and Risk Management, Fundamental Marksmanship, Coaching Standards and Ethics, Publicity and Fundraising, and more.

The affordable, online-based curriculum is mobile-friendly and can be completed on your favorite devices anywhere in the world, 24/7/365. Both courses consist of 13 units packed with images and videos. Coach candidates can start and stop coursework at their convenience from the comfort of their home.

Coach candidates must complete a range day within 6 months of completing the online portion of the course to finalize their certification. The SSSF typically works with state partners, including DNR/Game & Fish agencies to provide the half-day range portion of the training. Range days are entirely hands-on with coach candidates shooting and coaching to learn skills that cannot be taught in a virtual environment alone.

Current state partners hosting range days in 2020 include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, and New Mexico. If there is not a range day in your immediate area, you may travel to the next closest range day session, even if it is in another state. If there is adequate, local demand (minimum 20-30 coach candidates), SSSF will work with you to bring a trainer to your area.

In an effort to grow volunteer coach participation on local shooting teams, SSSF will be providing funding to team endowment accounts held at the MidwayUSA Foundation for coaches who complete an SSSF Basic Coach Course and join a local SCTP or SASP team. Teams will receive $200 in team endowment funding for each coach who successfully completes the online and range day portions of the course then subsequently registers for the first time on an SCTP or SASP team.

The SSSF Basic Coach Education Program was made possible, in part, by a multi-state grant through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant project had involved numerous partners including Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Arizona Department of Game and Fish, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, New Mexico Game and Fish Department, Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association, National Sporting Clays Association, Pheasants Forever and Larry and Brenda Potterfield.

Curricula support for the SSSF Basic Coach Education Program was provided by Adam Jardines, Annie Unsell, Blaser, Browning, Cardinal Shooting Center, Centerburg Youth Shooting Sports, CZ-USA, David Miller, Dean Townsend, Eliot Jardines, Ed Fitzgerald, Tom Yost, Steel Target Paint, GLOCK, Gnosis Solutions, Hodgdon Powders, Kalkomey Enterprises, Action Target, Ruger, NextLevel Training, Kansas City Steel Raiders, Liquid Image, Inc., Mantis, Matt Hopkins, Michelle Cerino, Mid-Carolina Young Guns, Mill Creek Rifle Club, Promatic, Rock Road Productions, SCHEELS, SIG SAUER, Thaddius Bedford, Tony Monzingo, White Flyer and Winchester.

For more information or to start your Basic Shooting Coach Certification, go to www.ShootingSports-Ed.com.

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation Awards Over $100,000 in Scholarships

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August 2, 2019 – By SASP Staff

Rafe Nielsen (left) presents Grace Marlen a scholarship check at the SCTP National Championships. Grace shot a 200 x 200 with a Browning and won a shoot-off with two others to claim the prize July 20 at the Cardinal Shooting Center
The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation through their Scholastic Clay Target Program and their Scholastic Action Shooting Program awarded 126 youth athletes over $100,000.00 in college Scholarships through their scholarship program and at the 2019 National Championships in Marengo, Ohio last month.

Tom Wondrash, National Director noted, “this is the first time our combined programs were able to award our Youth Athletes and their families over $100,000.00 in college scholarships. We could not have done it without the generous support of our program sponsors who continue to step up and support this initiative”.

In addition to the scholarships awarded to SCTP and SASP youth athletes that apply for these awards,at this years National Championships special scholarships were awarded by Browning, Beretta, and Blaser USA. In order to be eligble, athletes must have shot a Browning shotgun in 16 yard singles trap, a Beretta shotgun in the skeet event or a Blaser shotgun in the sporting clays event.

Winners of those scholarships include:

Browning Trap: Grace Marlen (St. Louis, MO), $7,600
Beretta Skeet: Graham Eubanks (Eatonton, GA) $4,000
Blaser Sporting Clays: Baylor Garland (Eatonton, GA), $5,000
“The smiles on the faces of our athletes that are awarded college scholarships makes it all worthwhile” said SASP National Director Rick Leach. “College is such a significant financial commitment for all our youth athletes and their families. These college scholarships, no matter what the amount are something the youth athletes themselves can contribute to the effort”.

For a complete list of all the 2019 SCTP and SASP College Scholarship winners, click here.

SASP ATHLETE ATTEMPTS “GM SWEEP”

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February 12, 2020 – By Tom Davis

Ryan Flowers, a Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) athlete on the Clemson Action Shooting Team is on a mission.


A goal that is focused on racking up Steel Challenge classifications. Grand Master classifications to be specific. In every division. As we spoke with him, we found out that his pursuit of the “GM Sweep” is really more about proving one thing: that shooting is shooting.

Ryan Flowers, at just 22 years old is the 1st and only 11-division Steel Challenge Grand Master and the 2019 Steel Challenge Single Stack World Champion. But we all begin somewhere.

“I was watching Shooting USA on the Outdoors Channel and saw coverage of the USPSA Nationals,” says Flowers. “I saw all the big pros like Max Michel run the course and I thought it was pretty cool.” Like many new shooters, Ryan found his first competition by doing an internet search that came back with a local IDPA match he could try his hand at. “I did pretty bad,” chuckled Flowers. “I thought I could shoot before I got there and ended up finishing in the middle of the pack. This lit a fire under me to practice and get better.”

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From then on, Ryan began finding action shooting sports like USPSA and Steel Challenge to compete in and like many of our athletes, he and others formed their own SASP team at Clemson University.

When asked how he got involved in the Scholastic Action Shooting Program, he plainly responded, “There wasn’t a shooting team, so we made one. Andrew Jezewski contacted me once the team was established and at first, I wore a lot of hats. Founding member, President, Recruitment Manager, Training Scheduler, you name it. We wanted to create a team-based experience for Clemson students, so the SASP was the perfect program for that.”

By this time Ryan had already started making a name for himself as an individual competitor, especially in the world of Steel Challenge. The action shooting sports typically foster friendly and supportive communities, despite the fast and fierce competition.

However, Ryan soon understood the positives of having a team-based atmosphere to compete in, something fundamental to the SASP experience.
“The team scoring shows how well you can get four individuals shooting together comprehensively”, said Flowers. “It also shows how well you work together as a team and how you’ve brought up everyone’s skills to a certain level when it comes time for the match. It’s not just your performance that matters anymore. You’ve got three teammates that are relying on you to perform and vice-versa.“

“Another great thing about the team is the ability to take people who otherwise would not be able to financially get into the sport and even people who would normally be intimidated about shooting matches, we can help them and encourage them when they are first starting out. The majority of our members had never competed in a match before or even really shot a firearm before. It’s all about furthering the shooting sports.”

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Last season, Clemson University came back from the Collegiate Nationals with medals for 3rd PCC and 2nd in the 1911 division.

Ryan himself secured male overall wins in Centerfire Pistol, 1911, PCC, and Iron Sight Rifle. When not focused on SASP competitions with his team, Flowers actively strives to achieve what is called the GM Sweep in Steel Challenge, who’s competitions follow a similar format to our SASP matches. The sweep requires the competitor to achieve Grand Master-level mastery in every division, something that has never been done before.

Even now, Flowers is in a league of his own as the first in history to earn 11-divsion Grand Master certifications, his current record.
“We’ve learned from practicing SASP stages during the season and transferred what we know about shooting steel over to Steel Challenge competitions,” detailed Flowers. What I find enjoyable is being able to shoot other guns on these stages. I got my first GM classifications in Rimfire Pistol Open and Irons. Then I started thinking, if I did this well with these two, how well can I do in other divisions? By the time I got to three or four, at that point I thought, maybe I can get all of them?

It’s fun to be able to go from shooting an Open gun, to a revolver, to a pistol caliber carbine on the same stages. Something I’ve learned through achieving a high level of mastery in many different kinds of firearms, the principle is the same. When you sit down to analyze, “how can I shoot rifle and pistol better,” you can break it down even further and simply ask “how do I shoot the gun the best? “ At that level, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between divisions. When you approach it this way and are honest with yourself, it can really take your comprehensive shooting to the next level.”

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Ryan’s final two GM classifications to achieve are Irons Sight Revolver and Optic Revolver. Young SASP competitors often begin challenging themselves in additional kinds of action shooting competitions such as Steel Challenge and USPSA. The former, is often regarded as the ultimate test of drag racing with pistols and rifles. However, a very interesting fact is that in terms of participation, the SASP National Championship is the largest action shooting event in the world. This incredible achievement is all done with youth athletes like Ryan. The future for the action shooting sports looks bright!

SASP Collegiate Nationals begin March 13-15th at CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, AL. Squads begin each morning at 9am with afternoon squads beginning at 1PM. Awards to follow last shots Sunday afternoon.

We are looking for volunteers to help as scorekeepers or safety officers for Collegiate Nationals. Volunteers will be entered into a drawing to win guns and other prizes for each 4-hour shift worked! Sign up here

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