How To Join a Youth Action Shooting Sports Team
Junior shooters (competitors under the age of eighteen) are the future, but what can we do to introduce more of them to shooting sports? Enter the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) whose youth shooting sports teams are growing throughout the nation in record numbers year after year. In fact, since 2019, the SASP’s National Championship holds the record as the largest action shooting event in the world, a title previously held by the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF).
Action shooting matches such as USPSA, Steel Challenge, 3-Gun, GSSF, and IDPA are an individual’s sport where a competitor sees how they measure up against everyone else at the end of the day. Although each of these sports in the world of shooting recognizes top junior shooters with category awards, the SASP is where youth are truly measured and recognized as junior athletes.
Introducing the mechanics of team sports gives shooting athletes life skills, values, and friendships that contribute to becoming productive young adults. The SASP is proud to provide a youth program in which athletes from grade school through college can compete and grow in a sport where there is no such thing as being “benched”. Nearly all shooting sports offer a level playing field where success can be achieved without respect to gender or athletic ability that often drives traditional “ball sports”.
The action shooting matches of the SASP operate much like Steel Challenge in which competitors try to connect with five steel plates of various sizes and distances, with a designated “stop plate” that signifies their last shot fired for the total string time. Five strings are attempted per stage, with the slowest being dropped from the competitor’s score. This sounds familiar but an individual athlete is part of a squad of four, who’s times are totaled together for a total time on each stage. Behind each shooter both figuratively and literally, you will see a supportive group of coaches, teammates, and families cheering them on. Like other youth sports, adult volunteers typically serve as head coach or other supporting roles.
As both a means of introduction to shooting sports and a safety component, SASP athletes begin from the low ready position in all disciplines. Youth athletes may participate in the SASP using rimfire rifles, rimfire handguns, pistol caliber carbines (PCC), and/or centerfire handguns.