Trapshooting is a sport for all youths

Responsibility and sportsmanship
By: Roxie Rice/Courtesy
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Trapshooting is a shotgun-shooting sport that was first introduced in the United States in the early 19th century. The game has evolved into today’s American Trap with standardized clay targets and automatic traps (target throwing machines).

The Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA), trapshooting’s governing body, currently sanctions three trapshooting events, singles, doubles and handicap.

Singles is the only event in the California Youth Shooting Sports Association (CYSSA) trap program. Singles places the competitor 16 yards behind the trap (target thrower). As the trap oscillates, clay targets are thrown away from the competitor at various angles. One shot is allowed to break the clay target.

A squad of five competitors position themselves on an arc 16 yards behind the trap. In turn, each signals for a target, and attempts to break it. When five targets have been thrown for each competitor, they change positions moving one post to the right (post five goes to post one). This continues until each has attempted to break 25 targets.

“The California Youth Shooting Sports Association (formerly The California Scholastic Clay Target Program) started in 2001 with five kids. Now, in the 13th year, our membership is pushing 1,000 youth shooters from 37 Northern and Central California teams,” said Gail Miller, a board member and one of the founding members and past president. “In terms of numbers, our youth shooting program is second in the nation only to Tennessee who, as opposed to our program that is privately funded, is sponsored by their Fish and Game Department.”

The CYSSA clay target program is a team-based youth development program for school-aged youths (grades 12 and under). It uses participation in shooting sports to provide its participants with a positive, life-enhancing experience. The sport is designed to instill in its athletes a set of personal values or character traits that teaches fair play, individual responsibility, sportsmanship, self-discipline, and personal commitment – qualities that will serve them well throughout their lives.

CYSSA has 19 high school teams with shooters competing individually, as teams and as High Five Division I, II, and II competitors, contingent on school enrollment. The remaining 18 teams are formed from shooting clubs like the local Auburn Gold Miners and Coon Creek in Lincoln, often bringing in younger shooters.

“There are five or six teams in the incubator stage, ready to start next year. We are forming an outreach committee that helps the school or club in their beginning stages to apply for grants and organize the team so they get a better start,” Miller said. “Unlike football or basketball, which often requires certain physical attributes, in shooting, no one sits on the bench.”

Portions of this article were based on information from the CYSSA website. For more information visit