As the name suggests, the Olympic trap is an Olympic shooting competition that consists of six competitors taking turns to shoot at targets. There is a trench that’s about 15 meters from a shooting line that hides 15 clay traps arranged in groups of three each.
Each trap is set to throw the clay birds to specified distances at varying angles and elevations with 45 degrees being the maximum horizontal angle.
The competitors take turns at each stand, and then move to the next shooting line. USAS has put in place a shooting pattern to make sure that all shooters shoot the same clay targets but in a random order. This means that a competitor doesn’t know how the target will be thrown.
In the men’s events, shots are made for five and more rounds, while in the women’s events shots are made for over three rounds. Shooters who go through the qualification rounds, go to the semi-finals. Scores from the qualifying round are not carried forward to the semis.
The shooters with the third and fourth highest scores in the semis have to shoot another 15 targets for the bronze, while the highest and second highest shooters in the semis battle it out for the gold. In the event of a tie, the winner is decided by a shoot-out on stands four, three, and two.
Now that you’re acquainted with the basics of the sport, let’s take a look at what you need to do to become an Olympic trap shooter.
What You Need to do to Become an Olympic Trap Shooter
1. Meet the Set Participation Qualifications
Before you even think of picking up the gun, find out whether you meet the US shooting games stipulations laid out by various governing bodies.
First things first, you must be a registered U.S. citizen. Next, you need to meet all International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and International Olympic Committee (IOC) requirements.
You can find more information about these requirements on the official websites of these governing bodies. Be sure to check them out before you proceed.
2. Learn About Gun Safety
Once you have confirmed your eligibility to compete, you should get acquainted with the various guidelines of gun safety.
It goes without saying that guns can be dangerous when mishandled, especially at shooting competitions. Therefore, ensure you read manuals on gun safety as well as get hands-on gun safety training from reputable facilities.
3. Get a Coach to Train and Mentor You
Like any other sport, you need to have a good coach for best results in Olympic trap shooting. If possible, find a trainer with international experience.
Don’t be duped into thinking that you can do it all on your own. You need someone to help you build on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. A coach will also help you to network with relevant individuals and organizations in the sport.
4. Buy the Right Gun and Ammo
When buying a trap gun, ensure that you pick one that’s specifically designed for trap shooting. This shouldn’t be hard, considering the wide variety of trap guns on the market today. Some of the popular brands include Blazer, Beretta, Perazzi, and Krieghoff.
When choosing a trap gun, prioritize on durability and performance. A satisfactory gun is going to cost you a fortune, but it will be able to withstand the thousands of rounds you will be shelling out through the years – unlike most cheap guns.
And what is a good gun without the right ammo?
For competitions, there are specified types of ammunition that are used. These types of ammo should not exceed a payload of 24 grams, but should have a maximum velocity of 1410 feet/second.
5. Train Hard
Practice always makes perfect, and Olympic trap shooting is no exception. Register yourself with a nearby shooting range, bunker, or gun club and ensure that you work on your shots daily. Of course, you need to have regular sessions with your coach too.
Your training shouldn’t be limited to the shooting range or gun club. You also need to work on your physique, strength, flexibility, agility, and balance. This will help you to be super fast for fast-paced target shots.
You will also need to shoot several rounds repeatedly and train your muscles for strength and endurance to help you withstand the recoil force. You may also want to work on your cardio to help manage your heart rate in intense competitions.
The above five requirements are key to your success in USA shooting competitions. In addition to these, you may want to get your family, friends, and school to support you in pursuing your dream.
Getting to the Olympics has never been this easy!