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   Through a new partnership between NRA and ATA, the National Rifle Association has written a Coach School curriculum to focus solely on Trap. The new Trap Coach School program will provide ATA with coaches credentialed by both ATA and the NRA.

   Let’s start with a discussion on the difference between an INSTRUCTOR and a COACH.  An Instructor leads a class in learning a certain subject or skill and then the attendees go their separate ways with their knowledge.  With a focus on competitive shooting, a Coach provides shooting athletes with long-term mentoring and leadership specific to the individual’s needs, often developing lifetime friendships while influencing their performance on and off the trap field.  The Coach also develops the skills of the shooters over time, guiding them by helping them formulate training plans and goals.  The objective of ATA’s Lead Trap Coach Instructor, Jim McDiffett, is to instruct classes of potential coaches, providing them with the knowledge and skills to become effective trap coaches and subsequently mentoring this cadre of coaches in their efforts to develop new trapshooters.  Upon successful completion of the course, the new Level 1 Coaches will go into the field to develop or strengthen a youth trap program at their club, such as an SCTP team, or to provide coaching to adult shooters who wish to become better competitive shooters.  Over time and because of the work of the Coach, such programs and teams produce new trapshooters, strengthening our organization and ensuring the future of our sport through recruitment and retention.

   To date, two NRA/ATA Trap Coach Schools have been held (Texas and Michigan) and have been very well received by the attendees.  Three more Trap Coach Schools are scheduled, Wichita, Kansas, July 28-29; Cicero, NY, September 10-11; Tuscambia, Alabama, October. 13-14.  Several more are in the planning stages.

   Everyone age 18 and over is welcome to attend any Trap Coach School, but you are urged to request one to be held in your locale.  Here’s how!  You will need:

(1)    Contact - The person who will coordinate Coach School plans with the ATA Director of Youth Development, the ATA Lead Trap Coach Instructor, and the Coach School host.

(2)    Attendees – Classified trap shooters in your area who work with kids or want to work with kids, beginning adults too.

(3)    Facility – A classroom large enough to hold your attendees and suitable for a power point presentation.

(4)    Trap Field(s) – A tenet of the Coach School is “TPI” or “Total Participant Involvement” which means you will be using information from the course to instruct others during a live fire exercise.  You get to shoot too!

   The advantage of scheduling a Coach School at your club is the cost savings as the instructor(s) comes to you instead of all of you traveling to the instructor(s).  The cost of the course, including curriculum, three years’ credentialing, and the instructor, may range from $150-$200 per attendee.  Apply for a Friends of NRA grant to cover the cost of the curriculum [] or, soon, a grant from ATA’s Youth and Education Fund [].

   The NRA/ATA Trap Coach School curriculum covers safety, the fundamentals of shooting, equipment, rules, the shot process, coaching methodology and ethics, sports psychology (mental training), and building quality shooting programs.

   THE NEXT STEP: For Level 1 Coaches 21 or older who have shot registered targets and  who wish to progress up the coaching ladder, Level 2 requires successful completion of the ASEP (American Sport Education Program) Coaching Principles Course, which may be taken on-line, and a First Aid course.  Level 2 Coaches with five years shooting experience may also apply to the NRA/USA Shooting National Shotgun Coach Trainer to be considered for selection to the Shotgun National Coach Development Staff or NCDS.  NCDS is a system of highly qualified coaches who have been hand-selected and trained to instruct discipline-specific Coach Schools. Ultimately, with Trap NCDS members scattered across the country, clubs won’t have to go quite as far to find a Coach Instructor.

   Candidates for the Trap NCDS must meet the following initial requirements and must submit documentation of their eligibility to the NRA/ATA Lead Trap Coach Instructor for consideration:

(1)   Be a member of the NRA/USAS Shotgun NCDS

(2)   Be a current ATA member in good standing

(3)   Show registered ATA targets within the past 5 years

(4)   Submit a Letter of Interest, including a summary of shooting and shooting instruction/coaching experience and a copy of your ATA membership card

   Upon approval of the ATA Lead Trap Coach Instructor, ATA will notify the candidate of his/her selection to the Trap NCDS and copy the NRA/USAS National Shotgun Coach Trainer.

   For more information or to schedule an NRA/ATA Trap Coach School in your area, contact Edie Reynolds, ATA Youth Development Director, 937-546-0055,, or ATA Lead Trap Coach Instructor, Jim McDiffett, 785-587-7800,


Shoot on over to the ATA!

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