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Parent and athlete information – Buckeye Elite Shooting Team (BEST)

Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) team


What is SCTP? SCTP is a national program designed to promote youth participation (SCTP refers to youth shooters as athletes) in the clay target shooting sports (skeet, sporting clays).  Please website see for more information:

To participate in SCTP events and programs youth athletes have to belong to an SCTP team.


Why have an youth SCTP team? SCTP team youth are able to 1) receive coaching (free) from SCTP-certified coaches, 2) compete in youth tournaments as a team, 3) benefit from reduced shooting costs (clay targets and occasionally shells) that clubs will grant if youth are shooting with an SCTP team, 4) benefit from shooting with other kids, 5) be eligible to participate in youth summer camps at the Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs (two camps per year for 8-11th grade), 6) be eligible to compete in the National SCTP championships in Sparta, Illinois.


Why Buckeye Elite? Is the team only for experienced youth shooters? We named the team “Buckeye Elite ” to attract youth from around the region who want to become great shooters. We are happy to accept youth who have not shot a lot or even at all if they are willing to work with the coaches and be prepared for the fact that it will take time and practice before they hit a lot of targets.


When will practice start? How long is the season? We will start practicing once the weather warms up in the spring. Possibly from spring break on. The season will end around Thanksgiving or whenever it gets too cold to shoot. Shooting in cold weather is not a lot of fun. Although for those interested pheasant hunting begins in October at local pheasant preserves and is a great way to finish up the season.


What are the goals of SCTP and Buckeye Elite? To help youth athletes develop a positive and safe attitude around shooting / guns and an interest and skills in clay target shooting sports that lasts a lifetime.  We will work on attitude, knowledge and skills with the youth team, with the right attitude being the most important. The youth should have fun and feel accomplished in a safe supportive environment with kids and adults working together. Most of our team coaches are retired or do not have kids on the team so they are giving up their time to help foster an interest in shooting sports in the next generation of Americans.

Interesting fact: US Olympic team shotgun shooters have medalled in the Olympics multiple times and average age is 45.


Who are the coaches and what are their certifications? Our coaches have extensive training and are certified by either the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA), National Skeet Shooting Association (NSSA) or National Rifle Association (NRA). These certifications require coaches to undergo long and expensive training and have a high standard of shooting skills.


How will the safety of youth be assured? Our team coaches will work with the youth every time on gun safety. Safety is our first priority. Some of the ways in which this will be assured include: 1) shotgun are never loaded until the youth shooter is on the shooting pad with an instructor, 2) only enough shells to shoot the target(s) 1-2 are loaded each time, 3) shotgun are only ever pointed down-range or up in the air or towards the ground even when unloaded, 4) shotguns are always carried and placed in racks with the open chamber facing outwards so that they can always be seen to be unloaded, 5) youth always arrive with unloaded guns and shotgun shells stored in a separate container. We spend a lot of time going over gun safety, 6) we will instill in youth the attitude that gun safety is everyone’s responsibility and must never be compromised.


Does my athlete need his own shotgun? Yes. Youth must have their own shotgun. They can bring a borrowed shotgun but it must fit them and pass safety inspection by the team coaches. However, we highly recommend that parents do not buy a shotgun before talking with the coaches about what type to buy and especially how to ensure that you pick the right sized gun for your child. If you buy a gun that does not fit correctly your athlete may not be able to shoot it very well and get frustrated so please talk to the coaches before making any purchases.

Typical pump action: $300+.

Autoloading (semi-automatic) $600-1200.

Over/under break action: $1200+.

Used shotguns may be a good option if they are in good condition and fit your athlete well.

Shotguns will need to be fitted with removable choke tubes so that shot spread can be varied. Recommended choke tubes: Improved cylinder, improved cylinder/modified, modified.


Should my athlete shoot 20 gauge or 12 gauge? Yes 12 or 20 gauge are good. We do NOT recommend .410 or 28 gauge as the shells do not have a lot of shot so hitting the targets is much more difficult even though the recoil is less. 20 or 12 gauge works best. Rule of thumb: 9-13 year olds shoot 20 gauge; 13 years or older 12 gauge. But it depends on the child's size, strength and experience. Again talk to our coaches if in doubt.


What does my athlete need to bring / wear to practice ?

1. Comfortable clothes that you/they don’t mind getting a little dirty (grease / oil from the shotguns).

2. Sturdy shoes / hiking boots that you/they don’t mind getting muddy

3.  4 boxes of shotgun shells (12 or 20 gauge; 9, 8, or 7 1/2 shot) in a carrying box (plastic ideal:

4.  Shooting glasses (mandatory)

5. Ear protection (mandatory)(foam plugs are ok, but electronic noise cancelling headphones really nice, ~$55

6. shotgun shell pouch ( or shooting vest

7.  Baseball hat (optional)

8. Shotgun (12 or 20 gauge) (see suggestions for buying)

9. $20-25 for targets

10. Snacks / lunch

11. Great attitude and desire to improve your skills !


What NOT to bring to practice:

1. Old ammo that someone gave you

2. Shotgun shells with #6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,00 shot

3. Loaded shotgun

4. Handgun or rifle (please only bring shotguns and only one per athlete)

5. Bad attitude / horsing around

6. Flip flops


What are the costs to be on the team?

1. Youth will need to bring $20-#40 to each practice to pay for clay targets (typically 100). Target cost depends on the club but the head coach will also send out an email beforehand letting parents know the cost. 

2. Youth will need to bring 4-8 boxes of shells to practice (25 shells per box) of either 12 gauge or 20 gauge shotgun ammunition (#8 or #71/2 size shot). Cost of a box of ammo is usually $6-8.  Walmart usually has the best prices but with coupons Dicks sporting goods can be fine. Youth cannot purchase ammo, it must be purchased by adults.

3. Team shirts are $26.75 - see Shirts page.

4. Annual fee for being on the team is $250 (check should be made payable to Buckeye Elite Shooting Team).

5. Share in cost of gas if getting a ride to a tournament/practice greater than 2 hours away.

6. Membership to the clubs that we will going to is optional but might be worth considering if you plan to shoot with your athlete before or after team practice.


How often will the team go to competitions / tournaments? 3-6 times a season (Spring-Fall) we plan to take the team to either the SCTP state tournament and the SCTP Nationals. We also go to other skeet and sporting clays tournaments, including the state championships most years.


What if my athlete doesn’t want to compete or we can’t make the tournament(s)? Our team practices are geared around developing competitive shooting skills and not going to tournaments will soon make your child feel left out as most of the team goes to most of the tournaments. 


Can I shoot with my youth athlete? Parents can not shoot with youth during practice but are welcome to shoot with their athletes either before or after practice.  You will need to pay the club for any target costs. Some clubs may ask you to become a member if your family wants to shoot at the club. We have permission for youth on our team to shoot at some clubs but this may not extend to adults or other family members if they are not members. Please check with the club what their requirements are.


Our family has an old hunting shotgun can he use that? Possibly if it is 1) safe and 2) the appropriate gauge and size and 3) is improved cylinder or can take choke tubes. Please talk with the coaches.


How do we know when practices and tournaments will be? We email parents when we will be holding practice and going to tournaments. If in doubt please feel free to email or call the head coach. To be on the email list however youth need to be signed up with the team and have paid up team dues for the year. 


Can girls shoot too? Yes SCTP is open to girls and we have girls on the team. Girls shoot just as well as boys. 


What clay target disciplines will Buckeye Elite be shooting? We shoot 1)  clays, 2) 5-stand sporting clays, 3) skeet (American, skeet doubles and Olympic / International skeet). We will occasionally shoot trap and if trap coaches join the team we may increase the amount of trap we shoot.


Should my athlete bring lunch or snacks to practice? Yes if they are going to be hungry! We will ask all youth to wash their hands before eating as powder residue from shooting is not a good thing to ingest.


Can my athlete leave practice early? Yes if you pick them up and talk to a coach before they leave.


Which club or clubs will the team be using? We will hold practice at several clubs in the south-west and middle Ohio region (Sycamore, Middletown, Cardinal, Cherrybend) so that the youth 1) get experience shooting on different sporting clays courses as each course will help them develop their skills and 2) so they don’t get bored of going to the same course every time. We also travel to other clubs further away (1.5-2hours) so that the youth get practice on different and more difficult courses.

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