So you want to be an All-American? It is no secret that it takes a lot of time and money to get there. You’ll have to shoot at least 7,000-10,000 registered targets per year, as well as countless practice and league rounds. Beyond those prerequisites, it requires skill and commitment.
Skill – selection to the All-American team is based on objective criteria. Nobody makes the team because their daddy knows the right person, or because someone has a secret agenda and you’re a part of it. That’s the beauty of it all. If you win, follow the rules, and qualify, you make the team. Simple, right?! At least in theory!
Commitment – I spent the first two years on “the circuit” and reached new heights each year. State championships, Zone championships, perfect scores, AAA in singles, you name it. I was 15, a two time All-American, and on top of the world. I shot practice on Mondays, league Wednesday and Thursday(sometimes), and tournaments Thursday through Sunday.
I also was on the bottom looking up when it came to my other passion, baseball. There were some significant deficiencies in my game that needed work, if I was going to play varsity and college baseball. I knew that trapshooting would always be there and could come back to it when I wanted. Suddenly, shooting took a back seat to baseball workouts. We would find a batting cage at every shoot we went to – I had to maintain my baseball routine. Before I knew it, I could make the necessary throw from behind the plate to second base. I was hitting pitches to the opposite field for power. People were starting to notice my improvement.
There was one thing though. My shooting went downhill. Fast. After that summer, I barely made the Junior 2nd All-American team. The following year, I didn’t make any team. The year after that, I snuck back onto the 2nd team, but at the bottom.
The lesson I learned? Sure, there was some complacency that set in. But what really happened was I learned that you shouldn’t over-commit yourself to multiple interests. If you’re going to do something, give it 100% of what you’ve got and throw in another 10% for good measure.