Should I train my son to be a world class shooter?


June 3, 2004, 10:50 PM
I was thinking about the stories of Jelly Bryce and all his shooting skills. I am wondering if it would be worth training my sons to shoot like that someday. My wife and I don’t’ presently have any kids, but I am expecting to have a couple in the next 2-3 years. I think part of the reason he could shoot so well was he started at such an early age. Why not start my sons shooting .22 pistols when they are 5 and then work up from there. I could get them a really nice 22/45 with one of those Pac Lite barrels we could shoot thousands of rounds for years with little cost. Then when they hit ten move them up to a larger gun and start shooting the action shooting scene.

There is always the chance that my sons won’t like shooting and that is something I need to prepare myself for. I see so many people that are the best at what they do, and most of them started at a very early age. Look at Tiger what age did he start putting? Last week I shot at a USPSA tourney and there was a kid shooting who was probably around 11. He walked real slow, but sure shot a lot of A’s.

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June 3, 2004, 10:59 PM
I have two sons, ages six and four. I hope that they grow to enjoy the shooting sports as much as I do. I believe it is my responsibility as a parent to provide the exposure and the opportunity. Let them choose their own interests, and then give them encouragement.

As children are very impressionable, I try very hard not to push my children in any direction. There's nothing more sad than parents who live vicariously through there children.

June 3, 2004, 10:59 PM

But let him choose it on his own. Make sure he knows it's a special thing, but let him choose it.


June 3, 2004, 11:01 PM
You should train him/her as much as is needed to give him/her respect for the guns, knowledge of safe handling, and as bonding as you two see fit. The "World Class Shooter" part is up to him or her.

Old Fuff
June 3, 2004, 11:03 PM
While you may play an important part, in the end it's up to the kid himself. They have to be very focused and very determined. But the right kind of boy or girl can do it. One youngster I know (actually a young man now) said he would be on a U.S. Olympic team when he was 12 years old - and in 1996 he was.

Against all odds .... Winners win.

June 3, 2004, 11:05 PM
Teach him to be safe and to be able to defend himself, anything beyond that should be at his own request (hunting, CMP, IDPA, CAS, etc).


Standing Wolf
June 3, 2004, 11:11 PM
I hope your children have the chance to become world class shooters. I believe we'd be a happier, saner nation if all children had the chance.

June 4, 2004, 02:23 AM
World class anything is not made, but a talent that you are born with. If the natural talent and ability is just not in them then pushing them will only frustrate them. Give them time to see what they enjoy and they will probably be the best they can be persuing goal.
Just because daddy wants you to be the best rarely does that work out that way.

Double Maduro
June 4, 2004, 02:45 AM

There is the very real possibility that your sons may be daughters. This isn't necesarily a bad thing.

One of my granddaughters is on her way to out shooting me, I think that with practice I can hold her off for a year or two but not much longer.


June 4, 2004, 05:01 AM
Well, ya don't want to push kids into it, but I didn't have to push either of my sons into shooting. I have a hard time holding my six year old back, actually!;) (I'm making a new stock for the .22 every kid in our family has learned to shoot on from my Dad down. Dad, my uncle, me, my sister, her two sons, my two sons. My 5 year old neice just learned on a BB gun while my Dad was visiting from Texas.) My 6 year old will be able to shoot the .22 again, and better, since I'm shortening the stock some. If Daddy does it, (and Mommy , too, from the pics you posted a while back:cool: ) they will want to, also. (Something to keep in mind vis-a-vis all the things you do you don't want them doing....!)
But first ya gotta have kids, sturmruger! :D And there is nothing wrong with teaching daughters to shoot, as well as sons. (Actually, they will probably shoot better !) :p

June 4, 2004, 08:13 AM
Every kid needs to have an interest completely separated from school.

That said teach them to shoot when age appropriate. Don't force them to a level in which they have no interest in participating. Just enjoy the time together and the lessons learned. If it turns out they have the interest, genes, time, money, drive, and values necessary to go high class competitive--great.

Childen need to be allowed to be well rounded. Our societal drive to make them specialists early on hurts them.

Let kids be kids.

June 4, 2004, 09:16 AM
Probably pay better to teach him golf.

June 4, 2004, 09:25 AM
Double Maduro you raise a good point. There is no way that I can be sure that I am going to have sons. If we had all girls I think my wife wants them to do a more traditional sports so me getting them to the range twice a week would probably not happen. Many good points here. Don't worry I am not planning on being one of those tyranical fathers that makes his kids do something they don't enjoy.

June 4, 2004, 10:08 AM
I'll second the notion that a lot of the potential for being a "world class shooter" is natural. The story on Jelly Bryce mentioned that he had both excellent eyesight and phenomenal hand eye coordination. Those traits, coupled with his love of shooting, helped to make him as good as he was.

When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to learn from a number of excellent marksmen (snipers, Camp Perry champs, Olympic shooters, etc...) Through genetics and such, my eyesight is nowhere near perfect and my hand eye coordination isn't as good as theirs either. While I could learn and execute the proper techniques, I just don't have the same natural ability that these men do. I doubt I'll ever be as good as they are, but I still love to shoot, I continue to get better and I keep trying to learn. In the end, the real gift isn't talent, but a love and appreciation of the sport. I still treasure a good day plinking at the range with my dad more than any trophy I have or haven't won.

June 4, 2004, 10:50 AM
I don't think it's a matter of innate ability. I know a few IPSC Grandmasters (including one who's only 21) and they got there through hard work and practice.

And I don't see why a girl has any less shot of succeeding at the shooting sports if she has the drive.

June 4, 2004, 11:05 AM
I'd start your kids on airguns.
They are easier on the ears than .22s, even with ear protection.
The fundamentals are very important with air guns, and once learned well, carry through to other guns.

I started my kids on an air rifle at six or seven.
The boys moved rapidly to .22s. Both shot competitively by age 12 or 13.
The oldest is a good shot, but doesn't make time to practice much now. (He did when we shot bowling pins at the late Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot.)
He hunts with me now and then but doesn't love it as much as I did at age. This might change if he puts a deer in his own freezer this fall. It's been a long time since his first one went into my freezer.

The youngest shows a lot of talent. I think he has the potential to be a great shot, when he grows into the guns I have available.
He is the most athletic of my kids. Shooting fits in with that.
I'd like to see him become a distinguished rifle and pistol shot, but only if he wants it enough.
A shooting scholarship to a university somewhere would be nice too.

June 4, 2004, 01:33 PM
Whatever you do, don't just "push" them. Make it fun. If you try to force your kids to perform well at something that they don't enjoy then they will rebel against it. My Dad was a drag racer, and to this day I absolutely hate working on cars. Lots of baggage there. :)

June 4, 2004, 02:38 PM
WHAT!? She'd deny her daughters the pleasure of shooting that she enjoys? Time for a spanking! [excited girl voices] A spanking, a spanking! And then comes the ...[/excited girl voices]
Seriously, (Don't hurt me LeAnne!) yes, girls might not want to go shooting as much as boys, but they shoot at least be given the opportunity to try it. They might get as big of grins on them as their future mother has in your range pix.!:D

Hey, it's for the children!

June 4, 2004, 03:50 PM
Time for a spanking! [excited girl voices] A spanking, a spanking! And then comes the ...[/excited girl voices] God I love Monty Python.

"Castle Anthrax?!"

Navy joe
June 4, 2004, 03:56 PM
Well, you can look at Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters and think it is possible. Look a little harder and you will see an absolutely neurotic parent who is still way too into their adult child's life. For everyone of them that has natural talent and makes it, there are thousands that drop out and hate their parents for life because they always did what someone else wanted to. Hell, I had to step away from the material love of my life, race cars for about five years, just because of the pressure of trying to do something with a parent. Now I can't stay away, but it's my choice. World class shooter, I'll stick to getting myself there. I'll never be #1, but I'd like to make it to the World shoot, and when I'm older Camp Perry on my shooting merits. My children will do what they want, I'll just support them some.

June 4, 2004, 04:10 PM
Just think about the groupies man!!:evil:



June 4, 2004, 05:49 PM
Your child may turn out to be a World Class participant in some activity. They may also learn to hate that activity if you as a parent blow it with the pressure thing.

My son is becoming a good shot already at 8. Frankly I don't care if he is ever a WC shot and I couldn't care less if yours is either. I like fishing too, but I would not cross the room to meet the all-time fishing champ whom ever that may be.

I want my child to be a happy, well adjusted adult more than I want bragging rights while he is growing up ...with all the issues I see bragging rights leading to with some other parents.

Shooting is my sport and I love it in every way. I hope my kids do also but they will not be compelled to play my games if it bores them.

The good news......
My son shows a passion for shooting.......he already has a name for one of his rifles and he can and will "hang in there" with it.

Many more kids could be excellent shots IMO than can be excellent football or tennis players. Few will be WC in any field.

Start thinking now about how you will control the kiddos exposure to lead if you want them to shoot a lot AND have a good health outcome. It should be the 5th rule of gun safety.


Mil Novecientos Once
June 4, 2004, 09:05 PM
Should I train my son to be a world class shooter?

Only if s/he wants to be so. Don't push them, let them choose if they really want to be in any sport at all.

June 4, 2004, 09:10 PM
There's no shame in it as long as thats something they want to do.

I forsee you spending a whole lotta money on ammo.

June 4, 2004, 09:17 PM
You know, I love shooting more than almost any other activity I do. Maybe that's why I can't imagine anything sadder than someone who doesn't want to shoot being forced to practice...

If your kids like to shoot after being taught safe handling, then I think you should do your best to see that they progress as far as they can or want to in the shooting sports.

If they don't want to shoot, or only have a slight interest, then don't push them into anything.

June 4, 2004, 09:22 PM
Also, FWIW - I think its great when a son takes interest in something a father does. The only problem is when it gets burdensome and the kid winds up doing something they hate just to resent their parents.

The above is spoken with experience.

June 5, 2004, 08:26 AM
Your daughters may not want to shoot much because in lots of subtle and not-so-subtle ways, they'll hear that its not something they should enjoy. Go out of your way to make sure that doesn't happen.

June 5, 2004, 12:01 PM
Good advice Barb. Thanks

June 5, 2004, 02:06 PM
what type of shooting are you wanting to get them in? i can only talk from my experience(smallbore prone and 3-position, and air rifle). there is not a very large calling for world class marksman out there, so how is this gonna benefit their lives? are looking at it as a career for them? rob leatham and some others make some pretty decent money shooting, but i don't know of any smallbore shooters that don't also have a "real" job. another aspect of this is that there are several colleges(as of now, who knows what will happen in 20 years) that have varsity shooting teams. i recieved an athletic scholarship to shoot on a schools rifle team. so one way of looking at it is that it could be a way to help pay for college. if your child is good enough(male or female) they can make it onto the army marksmanship unit. i knew several shooters that were on the AMU. it is nice if you can get there cause then you do have a job where they pay you to shoot. they are flown all over the world and shoot in competitions.

know this though, smallbore shooting is a very expensive endeavor. i don't know how it compares to other styles of shooting but a weekend match can cost several hundred dollars. i was shooting up to 3 matches a month. you have ammo, food, gas, hotel, match fees, souvenior money, movie money on top of all the equipment costs which can easily reach $5000-$10,000. not to mention practice ammo, 4 nights a week of practice..........

it can get expensive quick, and if you have 2 kids into shooting that is twice as much $$$$.

Dan Forrester
June 5, 2004, 02:23 PM
Teach him math, physics, chemistry, and biology.


Mark whiz
June 7, 2004, 08:12 PM
Hell yeah - teach 'em to shoot!!! :D

as long as they WANT to. Forcing them won't be productive.

If they will, start 'em on airguns. My 16yr old started in Sporter airgun 3 years ago and will be shooting in the 4-H Nationals at the end of this month!!! That is SO cool! :D

It CAN be an expensive sport...................but ANY sport is, if one gets serious about it. The boy is still Shooting his $250 Daisy 853 and it shoots as well as either of us can shoot - so $2000 Anschutz aren't always necessary.

The good thing about learning airgun first is that you can set up a practice range in the yard, and shoot PLENTY, cheaply. PLUS, airgun (due to the low pellet speeds) is the most difficult arm to shoot. If you can shoot an air rifle well - you can shoot ANY rifle well.

June 9, 2004, 04:33 PM
I wish my parents "encouraged" me to do competitive shooting as a kid instead of "encouraging" me to play soccer, baseball, swimming, and other sports that I never was really into. That said I'm 22 and still have a lot of time to get really good (not world class) at shooting.


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