November 19th, 2009

Palma Team Tryouts Complete — Report from Butner

SFC Emil Praslick III sent us this report on the U.S. Palma Team tryouts at Camp Butner, NC. You can read other reports from Coach Praslick on the U.S. National Rifle Team Blog.

Last Tryout in the Books… On to the National Team
By Coach Emil Praslick

It was a hardy and intrepid group of US Palma Team hopefuls that braved the last vestiges of Hurricane Ida last weekend at Camp Butner, North Carolina. Camp Butner is the home range of the North State Shooting Club, which hosted the US Palma Team’s third and final tryout session. Temperatures in the 40s, winds from 20-30 mph, and a driving rain tested the mettle of both coaches and shooters.

Palma view through scopeUS Team Captain, Dennis Flaharty flung his net across the entire United States in a search for the best team shooters. By adopting a regional format for the tryouts, and separating the country into three areas (West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast), the team maximized the potential for attracting the best shots our vast nation has to offer. The three venues were: Sacramento, CA; Lodi, WI; and Butner, NC. At each venue, the top performers were invited to become members of the United States National Developmental Team.

New Team Tryouts Format
The format for the tryouts was different than any ever conducted by the United States. In the past, these events were held very much like individual matches. Shooters were evalauated by the scores they shot in a series of matches. While this undoubtedly picked the best individual shooters, those who experienced difficulty doping the wind, or those who simply shot during more difficult conditions, were often deselected early in the process. The current procedures call for shooters to be supervised by coaches at all times. This not only removes a shooter’s ability to negotiate wind from the process, it also gives the team management the opportunity to evaluate prospective coaches and to work on firing line procedures. Shooters are graded on their ability to shoot “elevation”, their speed, and their overall performance as part of the team.

The intent of forming a National Developmental Team was to establish a pool of skilled, international-quality shooters; not only for the upcoming 2011 Palma Match in Australia, but as the nucleus for future teams. The US National Team has an ambitious schedule for 2010, with trips to Canada, Camp Perry, Raton (NM) for The Spirit of America Matches, and Australia.

Palma target centersThe next milestone for the US National Developmental Team is to finish the processing of the shooter’s elevation data, and to begin planning which shooters will represent the United States at the planned events. Shooters will then be evaluated in match conditions and recieve further training/evaluation prior to the final Palma Team selection in the Fall of 2011.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers who assisted with the target pulling, scoring, running the firing line, and the host of myriad tasks that are necessary to conduct an event of this complexity. I would also like to thank the coaches who coached 400 rounds per day at 1000 yards with no complaint. It was a grueling (but very beneficial) exercise for them. We will announce the final US National Developmental team soon.

TWITTER: You can also follow the US National Team on Twitter. Visit for the latest news.

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