Getting children started in sports at a young age is a healthy way for them to burn off their energy, build confidence and improve their focus. Yet when it comes to the shooting sports, heavy guns can be too much for small, young participants to handle: Enter the Progressive-Position Pistol (PPP) program.
In 2008, the PPP program was introduced to create an opportunity for children, who are ready, to begin their shooting sports involvement at an earlier age. Young athletes take their shots through a supported air pistol (a pistol secured to a stand) which removes the task of holding a weighty gun and allows young shooters to focus on proper hand positions, acquiring their front sights, aiming and other fundamental skills. Through their three categories of basic supported, standing supported and one-handed standing, the program takes young pistol shooters through a natural progression from PPP to higher level pistol competitions hosted by USA Shooting and the NRA.
“PPP is growing and we’re really happy to see it,” said Steve Faught, USA Shooting assistant national team pistol coach. “It’s a grassroots, developmental program and we’re trying to reach kids at a younger age while teaching competitive shooting. It seems to be working well.”
Young athletes from all sports need to develop confidence at an early age. When they feel confident in their sport they will learn the essential skills and knowledge to help them excel. The PPP program is designed to give young shooters confidence, by removing the feeling of being overwhelmed or inadequate by a cumbersome gun. Assistant National Team Pistol Coach Eric Pueppke says, “We want to get more people in the pyramid coming up to get to our national teams…. It [the PPP program] provides an avenue for younger people to get started.” Many champions of the National Junior Team and National Junior Olympics started in the PPP program, and due to the increased popularity of the program, many more success stories are to come.
This weekend, July 31st to August 2nd, 145 PPP athletes will be competing for national titles and the coveted Junior Olympic Squad status. Two venues will carry out the PPP National Championships, (Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Fort Benning, Georgia), to bring in as many competitors as possible and attempt to alleviate costly and time-consuming travel.
Orion Scoring Systems will be used to track scores at both locations, and final results will be announced Sunday shortly after the final match.Please visit USA Shooting for more information on the PPP program.