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Junior Programs and Athlete Development
For junior shooters seeking an introduction to Olympic-style shooting sports, the USA Shooting Youth Programs and Athlete Development division is the right place to start. The program is managed by 1976 Olympian and nine-time US National Champion, Michael Theimer.
USA Shooting is dedicated to the development of youth Olympic/international shooting sports. We are focused on the development of aspiring, dedicated junior athletes that will someday represent the United States of America in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Shooting Championships and other international competitions.
There are many programs available through USA Shooting and partner organizations. Where a youth may not have excelled in other sports, shooting sports do not require a participant to be the fastest, tallest, or strongest. It does require—or will teach—patience, determination, organization skills, mental and physical control, safety awareness, goal setting, problem solving, and good citizenship/sportsmanship.
We have many aspiring junior athletes who have traveled to competitions outside the US (e.g. Munich, Germany, Beijing, China, Plzen, Czech Republic). USA Shooting provides the support necessary so that our junior athletes can achieve their goals and dreams. You have to compete with the best to be the best.
USA Shooting Junior Membership
Junior USA Shooting members can register for USA Shooting sanctioned competitions that provide exposure to international shooting rules, shoulder-to-shoulder competitions and visibility of their skill progression that will earn them opportunities to make the National Junior Development Team.
There are three age categories for juniors at all national USA Shooting sanctioned events:
- Junior 1 (J1): ages 18-20
- Junior 2 (J2): ages 15-17
- Junior 3 (J3): ages 14 years or younger
Juniors can compete successfully within appropriate age ranges.
College Age Juniors
There are several programs associated with college age juniors, and most do not know that there are college scholarships available for talented pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters.
The NRA has an excellent search feature to locate colleges with shooting programs (and local affiliated ranges). NCAA college rifle programs offer scholarships, but those colleges with shooting clubs may or may not have scholarships available. Click here to search for colleges with shooting programs.
Brad Donoho, program manager in the Civilian Marksmanship Program, wrote an excellent article about how to choose a college with a shooting program.
Other Youth Program Resources
If you are interested in becoming a certified rifle/pistol/shotgun coach, please visit the NRA training website to find a coach certification course near you.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is an excellent source of youth programs, equipment, ammunition, targets, training materials and competitions.
To learn more about the fifteen Olympic shooting sports, click here.
For a children's gun safety video from the NSSF, click here.
For more information about Olympic/International Youth Shooting Sports
Youth Programs and Athlete Development Coordinator