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Rancho Roy

Spotters...counters...

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I posted this on a Face Book SASS group and received enormous response. Folks said it should be posted over here....

 

SPOTTERS...COUNTERS...
What ever you call them, we need to talk. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems calling misses and hits has become quite bad. Not sure why. At Winter Range this past year I witnessed some of the worse spotting I ever saw. This past weekend I saw folks losing top ranking at a state shoot due to questionable spotting.
 Here is a rule to live by....if you even think the words “ I Think”...it’s a hit. If you say the words “ I Think”...it’s a hit. If you would like to go down range and inspect a target...it’s a hit. If you have no idea what the heck just happened...it’s a hit. The DOUBT...ALWAYS goes to the shooter.
 Stop looking at the other spotters fingers. Call them as YOU see them. 
 If you are a questionable spotter, DONT spot! It’s not a dishonor to not spot. Especially at a state and above shoot.
 If you are an RO and have someone that is not a capable spotter, ask them to man the loading or unloading table. Or expedite the line. Don’t embarrass them. Simply give them another job. 
 I don’t mean this to berate anyone, just an observation ..

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Rancho Roy, how would you define a "questionable spotter"?  Someone who makes a single mistake?  We can all make those mistakes, even at a big match like EOT or WR.  Just curious how you would define the cut without embarrassing them.

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It's getting harder and harder to spot for SASS as the targets get bigger and closer. Not complaining and definitely don't want to start a target placement war but as the gun speeds increase spotting gets harder. For me personally I feel like I win more than I loose because the spotter's aren't sure what happened.....and that's because the benefit of the doubt rule. 

 

So you have to keep that in perspective the few times you feel like it doesn't go your way. If you REALLY want to have some fun film yourself shooting. You can't use it (and I don't think you should be able to) but it's very educational. There have been times I have been called for a miss or a P and I would have bet everything I owned that everyone was wrong and what I thought happened was right......until I watched the video...…...lol

 

There have been a few times I watched and video and was correct (a missed was called but it was clearly a hit) but again you have to remember all the ones that went your way before you take a stand against the few that don't. 

Edited by Cowboy Junky
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Yes Junky, you win some, you lose some. Most likely more wins than losses... for everyone.

People do make mistakes, but pay attention and try to be a good spotter. Remember, the person you're spotting for may spot for you.

Give them the same attention you would expect. If you're looking at other spotters' fingers, you need to step down.

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The biggest problem I've had in big matches with spotters is that they cluster together and talk.  If one misses a call, then they all miss the call.  I've gone to making sure they spread out.  Between having different angles, less people to chat with, and not seeing what the other person called, the calls get better.

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You're right Rancho, at a recent State shoot I lost my first clean shoot due to incorrect spotting. One spotter saw the hit right where I thought it hit on the top right corner. He saw it ricochet and hit the shotgun target behind. 2 spotters said it was a miss due to the shotgun target falling. 2 other spectators and the scorer saw the hit. The 2 spotters wouldn't give in. I couldn't see closing three stages just to walk down and see if we could see the edger. The targets were also pretty shot up by that time as well. I'll get a clean shoot yet!

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Good post.  IMO other than the shooter, Spotters are the most important factor in determining who wins. Their ability to make the right call is paramount in this game. I totally agree that Spotting is becoming more difficult in today's game than it use to be. For some reason people will jump right into the Spotters position before they will assist in other needed positions. Too  many times I've seen Spotters "Asleep at the Wheel", just kinda standing there taking up space. It is a job that requires the person to be attentive and alert. A spotter should not be gabbing all the time , he/she should be closely watching the action. Since spotter provide feedback to the T.O., they need to have a good understanding of the rules. Very few people can maintain the attention needed to do a good job of spotting for the entire stage. Spotters need to take a break and hand it off to someone else that is fresh. I read the question about how do you know if a spotter is not doing a good job. Well there are a number of signs that would indicate that the spotter ought to be replaced. Constantly looking to see what the other spotters have before making their call, or constantly being out of step with the other spotters, constantly gabbing rather than paying attention. Trying to spot while sitting on his backside away from the action. Sorry about that, I know that some folks must sit down, I need to do it some myself, but you CAN NOT do a good job of spotting while sitting on your donkey. A spotter needs to be mobile so that he/she can actually see what is going on. A big match is not the place for a newbie to learn the art of Spotting.. we all need the practice, but there is a time and place for most things. Watching for the miss is a good way to make a good call if the surroundings are suitable, such as a dirt bay or such. Seeing where the bullet hits can offer major feedback as to a solid hit, an edge hit or a clean miss. Bottom line is that anyone in the Spotting position should be doing a good job, no excuses for age, infirmities, or anything. If you can't do a good job of Spotting, then don't get into the position. If you are the T.O. and don't like the way someone is spotting, then gently replace them.   

 

Snakebite

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One cannot be a good spotter while sitting and talking. One must pay as much attention as the shooter. Spotters typically are only good for 4-5 shooters, then they need to find a replacement. If there is movement on the stage a spotter will have to move with the shooter.

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4 hours ago, Rancho Roy said:

I posted this on a Face Book SASS group and received enormous response. Folks said it should be posted over here....

 

SPOTTERS...COUNTERS...
What ever you call them, we need to talk. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems calling misses and hits has become quite bad. Not sure why. At Winter Range this past year I witnessed some of the worse spotting I ever saw. This past weekend I saw folks losing top ranking at a state shoot due to questionable spotting.
 Here is a rule to live by....if you even think the words “ I Think”...it’s a hit. If you say the words “ I Think”...it’s a hit. If you would like to go down range and inspect a target...it’s a hit. If you have no idea what the heck just happened...it’s a hit. The DOUBT...ALWAYS goes to the shooter.
 Stop looking at the other spotters fingers. Call them as YOU see them. 
 If you are a questionable spotter, DONT spot! It’s not a dishonor to not spot. Especially at a state and above shoot.
 If you are an RO and have someone that is not a capable spotter, ask them to man the loading or unloading table. Or expedite the line. Don’t embarrass them. Simply give them another job. 
 I don’t mean this to berate anyone, just an observation ..

I won't argue with your comments about spotters as I was not where you have been.

 

However, a miss is only a five-second penalty. An inattentive officer at the LT or ULT can result in a SDQ.

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8 minutes ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

I won't argue with your comments about spotters as I was not where you have been.

 

However, a miss is only a five-second penalty. An inattentive officer at the LT or ULT can result in a SDQ.

Again, LT and ULT positions are much underrated and very important.

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8 minutes ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

I won't argue with your comments about spotters as I was not where you have been.

 

However, a miss is only a five-second penalty. An inattentive officer at the LT or ULT can result in a SDQ.

Yeah, but that's all in the shooter.

 

I tell my posses that when counting, if you go "hmmmm" when counting, it's a hit.

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(IMHO) When a new shooter comes to the line ... before starting the shooter ... the TO should turn and make eye contact with each spotter (and if necessary ... loudly announce ... "who are my spotters") ... allowing them to acknowledge they are ready/paying attention. 

 

In many cases w/ all the carts/people jammed up to the firing line ... unless the stage is fairly open (minimal stage fronts/windows etc) it is difficult for spotters to get into position to really see what is happening.   

 

Did you hear a ding??

spotters.jpg.a582854181fe67af9d14aa4d1a2aeb0b.jpg

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1 minute ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Yeah, but that's all in the shooter.

 

I tell my posses that when counting, if you go "hmmmm" when counting, it's a hit.

I knew someone would  come back with that reply. So, I had my answer in mind.

 

Yes it is. However, why man these positions unless the people there are competent to do their duties, which are to prevent unsafe actions.

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The thing is this is a competition. Someone spends $1,000's of dollars to go to WR or EOT and poor spotting costs them 2 or 3 positions. Top shooters are a few seconds apart at the end of the match. So if the TO needs to replace someone, too bad if they are embarrassed, this isn't T ball!

I have heard spotters say 'I didn't hear the ding/clang so he missed'! With light loads and dead targets you won't hear a sound for the hit. That and they''re looking around and yaking. When the shooter is done they look at the other spotters to confirm what they did. This is BS.

I shoot BP and cap and ball. I can't tell you how many times I've had misses called because they couldn't hear it or see it from the smoke. Recently the spotters called a miss. I asked where because I knew I had hit them all. one said pistol, one said rifle one said nothing. Me, the TO and the brass collector all said clean. But you can't over rule the spotters on misses so........................

And yes, monthly matches are just as important to have good spotters.

 

The other bigger issue is knowledge of the rules. Thats an even bigger problem. Calls made that are incorrect.

Ike

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I callem like I seeum.  I like 2 indicators for a miss.  see the dirt fly behind the target, no clang, its a miss.  I only need one to call a hit.  see the bullet hit the target, see the target wobble, hear a clang.  any of those are good enough for me.  If I see dirt fly I  look for an edge hit that may have occured.  I'll let other spotters talk me into a hit when I had it as a miss, but I never let another spotter talk me into a miss if I called it a hit.

 

Watching for Ps can be harder. especially for round count stages.    

 

If I lose track, mind wanders, out of position, got distracted or whatever i'll say I dont know.....clean 

 

 

 

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HA!!  You wanna have a gob of fun??  Try getting a clean match shooting BP categories!!  Wanna make it worse??  Try getting a clean match shooting Cap Guns!!  If you would like to experience the ultimate in the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, Shoot a match with .36 Cap Guns with pure lead ball.  The blind will in fact .... lead the BLIND.  If you are unwilling to pay attention as a spotter, and/or unwilling to say "dunno" ..... go do something else.

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There is a lot going on in each Posse(a team of nine positions in all) : PM, TO, Score Keeper, LT, Spotters, ULT, Brassers . In my experience, granted only 1 1/2 yrs, I find the Posse Marshalls set the tone for the success of the Stage. They make sure shooters are filling positions, paying attention, rotating jobs, and they help make the right decisions. When the Posse shooters accept these different responsibilities the shooting is safe, fun, and fair. I have had the great opportunity to have some of the sports best PMs: Assassin, Kid Bucklin, Sixty-nine Cent Wizard, Phantom, Diamond Curly, Pittsburgh Mac, and Stirrup Trouble. Each approaches the job a little differently, but all take their job seriously.

 

I have been in every role but PM and I knew the rest of the team was there for support and performing their roles well. I have made mistakes in every one of these roles but never with the intent of harming the score or safety of the shooter.  I believe this is the intent of all who take on these roles. It is unfortunate if a shooter feels their position has been harmed by a bad call but in my limited 300-400 stages, I have never seen a intentional bad call. So I say Stop Bashing Spotters or any of the others who are volunteering to help.

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One thing I've seen more and more of lately are people using their phones to video someone shooting the stage.  While there's nothing wrong with this there have been times that these same people are holding a spotting stick.  I've have a rule when I run the timer, you can't video and spot at the same time.

 

Kajun

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42 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

 

HA!!  You wanna have a gob of fun??  Try getting a clean match shooting BP categories!!  Wanna make it worse??  Try getting a clean match shooting Cap Guns!!  If you would like to experience the ultimate in the Blind, Deaf and Dumb, Shoot a match with .36 Cap Guns with pure lead ball.  The blind will in fact .... lead the BLIND.  If you are unwilling to pay attention as a spotter, and/or unwilling to say "dunno" ..... go do something else.

 

I've been lucky.  I've been shooting .36 caliber Colt Navys for the last few years and, to my knowledge, I don't think my spotters have ever called a miss on me when I've hit the target with one.  If they did, as my daughter would say "meh", so what?  I'll not fasch over it.  I'm having too much fun and I really like the Navy model.

 

I like to think I do a good job of spotting, but there is one shooter I will always hand off the spotter's stick for.  He shoots gunfighter really, really fast and quite often I can only hear one shot when he fires both guns at an imperceptible interval.  (I'd say the same time but then folks would complain that it's impossible to shoot two guns at the same time.)  If I can't watch two targets at the same time to see if both are hit and likewise can't tell which target was hit first (especially difficult if the targets are 5 yards apart) or even if two shots were actually fired then I'm not the spotter for you.  I once tried to call him for only firing seven shots instead of 10.  I got a bit of backlash for that, but I'd have sworn he only fired 7 shots.

 

Angus

 

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I have been honored to be a match director for a number of years and have been Posse Marshal at events up to Winter Range.

My Timer/ Spotter speech goes something like this...

 

Not everyone at this match has an expectation of winning - but everyone at this match hopes to perform at the best of their personal abilities on every stage.

 

It does not matter if the shooter is in contention for overall or midpack or last place.

 

IF the shooter is attempting to do their very best every stage - they deserve YOUR very best as a timer or spotter.

 

If at any time; you are unwilling or incapable of providing your very best performance by being attentive, aware and active - please hand off the duty to another

 

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8 hours ago, Cowboy Junky said:

It's getting harder and harder to spot for SASS as the targets get bigger and closer. ...

 

This does add to the problem of spotting due to things speeding up and less space between bang and clang.  Another thing is round count stages.  It's hard enough spotting for speedy people if you know where to look.  If the order they are shot confuses the spotter(s), it should be "no miss" but doesn't always work that way.

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Good speech Creeker!

 

Mine is along the line that we are all "here" for our own reasons... Respect each shooters reason.

 

When you're running the timer or spotting, you're like part of a team with the shooter. You do your best to be alert so that the shooter has the best environment to do their best.

Edited by Phantom, SASS #54973
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Howdy Irish Ike.

It would have been interesting to protest such a call by the spotters considering

one said it was a pistol miss, another said a rifle miss, and the other didn't know and wouldn't say.

 

Two of them didn't agree and therefore, it would have been interesting to see how a MD would have

ruled on that type call.

 

..........Widder

 

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7 hours ago, irish ike, SASS #43615 said:

The thing is this is a competition. Someone spends $1,000's of dollars to go to WR or EOT and poor spotting costs them 2 or 3 positions. Top shooters are a few seconds apart at the end of the match. So if the TO needs to replace someone, too bad if they are embarrassed, this isn't T ball!

I have heard spotters say 'I didn't hear the ding/clang so he missed'! With light loads and dead targets you won't hear a sound for the hit. That and they''re looking around and yaking. When the shooter is done they look at the other spotters to confirm what they did. This is BS.

I shoot BP and cap and ball. I can't tell you how many times I've had misses called because they couldn't hear it or see it from the smoke. Recently the spotters called a miss. I asked where because I knew I had hit them all. one said pistol, one said rifle one said nothing. Me, the TO and the brass collector all said clean. But you can't over rule the spotters on misses so........................

And yes, monthly matches are just as important to have good spotters.

 

The other bigger issue is knowledge of the rules. Thats an even bigger problem. Calls made that are incorrect.

Ike

Some shooters never go to any matches other than monthlies. They deserve good spotters as much as the frequent travelers.

 

Also, if someone is a poor spotter or a poorly-trained spotter at a monthly match, we cannot expect them to do better at higher-level matches.

 

We should treat every match official as if they are doing that job at EOT or make it a learning experience for their potential of doing that job at a higher-level match.

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9 hours ago, Snakebite said:

Good post.  IMO other than the shooter, Spotters are the most important factor in determining who wins. Their ability to make the right call is paramount in this game. I totally agree that Spotting is becoming more difficult in today's game than it use to be. For some reason people will jump right into the Spotters position before they will assist in other needed positions. Too  many times I've seen Spotters "Asleep at the Wheel", just kinda standing there taking up space. It is a job that requires the person to be attentive and alert. A spotter should not be gabbing all the time , he/she should be closely watching the action. Since spotter provide feedback to the T.O., they need to have a good understanding of the rules. Very few people can maintain the attention needed to do a good job of spotting for the entire stage. Spotters need to take a break and hand it off to someone else that is fresh. I read the question about how do you know if a spotter is not doing a good job. Well there are a number of signs that would indicate that the spotter ought to be replaced. Constantly looking to see what the other spotters have before making their call, or constantly being out of step with the other spotters, constantly gabbing rather than paying attention. Trying to spot while sitting on his backside away from the action. Sorry about that, I know that some folks must sit down, I need to do it some myself, but you CAN NOT do a good job of spotting while sitting on your donkey. A spotter needs to be mobile so that he/she can actually see what is going on. A big match is not the place for a newbie to learn the art of Spotting.. we all need the practice, but there is a time and place for most things. Watching for the miss is a good way to make a good call if the surroundings are suitable, such as a dirt bay or such. Seeing where the bullet hits can offer major feedback as to a solid hit, an edge hit or a clean miss. Bottom line is that anyone in the Spotting position should be doing a good job, no excuses for age, infirmities, or anything. If you can't do a good job of Spotting, then don't get into the position. If you are the T.O. and don't like the way someone is spotting, then gently replace them.   

 

Snakebite

Thanks for this. While I take pride in my spotting abilities, always watching and moving to get better angles of the shooting, I remember at a state match I called a P on the shooter. Nobody else did. Asked what was the P I relayed the shooting order. When I did so, I realized he shot it just fine, like the last 12 shooters I had spotted, but for some reason my brain said it wasn't correct. Seems that 13 is one too many for me to spot in a row, or at least is was that day.

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Man it happens! A few years ago I found myself standing there imitating a post. It dawned on me that I had simply lost my concentration. Turns out that I needed some water and a cookie. That brought me right back, but now I watch for it. I normally do 5 shooters and pass off my duties as a Spotter or a T.O. After a little R&R, I will go back and relieve someone. We are all a team, and everyone should be supporting the Shooter best they can. 

 

Snakebite

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12 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

Man it happens! A few years ago I found myself standing there imitating a post. It dawned on me that I had simply lost my concentration. Turns out that I needed some water and a cookie. That brought me right back, but now I watch for it. I normally do 5 shooters and pass off my duties as a Spotter or a T.O. After a little R&R, I will go back and relieve someone. We are all a team, and everyone should be supporting the Shooter best they can. 

 

Snakebite

The same can happen to shooters. I remember, years ago at Chabot, that Sedona Sue was acting strange. She was close to passing out. Luckily, her parents made her eat and drink something. She was diagnosed with diabetes shortly after that.

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Ever watch a MLB game, or a NFL game?  Yes, I'm dragging that red herring across the trail.  Those umps and refs are paid a lot of money, and they make mistakes.  And I believe they are paying attention and doing their best.  Of course, every spotter should do their best and understand the benefit of the doubt.  And if they're too busy playing grab ass and yukking it up to do the job, remove them.  But mistakes are going to be made.  There is no way to eliminate human error.  That's why shooters sometimes actually miss the target.  :)

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I have shot once a month with a certain gentleman for the last 10 years. For those 10 years he has always been the first person to volunteer to spot. The problem is he get's the call wrong 50% of the time. Now I just say thanks, but I need you to post scores or thanks , but I need you to work the unloading table. No problem and his feelings are not hurt and guess what, next match he will still be the first person to volunteer to spot.

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7 minutes ago, Major BS Walker Regulator said:

I have shot once a month with a certain gentleman for the last 10 years. For those 10 years he has always been the first person to volunteer to spot. The problem is he get's the call wrong 50% of the time. Now I just say thanks, but I need you to post scores or thanks , but I need you to work the unloading table. No problem and his feelings are not hurt and guess what, next match he will still be the first person to volunteer to spot.

Many folks here seem to think it's easy...no problem...to tell someone that they cannot spot any more because of their lack of ability...particularly when they are one of the few that are enthusiastic about spotting.

 

It has to be done...but it sure the hell ain't easy.

 

Phantom

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I have encountered good and bad spotters.  Thankfully, the good outweigh the bad.  But the bad are soooo frustrating!  From what I'm seeing, back when we were getting new shooters regularly RO courses and shooter clinics were held more frequently.  Teaching and learning was a priority.  Now our growth is slow.  Classes are not offered for just one or two.  We need to rethink the best way to educate our shooters.  While recently discussing an issue, I joked that in place of the shooter meeting maybe we should play "What's the Call".  The concept of offering something of this nature stuck.  Maybe we need to work harder to educate our shooters, both old and new to lessen issues such as this.  

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2 hours ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

Many folks here seem to think it's easy...no problem...to tell someone that they cannot spot any more because of their lack of ability...particularly when they are one of the few that are enthusiastic about spotting.

 

It has to be done...but it sure the hell ain't easy.

 

Phantom

It's not easy, and I sure don't want anyone to think that I encourage it on any regular basis. If it has to be done and can not be corrected, then it must be done.  I've done it only 3 times. Although there have been a number of time that I have ask a spotter to pay better attention.  Once was with one of my best friends.. he had some visiting guest that he just continued gabbing with while spotting, and IMO it was effecting his ability to do the job right.   I finally just took the Spotters stick from him and told him to go ahead and visit.  Once was a guy at the Western Regional that would just sit back on his cart and would simply report what the other two spotters would report. He was not in a good position to see from where he was sitting. I ask for the stick and told him that I wanted someone that could move around and see what was going on. It didn't seem to bother him. The third time was the worst. It was at WR. A very top ranked young shooter would grab a spotting position on every stage. He would then proceed to actively yell and coach every shooter on his team through the course of fire. I ask him to stop, but he just said that was the way that they trained together and wouldn't stop. He was constantly in my way and would miss a lot of calls because of this "Cheerleading". I ask him to give me the flag and stop spotting. He got pissed and made a scene about it. It was the worst posse that I have ever had in my life. 

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The spotters can have the most effect on the shooters score other than the shooter.

It is imperative that if you are spotting you take the job seriously and do the best you can.

Hold you hand up high and be proud that you did the best you could.

 

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Just now, Ace_of_Hearts said:

The spotters can have the most effect on the shooters score other than the shooter.

It is imperative that if you are spotting you take the job seriously and do the best you can.

Hold you hand up high and be proud that you did the best you could.

 

Please don't hold your hand up high... It can influence others and there is no need for it. TO's can see your calls just fine with you hand close to your chest.

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