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Kirk James

Spotting

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If you were going to instruct a spotting school, what would you consider the most important information for the spotter?  Should we have a training manual or video for spotters?  How can we assure that our spotters for big matches have positive spotting experience?  If this is important to you please respond!!!!

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If the thought, "I think" ever enters a spotters mind, then IT'S A HIT.

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I agree with TC as that being the most important aspect. I would add don't be afraid of moving. Often times different angles provide a different picture. Personally I try to get a similar view as that of the shooter and follow them as best as possible. Sometimes that isn't possible, so I try to get the best picture I can that allows me to see any potential hit or miss and may have to move positions every gun string. It's also a good idea for spotters to be apart and not clumped together. This kind of goes along with the edger thread someone started. If there is an edge on the left side of a target, the view from the right might look like a perfectly clean miss i.e. no target movement, no hit sound, and dirt kicked up behind. But from the left you might barely see the paint scrape off the edge.

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I don't have enough matches under my belt to be a good spotter, so I work the tables or shag brass as much as I can. I do a lot of pretend spotting in between to try and get better. Sadly, my eyes and for sure my ears ain't what they used to be. 

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I've suggested a video (on-line even) training course for a long time.  That way you could show either "real match" difficult calls, or stage the reproduction of a difficult call.   

 

Topics I'd suggest be included:

Spotting for fast shooters

Spotting for Smokey shooters

Spotting through built-up stage fronts

How to point out a suggested penalty other than a P on shooting order

Suggested way to resolve an edge call by only one shooter (like go down range and check for the edger, or paint between shooters)

When to change out and let someone else spot

Not spotting for family members

Spotting for "no order specified" or "shooter's choice"  scenarios

Spotting when reactive targets are included - knowing how to call reactive targets (especially a mix of reactive and stationary) is one of the most common WTC items here on the wire!

 

If you need more details, I've got a bunch of ideas....

 

Good luck, GJ

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#1 Treat the shooter the way you want to be treated.

 

We owe each and every shooter our full, undivided attention.  There's plenty of time to josh around, mingle, catch up with old friends, etc.  When there's a shooter on the line and you're spotting is NOT the time to do those things. 

 

#2 Tell the Timer Operator what YOU saw.

 

One of the things I detest most from spotters is for them to look around at the other spotters before they give their input.  Tell me what YOU saw.  I'll poll the other spotters.

 

#3 Tell me what you SAW

 

I don't care about what you think might have happened.  Tell me what you without a doubt in the world actually SAW happen. 

 

#4 Do not argue with other spotters

 

Just because someone else saw something different than you did is no reason for you to feel insulted. They had a different angle so very well could have seen a hit or miss that you didn't see.  I'm the Timer Operator.  I'll sort out the difference.  That's why I get the big bucks.

 

#5 Let me know when you leave

 

If it's your turn to go shoot don't simply walk away and leave me hanging.  Let me know before hand that I need to get another spotter or that someone else has relieved you. 

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1)  There should be spotters on either side of the shooter.  Don't everyone stand together. 

2)  Call what you see. Don't worry about what the other spotters call.

3)  There have been many times that I did not see a hit, but I also did not see a miss.  Have to call it clean. 

 

Those are my inputs, 

BS

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Spotting is a physical exercise.

You will need to move - spotting with your rear end on a stool is not allowable.

 

Spotting is a mental, visual, auditory, deductive and learning process.

Mental:  You have to know the stage and target order and ALL possibilities to engage it.

Visual:  You will have to watch for hits - watch for non hits - watch for bullet strikes off target.

Auditory:  Listen for strikes - listen for non strikes - know which plates ring and which are dead.  Know that rebar sounds different than plate.

Deductive: A bullet strike in the dirt 30 degrees off the firing line is likely not a miss, but probably a edger/ ricochet.

Learning:  Just because a shooter does something differently than you would have doesn't always mean its wrong.

 

And lastly is the speech I always give as a Posse Leader:

Every shooter here is not expecting to win a championship or even place in category.

But EVERY shooter here is hoping to do the very best they are capable of.

And if they are trying to do their very best - then they deserve your very best effort to support that.

If you cannot give them your best - hand off the duty.

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Just remember you are there to have fun!

 

So enjoy chatting with the other spotters as much as you can. 

 

Talk things over with the other spectators as you watch and critique the shooter. 

 

If you do miss something, be sure to look at the other spotters to see what they scored.

 

If it is sunny, be sure to wear dark glasses and keep your hat down to block the sun as much as possible.

 

If possible, be close to the timer operator, since he or she is a buddy and you can bump into them sometimes.

 

Make sure you are on the firing line to get the best place to see everything.

 

Be sure to watch the T.O to ensure they are doing things correctly.

 

 

:huh::o:blink:

 

 

 

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When spotting for them pesky SOOT LORDS, make sure you don't stand BEHIND them! Stand off to the side and pay attention. Sometimes the BOOM is louder than the DING! I know I shot full house BP loads for 8 years. I thought I got called for misses now and then when I know I hit the target! Actually it's not a bad idea to NOT stand behind any shooters! 

 

DON'T TALK....SPOT!!!

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1 minute ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

When spotting for them pesky SOOT LORDS, make sure you don't stand BEHIND them! Stand off to the side and pay attention. Sometimes the BOOM is louder than the DING! I know I shoot full house BP loads for 8 years. I thought I got called for misses now and then when I know I hit the target! Actually it's not a bad idea to NOT stand behind any shooters! 

 

DON'T TALK....SPOT!!!

 

Who you callin' pesky?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dang smokyless gamers...

 

 

:P:P:P:P:P:P:P:P

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One of the most difficult spotting situations I can imagine is spotting with grass and back drop of brush and trees -- remember, you must see a miss. :unsure:

Fortunately, I shoot in the west where the ground and back drop is usually dry dirt. :)

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3 hours ago, Kirk James said:

...  How can we assure that our spotters for big matches have positive spotting experience?  If this is important to you please respond!!!!

 

SASS is not a pro sport.  100% non paid volunteers (except for the property owner).  It would be ideal if MD, Posse Leaders, Scorers, TOs, Spotters, loading and unloading officers were all highly trained and perfect.  Ain't going to happen in a volunteer sport.

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2 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

And lastly is the speech I always give as a Posse Leader:

Every shooter here is not expecting to win a championship or even place in category.

But EVERY shooter here is hoping to do the very best they are capable of.

And if they are trying to do their very best - then they deserve your very best effort to support that.

If you cannot give them your best - hand off the duty.

Kirk I understand yours and everyones frustrations, we don't need a class on spotting, its covered very well in both RO1 and RO2. Every RO class I teach it is stressed to the utmost about spotting. The monthly matches at our club we will tend to get lazy about it at times. We often remind everyone at the safety meeting to be vigilant when spotting. Every State, Regional, and above match I attend, spotting is always addressed to be of the utmost importance. Its up to all of us to make sure we have good spotters, some people just don't like doing it or are not good at it, know your groups limitations and work around it. Creeker said it best in the above, if a shooter is trying their best it is all of our responsibility to make sure the TO and counters are to.

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Quote

One of the most difficult spotting situations I can imagine is spotting with grass and back drop of brush and trees -- remember, you must see a miss. :unsure:

Fortunately, I shoot in the west where the ground and back drop is usually dry dirt.

Add to this a stage that can be shot many different ways and by a Gun Fighter!!!

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No where in the rule books does it say that the Spotter must see a Miss. THAT is a Made-up rule/requirement that has taken wings. It is indeed a VERY good (if not the best) way to judge and count misses, but it is not a requirement. Spotters should use all of their abilities as input to make their call. Sight of a target being struck should Trump a hit on the ground. I've seen, and been the victim of calls made by Spotters that were so fixed on watching ONLY for misses that they would miss a Hit on the target. This very often happens with targets that are very close to the ground. The spotter hears the bang and sees the dirt kick up in front of the target..... next thing you know, he calls it a low miss and never sees that the target was hit. WHAT... it hit the dirt first, and then struck the target you say....... Humm, sounds to me like the target was hit. But, we are suppose to count misses, not hits, Right? It doesn't matter if the bullet bounces down range or not... If it hits the target, it is a HIT.  

 

SDQ/MDQ calls coming from breaking the 170 degree plane or a dropped/falling gun should be made WHEN THEY HAPPEN. If a Spotter is going to report such an event to the T.O., then they need to do it immediately, and let the T.O. make the final determination. It will be fresh in everyone's mind.  If it is upheld, then the T.O. will apply the penalty, if the T.O. disagrees, then the Shooter would get a restart. Nothing worse that some Spotter coming in after the stage is finishes and saying the Shooter broke the 170 degree with his first gun, etc. If you are going to make the call..... then DO IT! 

 

Bottom line is this. Spotting is one of the most important jobs on the Firing Line. Of course Spotters need to learn, but first they need to learn the rules. Then they need to get experience at their local club. There is no excuse for folks being Spotters at major matches that don't know the rules, don't have the ability to do a good job or just don't apply themselves to doing the job. Timer Operators need to take the initiative and remove Spotters that are consistently out of step with everyone else. Yes... Spotters should do their own spotting, but when they are continually out of step with the other two spotters, something is wrong.  

 

Snakebite

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32 minutes ago, Snakebite said:

SDQ/MDQ calls coming from breaking the 170 degree plane or a dropped/falling gun should be made WHEN THEY HAPPEN. If a Spotter is going to report such an event to the T.O., then they need to do it immediately, and let the T.O. make the final determination. It will be fresh in everyone's mind.  If it is upheld, then the T.O. will apply the penalty, if the T.O. disagrees, then the Shooter would get a restart. Nothing worse that some Spotter coming in after the stage is finishes and saying the Shooter broke the 170 degree with his first gun, etc. If you are going to make the call..... then DO IT! 

 

 

I'm not being snarky here, just looking for clarification.  Are you saying the spotter should immediately call a cease fire and inform the TO of the infraction? 

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1 hour ago, COLORADO JACKSON said:

we don't need a class on spotting, its covered very well in both RO1 and RO2.

 

My experience is that at least half the folks who spot have never taken RO I, or if they have, it was 10+ years ago.  And in the recent RO I and RO II classes I've taken as refreshers, the fine art of spotting was hardly covered at all!

 

Something as important to the outcome of a match should be given as much attention as it needs so that most shooters are satisfied they are getting an accurate score on every stage.  If we polled experienced shooters, say at Winter Range or EOT, I'd bet that would not be the result.

 

A Spotter instructional video would certainly be one signal to everyone in the game that we are expecting "the TO and counters are doing the best they possibly can" to get things referee-ed well.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

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13 minutes ago, Shooting Bull said:

 

 

I'm not being snarky here, just looking for clarification.  Are you saying the spotter should immediately call a cease fire and inform the TO of the infraction? 

"Spotter are obligated to stop a shooter from attempting an unsafe action if the T.O. is not in position to see it or react quickly enough. "

This certainly does not specifically say what I indicated, but such calls should be made at the time they occur, whether they are being called by a Spotter or the Timer Operator. Of course the final judgement belongs to the T.O., unless there is an appeal filed.

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4 hours ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Spotting is a physical exercise.

You will need to move - spotting with your rear end on a stool is not allowable.

 

Spotting is a mental, visual, auditory, deductive and learning process.

Mental:  You have to know the stage and target order and ALL possibilities to engage it.

Visual:  You will have to watch for hits - watch for non hits - watch for bullet strikes off target.

Auditory:  Listen for strikes - listen for non strikes - know which plates ring and which are dead.  Know that rebar sounds different than plate.

Deductive: A bullet strike in the dirt 30 degrees off the firing line is likely not a miss, but probably a edger/ ricochet.

Learning:  Just because a shooter does something differently than you would have doesn't always mean its wrong.

 

And lastly is the speech I always give as a Posse Leader:

Every shooter here is not expecting to win a championship or even place in category.

But EVERY shooter here is hoping to do the very best they are capable of.

And if they are trying to do their very best - then they deserve your very best effort to support that.

If you cannot give them your best - hand off the duty.

 

This in all respects. Great post Creeker.

 

Unless you, as the spotter are completely sure.....just shut up until the shooter is finished with the stage.

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48 minutes ago, Shooting Bull said:

 

 

I'm not being snarky here, just looking for clarification.  Are you saying the spotter should immediately call a cease fire and inform the TO of the infraction? 

Much depends on the seriousness of the situation.

If someone bumps their empty gun on the prop when going by and breaks the 170 but immediately corrects it, then perhaps it is more prudent/safe to allow the shooter to finish the stage before informing the TO.

If someone sweeps me with a gun in their hand while moving along the firing line. You are going to hear me loud and clear. 

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So us smokey shooters get misses called on us all the time. First the targets have multiple hits on them so unless the spotter is "really" watching they won't be able and go back and say I saw it hit here.

I shoot cap & ball pure lead rounds, so when a spotter says he didn't hear the hit it  means he wasn't paying attention and called a miss because of no clang. Pure lead round balls don't always clang. I've gone back on freshly painted targets I shot and showed them where I hit.

Spotters should position themselves so they can see the targets clearly.

Stop talking to each other and pay attention

They don't count rounds shot

They don't holler "one more" 

They don't holler hit it again.

They really don't know the rules!!!!!!!

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2 hours ago, COLORADO JACKSON said:

Kirk I understand yours and everyones frustrations, we don't need a class on spotting, its covered very well in both RO1 and RO2. Every RO class I teach it is stressed to the utmost about spotting. The monthly matches at our club we will tend to get lazy about it at times. We often remind everyone at the safety meeting to be vigilant when spotting. Every State, Regional, and above match I attend, spotting is always addressed to be of the utmost importance. Its up to all of us to make sure we have good spotters, some people just don't like doing it or are not good at it, know your groups limitations and work around it. Creeker said it best in the above, if a shooter is trying their best it is all of our responsibility to make sure the TO and counters are to.

But remember, folks don't have to be an RO1 or RO2 to be a spotter.  What about all the SHOOTER'S, even new shooters, with no training who get asked to take the flag/baton?   I personally think a spotting manual or video is a great idea. Just my $0.25 worth.  

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Is your focus on the targets or the area behind target?  I wished they had covered the topic in more detail at the RO1 course.    Whether we call CAS a sport or a fantasy sport, we owe the shooter the best we can be as an organization.  I have been to 18 national and world competitions and know first hand that anyone can spot.  Some how we have to do better than that.  Keep the ideas coming.

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1 hour ago, Garrison Joe, SASS #60708 said:

 

...A Spotter instructional video would certainly be one signal to everyone in the game that we are expecting "the TO and counters are doing the best they possibly can" to get things referee-ed well.

 

Good luck, GJ

 

 

Excellent!  Please make a spotting video and perhaps upload it to YouTube?  Or at the very least post a link for the rest of us review.

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48 minutes ago, Matthew Duncan said:

Please make a spotting video and perhaps upload it to YouTube?

 

Consider your suggestion passed on to Kirk James, the OP, who brought this subject up.    Yes, a video like this would be a large task.   I think it could be of great value, too.  Possibly even more tutorial, if not more memorable, than the Winter Range crews "Hit or Miss" videos of recent years.  :lol:

 

Good luck, GJ

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Thanks Garrison Joe.  Next time my topic will be the value of open bar at Winter Range!!

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Many spotters spot with their ears only. If they don’t hear a clang, they assume it’s a miss. BP shooters, frontiersman in particular, are well acquainted with this.

 

if you’re not CERTAIN it’s a miss, it’s hit. It’s not that hard folks. 

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By all means, have all the classes you want - I would have found it useful in the olden days.  I've always said I learned the game standing with the spotters & asking questions if I didn't understand a call.  Yeah, I know - read the handbook.  We've already beat that horse to death several times.  What I'm getting around to is, we are an amateur sport/game and dependent on volunteer labor.  I think it would be a mistake to require people to take classes (or worse, pass tests) to spot.  It's sometimes hard enough just to get enough workers to run the stage.  I also think a TO should not hesitate to fire a spotter who is creating problems on the posse.

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@Jed I. Knight, SASS #36423 makes some great videos showing the stage sequence and then a few people shooting the stage. I've followed those to try to be an armchair spotter of sorts and learn.

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6 minutes ago, Abilene Slim SASS 81783 said:

Many spotters spot with their ears only. If they don’t hear a clang, they assume it’s a miss.

That's one of the ones who needs to be fired, and I've done it.  I knew durned well s/he was spotting on sound (is that an oxymoron/) because s/he was standing where s/he couldn't possibly see the targets.

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1 hour ago, Hendo said:

@Jed I. Knight, SASS #36423 makes some great videos showing the stage sequence and then a few people shooting the stage. I've followed those to try to be an armchair spotter of sorts and learn.


Thanks Hendo. I’ve been thinking about doing an episode on spotting... well, amongst other ideas I’ve got coming. More ideas than time to do ‘em, ya know?

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16 minutes ago, Jed I. Knight, SASS #36423 said:


Thanks Hendo. I’ve been thinking about doing an episode on spotting... well, amongst other ideas I’ve got coming. More ideas than time to do ‘em, ya know?

Thank you, your videos are fun and help on the learnin curve. I would definitely watch a spotter vid or two.

 

I completely understand about having more ideas than time. Unfortunately, I have a huge backlog of procrastinating to get through first. :D

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2 hours ago, MizPete said:

By all means, have all the classes you want - I would have found it useful in the olden days.  I've always said I learned the game standing with the spotters & asking questions if I didn't understand a call.  Yeah, I know - read the handbook.  We've already beat that horse to death several times.  What I'm getting around to is, we are an amateur sport/game and dependent on volunteer labor.  I think it would be a mistake to require people to take classes (or worse, pass tests) to spot.  It's sometimes hard enough just to get enough workers to run the stage.  I also think a TO should not hesitate to fire a spotter who is creating problems on the posse.

I don't think anyone is really talking about REQUIRING anything as a spotter qualification.  I, for one, am just advocating having an entertaining and informative video someplace online that folks can watch, possibly with some live examples.  I think many would benefit. 

Many shooters are called on to count/spot, who have only a vague idea of their responsibilities, much less of the rules.  A video would sure help them in that regard. 

 

But with that said, a video or manual probably needs  some kind of authoritative coordination and content editing/approvals (TGs, ROC, or others.) 

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Don't have any problem at all with this.

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