First of all, welcome to the fastest growing shotgun sport in the country! It is a great sport and lots of fun regardless of your skill level. Here are some guidelines to make your participation more enjoyable and avoid some potential embarrassment. It will also put you at ease in knowing what is expected of you as a participant and good sportsman.
A tournament is not the place for shooting lessons and coaching. That should have been done prior to the tournament. The occasional hint and words of encouragement are fine. Just keep the dialogue to a minimum.
Be prepared for your turn by having your gun and ammo ready. There is no need to rush your shooting but do your best to avoid unnecessary delays. Once on the station your squad should move through the rotation as efficiently as possible. This is particularly important if there are a lot of shooters in attendance. Wasting time will make for a very long day and cause more work for match officials.
A typical squad will consist of 4-6 shooters and should not exceed six. Too many shooters on a squad will cause delays.
The squad should establish a shooting order and then rotate who the first shooter is at each station to be fair to all shooters.
If score keepers and pullers are not provided then all squad members should take their turn scoring and pulling. Typically, the last shooters in the rotation for each station will pull and score to start with and then hand off their duties after a couple of shooters so they can prepare for their turn to shoot.
Once finished, your squad should clear out of the station as soon as possible. Proceed to the next station in order. Do not skip stations or back track unless directed to do so by match officials. Most competitions start with a standard Shotgun start rotation where the shooter is assigned the start station. IF a European rotation is being utilized, the shooter or squad should pick the first open or nearing open station and progress through the stations in conventional order throughout the remaining tournament.
If another squad is still shooting as you approach the next station, hang back as a group until they finish in a courteous effort to reduce the distraction of the shooter. Allow them to clear away from the station before you move in. The exception is, if you are first up in your squad, it is acceptable to quietly walk up behind the active squad and observe the targets being thrown in order to select your choke/s for the upcoming station and help reduce the delay of having to change chokes after your view birds have been thrown. Once you have seen the pairs being thrown, return to your squad.
Remember, the shooter is responsible for knowing the rules. You are encouraged to read the NSCA rule book. They are readily available. Each of the individual games under the umbrella of NSCA has specific rules you should know. If you decide to participate in FITASC or 5-Stand in addition to Sporting Clays do a quick review of the rules. This will make your experience more enjoyable and things will run more smoothly on the course. If you are unsure about something ask one of your fellow shooters. You will find most people friendly and eager to help you.
If you have a question or concern, do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of a fellow shooter or a range official. They are there to help!