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Coaching rules


8.6.2Any person providing interference or unauthorized assistance to a competitor during a course of fire (and the competitor receiving such assistance) may, at the discretion of a Range Officer, incur a procedural penalty for that stage and/or be subject to Section When approved by the Range Officer, competitors at Level I matches may, without penalty, receive whatever coaching or assistance they request. Range Officials may safety coach competitors as needed, unless a safety violation occurs.


I am confused by this. Took the RO class 1997 and CRO in 2002. Coaching was not allowed. Period End. At some point Coaching has been allowed. But when is the question? I was in a Squad of friends at a Level 1 match Saturday and the ROs+peanut gallery were pointing out missed targets.

I have helped newer shooters with things over the years, such as if they started drifting past the 180, or passed a few targets or had their finger in the trigger guard.


I cannot imagine that this rule was intended to allow ROS to help experienced shooters.

How should the rule on coaching be applied? How is it being applied?



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To me, this rule should be applied to allow coaching in a couple of scenarios only:

1 - Helping newer shooters, either by allowing coaching them generally or be having a specific person coach them as needed. 

2 - Allowing coaching for everyone at specific Level 1 matches as a “fun” element. For example, having a once a year “monster” match with extra long stages and allowing coaching as a way to make it fun and involve the competitiors that aren’t currently shooting. This is commonly done at certain 3 gun matches, a few of which specifically say that coaching and/or heckling is allowed and encouraged. Of course, they take it a step further and allow more shooter - crowd interaction at some of these matches, which, while fun and interesting, probably has no place in USPSA where competitive equity is a key piece of the overall picture. 


In practice, I’ve never really seen anything other than coaching of new shooters, and usually even that is discouraged during the course of fire. 


I think that if coaching is going to be allowed under this rule, it should probably be run by the MD or RM first in order to ensure consistency from squad to squad. Otherwise you could get ROs on some squads allowing their buddies to coach each other while other ROs are giving new shooters procedurals because someone coached them through how to clear a malfunction that they’d never seen before. 

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This is what we have been teaching for some time now:


- Coaching is only intended to be used for new shooters at local matches only.  The shooter should have been offered and accepted coaching which comes from the RO, not from the peanut gallery.

- The shooter must be informed of the nature of the coaching (reminder of reloads, etc.)

- The RO may allow the coaching to be done by a specified person such as a parent.  I prefer to avoid this unless I know both individuals involved.

- Coaching has no place at higher level matches.

- Safety issues and the RO's handling of those are unrelated to coaching.  Safety always comes first.

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