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World Chmpships 97

The Game for the New Generation

"The Reason why Shooting Gallery should be the one."

Croquet, according to the ABC programme 'StateWide', is one of the few sports with the highest number of dropouts. According to their estimates, croquet has a dropout rate of every one in four members. The reason for this is simple. The interest, the commitment and the desire to play croquet quickly evaporates because of the complexity, difficulty and time needed to progress to a certain skill level where the game can be appreciated and played competively.

We have simpler versions of croquet, otherwise known as croquet variant games, which we use to combat the problem of new members 'losing interest'. I've seen newer members play these games such as -
Richochet, 14 point game, Gateball, golf croquet, Progressive croquet and the official Australian introduction game; Aussie Croquet.
You name it, I've seen it played, I've played them and so have the new members. The only difference here is I still play them once in a while whereas the newer members don't because they are no longer members. They disappeared from the courts, from the clubs, begone, because (as far as I'm concerned) these games weren't effective enough in keeping a majority of these players interested long enough.

These newer players disappeared for a reason. The reason lies in the croquet variant games they played.
The reason in my opinion, is this.

To make progress, to keep interest, you have to work in stages. Stages have to start from the simple and work their way up to the complex.

The games mentioned are all great games in their own right. I personally have nothing against them, my only complaint is that I do not think these are the games that should be used FIRST to introduce players to croquet.

At the moment, these games mentioned are the ones used first to introduce players to croquet. The only problem here is that these games are complex in their own right. In my opinion, complex games should not be the ones used first to introduce players to croquet.

To keep a players interest, you have to start with the simple things. The simple things will keep them going, they are at ease, there is nothing to demanding or overwhelming expected of them which if the problem existed, would cause them to lose interest in croquet.

In simpler terms -

Why should we introduce a person to surfing first when we can introduce them to bodyboarding?

Why should we introduce a person to chess first when we can introduce them to darughts?

Why teach the art of spin bowling first when we can teach them slow bowling?

I think you get the picture.

This is where Shooting Gallery comes in.
Shooting Gallery is simply the more appropriate vehicle to use before progressing to the more complex variant games.

Shooting gallery is the bodyboarding, the draughts and the slow bowling.

Shooting Gallery is what the others are not.

A simple game that can be learnt in rapid time and still played competively and with a high level of skill.

Introduce them to this first and when they have mastered this, move onto the others. And when they have mastered the others, move onto croquet.

Shooting Gallery is an attractive option for one very simple reason.


Five to ten minutes is all it will take before they can play independently and without the on-going assistance of the senior player.

Enough to keep the interest intact.

What makes Shooting Gallery simple in comparisons to the others are a number of things.

One, Shooting Gallery eliminates the set play sequence for hoops. This, I believe is the over riding factor of players losing interest and leaving the club.

It is understandable and common for players to lose interest in something that is difficult to learn in such a short span of time and continue to find the enthuiasm to battle it out until they have mastered and understood what is required of them in the game. The set hoop sequece is one of those factors. It takes a considerable amount of time to teach the new player the hoop sequence. It is also in my opinion, too overwhelming and demanding for the new player to memorise by heart in such a short span of time without the constant need to rely on the senior player for reminders.

By nature, having to rely on someone all the time is enough to make you lose interest.

I would know, I was a new player myself once, the constant need to ask the senior player what hoop I was going to next was enough to put me off. So much so, that I stayed away from the game for a considerable amount of time before finding the commitment and desire to tackle it again.

But not every one has that desire and commitment. To conquer that problem, we have to work around the problem. Abolishing the set play sequence for hoops is one such way.

In Shooting Gallery, you choose the four hoops you want to make and in what ever order you want and in whatever direction. There is no fixed rule, the choices are all made by the new member.

The second noticable and fundamental difference in Shooting Gallery is the elimination of the majority of stroke play.

Gone are the split shots, the loading of hoops, the roquet, croquet and free shot. Like the hoop play sequence, this is just too overwhelming for the new player. This is all unwanted excessive baggage. By stripping away with this and just having the basic essentials in Shooting Gallery such as the hitting of the ball, hitting the other ball away but getting no free shot, the running of the hoop, the hitting of the peg and the hitting into the corner, these fundamental stroke play shots are enough to make the game simple to learn and teach and challenging and fun to play.

Like I said before, once that have mastered and perhaped tired of Shooting Gallery, then you can move onto the next stage. The next stage can consist of any of the other variant games.

"If Shooting Gallery is so simple. Then it must be boring?" You might ask.

The answer to that is wrong.

For a surprisingly simple game, Shooting Gallery can be as challenging as they come. And for a simple game, tactics can be employed but are not required.

You make all the choices in Shooting Gallery.
Having the freedom of choices means keeping the interest.

Can a player learn the other variant games in 5 to ten minutes and not have to ask questions constantly and still play a great game and perhaps even beat the seasoned player which will inject newfound enthuiasm and interest.

I don't think so.

Can a player learn Shooting Gallery in 5 to ten minutes and not have to ask questions constantly and still play a great game and perhaps even beat the seasoned player which will inject newfound enthuiasm and interest.

The answer is yes.

It's that simple.
The answer is simple.
The answer is Shooting Gallery.

- Carl Robertson
Shooting Gallery Co-Ordinator.

  Shooting Gallery : The game for the next generation

Official Shooting Gallery Logo

The official Shooting Gallery Site

The official Shooting Gallery has all the major ingredients of a good web site. Interviews, photo galleries, about the game, coaches corner and other goodies.

Shooting Gallery: The official website.

Manual Order details and contact:

A Shooting Gallery manual is available for purchase. Aspects of the game covered are Rules, the singles - doubles versions, descriptions of the simple stroke play, descriptions of sequences that can be employed. 50 pages with diagrams. Hard Cover Manual (white file with sleeves) or paperback cover.


S.G : "Shoot some hoops, no bullets required."

The official Shooting Gallery slogan