As the sport has grown and online match management tools have become the norm, pre-registration for matches has become increasingly popular and important. To those not intimately involved with match administration, some of the advantages may be readily apparent and others may not. As action shooting events have evolved from somewhat informal gatherings to much more elaborate productions, the importance of registering ahead of time has increased. Here are a few of the reasons you should take a minute and sign up ahead of time.

The most apparent advantage to pre-registration is that it is also commonly linked to squad selection.  Most folks have at least one person, if not an entire posse, that they would like to shoot with. Therefore the sooner folks get signed up, the more they are able to make sure they get their squadding requests accommodated. While there will almost always be gaps in squad lists for walk-on shooters, you may or may not be with your preferred group. The early bird always gets the worm in this regard.

From an administrative standpoint, pre-registration helps with a lot of pre match preparation. If match directors have an accurate projection of how many people are going to turn out for an event, it helps them make various decisions. Registration numbers drive things like how many squads will there be, how many stages should there be, how elaborate can/should stages be, do squads need to be balanced or consolidated, or is there even enough interest to hold a particular match? Many of these decisions are much more effectively made ahead of time then they are on the fly the day of the event.

Squad balancing and populating, done correctly, is more elaborate than it might seem. First, it is important to make sure that squads are fairly even in size, large enough to be effective, and small enough to flow through the stages. It is important to make sure that squads have enough qualified RO’s. So too is it important to make sure that newer shooters are appropriately dispersed with more experienced mentors. Squad balancing can be addressed most effectively with pre-registration.

There are other subtle reasons to hold pre-registration as well. Some matches may only be able to accommodate a limited number of people. A roster of shooters provides a more direct means of contacting people if the event needs to be postponed or canceled. If there is not enough interest, some events might not even be worth setting up if range space is being rented or attendance will be low. There are all sorts of uses for the simple data pre-registration collects.

Whether it is required or not, pre-registration is here to stay. It only takes but a few minutes of time, and is so very helpful to the folks working hard to put on a quality event for the shooting community. We hope the day never comes that we have to turn away a walk-on shooter, but for those who know they are coming, log on and let it be known. Besides… we need to know what size T-shirt you want.