• Northeastern Pennsylvania Interscholastic Rifle League web site

     For more information, you may contact Coach Armitage at jay-armitage@esasd.net.

    Rifle Team History…..

    Did you know that in this area of the state, the sport of target rifle shooting on school supported rifle teams and clubs began back as early as the 1950’s? Schools such as East Stroudsburg, Stroudsburg, Wallenpaupak, Pocono Mountain, Abington Heights and North Pocono all had rifle clubs. 

    When Rifle Clubs began, students would bring their own .22 rifles and ammunition to the high school. Rifles were kept unloaded in locked student lockers or teacher’s storage rooms. After school the students on the rifle clubs would assemble in what was then the basement in the J. S. Bunnell School, which is where the Administration wing is today. Some think that the students roam the hallways with their rifles. This is NOT the case. There was a teacher / instructor present at all times. There was a narrow hallway leading to the boiler room. There was an old steel backstop in place at the end of the hallway. One or two at a time the students practiced their rifle aiming skills shooting at paper targets. Steady aim, strong concentration and determination are required for a centered shot.

    Several of the students were hunters, too. Almost all of them were raised locally and may have provided food for their dinner tables. This was a way of life and friendly competition.

    Currently there are 10 Rifle Teams in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Interscholastic Rifle League including East Stroudsburg South, East Stroudsburg North, Berwick School District, Salisbury School District, Emmaus School District, Southern Lehigh School District, Freedom and Liberty - both in the Bethlehem School District, Stroudsburg School District and North Pocono School District. In the State of Pennsylvania there are 41 High School Rifle Teams with nearly 600 student athletes involved.  All teams follow PIAA requirements.

    The current Head Coach for the East Stroudsburg South Rifle Team is a 1980 East Stroudsburg Senior High School graduate and a former Cavalier Rifle Team member. He has been involved in coaching rifle at one level or another since 1982.

    Current day

    Today students have access to school owned equipment making for more equal competition and increased safety. The single shot target rifles are no longer brought in from home but are stored in locked vaults accessible only by trained NRA Certified Firearms Instructors. Ammunition is stored in a separate vault away from the rifles.    The sport has strict safety rules and guidelines and any violation of safety rules will not be tolerated. Safety, of course is THE most important thing that the students are taught. 

    No longer do the students fire in dark basements but in a well lit, state-of-the-art, well ventilated rifle range. Hearing and eye protection and all other equipment is supplied. Varsity Rifle season begins mid-November and the season runs through mid-February.

    Rifle Marksmanship is

    ·            A COMPLEX SPORT SKILL where rifles are aimed, controlled and fired at targets

    ·            A SPORT with a military heritage

    ·            A popular OLYMPIC SPORT practiced all over the world

    ·            A sport that DEVELOPS control, discipline, concentration and extreme precision

    ·            An enjoyable, LIFETIME recreation and competition activity


    COMPLEX SPORT SKILL: Rifle marksmanship is concerned with precision and accuracy while aiming.

    SPORT WITH MILITARY HERITAGE:   The sport of shooting is similar to most other sports in that it began as a skill humans needed for survival or military purposes. Accurate marksmanship continues to be a skill that is valued for military purposes today.

    OLYMPIC SPORT: The sport of shooting enjoys the prestige and recognition that goes with its status as an Olympic sport. 150 different countries practice organized forms of the Olympic shooting events and belong to the world governing body of shooting, the International Shooting Sport Federation. Shooting is probably the third or fourth most popular participation sport in the world.

    DEVELOPS CONTROL, DISCIPLINE, CONCENTRATION AND PRECISION: These are special qualities that make marksmanship unique and that also benefit its participants in other ways.

    LIFETIME SPORT: People who participate in target shooting on a recreational or competitive basis range from 4-H BB gun competitors as young as nine or ten to people in their 70’s and 80’s. Shooting is a lifetime sport. 


    Teaching Safety First, Last and Always

    ·        EVERY participant will learn and practice safety at each and every practice. We strongly feel that teaching students the proper way to handle firearms greatly reduces accidents both in the home and in the field.

    Qualities and Values of Marksmanship

    ·            Safety- one of the safest of all sports

    ·            Practice, not ability, makes the difference

    ·            Teaches life skills- shooters learn discipline, responsibility, rewards of hard work

    ·            Teaches control, respect for others

    The Qualities and Values of Marksmanship

    ·        Safety: Statistics compiled by the National Safety Council, National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Civilian Marksmanship Program and other organizations confirm that rifle and target shooting are among the safest of all sports. Shooters learn safety lessons that last a lifetime.

    ·         Practice, Not Ability: Shooting is a sport where only practice can develop the motor skills, muscular coordination and concentration abilities needed to consistently score tens. 

    ·       Teaches Life Skills: One of the real benefits of the marksmanship experience is that it teaches valuable life skills that can help those that participate in shooting throughout their lives. Shooters learn discipline, self-control, concentration, goal setting and teamwork.

    ·        Teaches Control and Respect for Others: Rifle marksmanship is unique in that it does not require aggressive actions against opponents. In target shooting, the shooters competitive energies must be directed towards an inanimate target that is downrange and not directly against an opponent. This allows target shooting participants to learn special qualities of self-control and emotional-control as well as a unique respect for the opponents. 

    ·        It’s Fun: One of the most important reasons people participate in any sport is that they enjoy the sport. People who participate in shooting do it because it really is fun.