National and Provincial Team Trials – how do they work?


What are they for?

  • Are you confused about which trials are which and how they work?
  • Or are you unsure as to which competitions count for provincial trials and which for national trials?
  • Or maybe you are unsure about the difference between provincial and national trials?
  • Or maybe you just want to know what exactly a trial is?


Provincial trials – these are to select a provincial team for the Chairman’s Cup, which is our annual inter-provincial championship.  This is held at the end of each competition year – usually at the end of November.  This event is currently shot over four disciplines :

  • ATA Trap
  • NSSA Skeet
  • FITASC Universal Trench
  • FITASC Sporting

Each province fields a team of 12 shooters, split into four teams of three shooters per discipline.  Each shooter shoots 150 targets (100 Saturday, 50 Sunday).

Each province will set up their own method of selecting teams but quite often they hold both local trial competitions as well as allow members to count scores from CTSASA provincial or national championships.  There are CTSASA provincial championships in all disciplines held in each province :

  • Standard Championships (ATA Trap, ATA Trap Doubles, DTL Trap, NSSA Skeet, NSSA Skeet Doubles, Universal Trench and/or Olympic Trap, Olympic Skeet and Olympic Double-Trap)
  • English Sporting & FITASC TRAP1
  • FITASC Sporting Championships

You can find all of the above events on the CTSASA national calendar on our web site.

It’s important to note that each province will hold its own ‘domestic’ events as well as CTSASA events.  These events are often called ‘closed’ championships to denote an internal provincial championship.  These are not listed on the CTSASA national calendar.

For further information on how your own provincial trial system works, you will need to contact your provincial delegate – CLICK HERE to find out contact details.

Closed championship scores do not count towards national trials or national classifications.


See also FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS at the bottom of this page!

– these are run by the CTSASA and are used to select national teams in the following disciplines:

  • ATA Trap
  • ATA Trap Doubles
  • DTL Trap
  • English Sporting
  • FITASC Sporting
  • FITASC Trap1 (no national trial as at 2023, there is no international event in which to participate)
  • FITASC Universal Trench
  • NSSA Skeet
  • NSSA Skeet Doubles
  • Olympic Trap
  • Olympic Double-Trap
  • Olympic Skeet

There is a full explanation of how the trials are regulated in the document “National Trial Regulations“, which should be read in conjunction with Schedule A – please ensure that you read the National Trial Regulations in order to be fully informed.




  • In order to register for a National Trial the member needs to complete a registration form and pay the current trial levy fee.  He/she must also submit a copy of their ID book and current valid passport.  Trial registration can be submitted provided there are sufficient targets left in the trial to count towards eligibility.  Please see the National Trial Regulations for the details.


  • Only South African citizens may qualify for National Protea Colours.  Members who qualify but who are not SA citizens may earn CTSASA Merit Colours.

TRIAL EVENTS (CTSASA Championships where National Trial targets are shot)

  • The trial events are CTSASA national and provincial championships which are listed on the CTSASA calendar – the ‘domestic’ provincial events are not included (i.e. championships held within a province but which are not CTSASA championships), so this means the ‘closed’ events are not counted as national trials.  To explain further, events that are NOT on the CTSASA calendar are NOT South African National Team trials.
  • Occasionally there could be an additional trial event for the Olympic disciplines.  This event is sometimes necessary in order to make up sufficient trial events for the time period involved.  All additional national trial events are open to all CTSASA members in exactly the same way that national and provincial championships are.


  • Each discipline will have a designated event where the qualifiers/team participate, e.g. a world championship, European championship, ISSF World Cup or Continental championship (ISSF/ASSF African Shooting Championships).  This is the event where the qualifiers must shoot in order to ratify their National Protea Colours.


  • The trial period is approximately 15 months leading up to the designated event.  This is a maximum of one year for the actual trial events (i.e. where you shoot your trial scores) plus approximately 3 months after the cut-off date for team qualification prior to the designated event.  This is to allow time for administration, application for colours, travel arrangements etc.
  • For example, if the designated event is on the 1st August 2024, then the cut-off date for selection could be 1st May 2024.  This would mean that all CTSASA national and provincial championships in the relevant discipline, e.g. ATA Trap, from 1st May 2023 to 1st May 2024 could count as trial events.


  • During the year of trial events, the trialist must shoot a minimum number of scores in order to be considered for selection.  This does vary from discipline to discipline.
  • The trial events will provide a certain number of “scores to count” e.g. in ATA Trap there are 21 scores available to shoot (21 x 100 targets, 2 x 100 targets at each provincial championship and 3 x 100 targets at the SA Championship (SA Grand).  As at 2023 the system stipulates that the trialist must shoot a minimum of 40% of the available targets in order to be eligible for selection.  This means that of the 21 scores available, the trialist must shoot a minimum of 8 scores.  No part scores are accepted.  When more than 8 scores are shot, the lower scores are dropped off.  So if a trialist has shot say 14 scores, the worst 6 scores are dropped – the best 8 scores are used.
  • Each discipline has a Minimum Qualifying Score to achieve (MQS).  This means that the trialist must achieve this score in order to be eligible for selection to the team.
  • All of the trial position schedules, which gives the details of trialists’ scores (PLUS all the non-trialists), latest positions in the trial, dates for the beginning and end of the trial, designated event, score to achieve etc, are posted on the CTSASA web site and updated after each trial event – HERE


This is where a discipline has more than one designated event, and/or where the event(s) are held at different times in the year. The CTSASA will select teams using the same principles as all the trials i.e.

1. Take the designated event date e.g. 1st September 2024
2. Come back approximately 3 months to determine the cut-off date, e.g. 1st June 2024
3. Come back a maximum of one year to determine the start of the trial period, i.e. 1st July 2023

Sometimes it is possible that the date of the designated event is not known until after the start of the trial period. Therefore it is important for trialists to fully understand how the trial system works and to keep up to date with calendar notifications and updates.


  • At the end of the series of trial events, the Executive Officer will issue invitations to the qualifiers and the qualifier must respond with an acceptance or rejection of the invitation within a given time frame.  All correspondence is via email unless otherwise requested by the trialist.
  • At all times, the onus is on the trialist or potential trialist to ensure he/she has the correct information.  All of the information on national trials is on the CTSASA web site (HERE) or obtainable from the Executive Officer at

Whatever you do, please don’t rely on hearsay if you are needing vital information!  The different disciplines do have different requirements and rules do change sometimes.  The CTSASA obviously sends out notices when anything changes so if national trials are important to you, please do keep an eye out for the latest news.

Please do make use of the CTSASA web site for the latest information or, if you are unsure about anything, always please always feel free to contact the Executive Officer at the CTSASA office –


Why do I have to register for a National Protea Trial : 1?   The CTSASA generally administers between 8 and 10 National Protea Trials each year.  Upon the completion of each trial, there are a number of administrative functions that the Executive Officer is responsible for, namely sending out invitations to the qualifying trialists; applying for National Colours; submitting entries for the designated event; sending visa support letters etc.  In addition to the duties of the Executive Officer, each qualifying team member/individual has to organise various firearm permits, flights, accommodation, visas, Protea clothing, etc.  This all has to be done within a 3 month time-frame, therefore time is of the essence!  By requiring the registration of members into a National Protea Trial, at the end of the trial period the Executive Officer will know who is committed to the National Trial and who requires an official Protea team invitation.  This is a very important point to note because the National Trial Position schedules list all competitors, irrespective of whether they are registered as a national trialist.  Each Protea Team invitation requires a response by a given date and therefore by avoiding sending invitations to members who do not wish to be a part of the national trial, we streamline the invitation process.

Why do I have to register for a National Protea Trial : 2?   The registration process also ensures that trialists send in a copy of their current passport (which is required for the National Protea Colours application) so that at the end of the trial the administration office has the information already to hand.  The submission of the registration form is also confirmation that the trialist is registered in the correct discipline and that the trialist confirms that he/she understands the national trial system and is aware of where to find all the regulations and results for the national trials.

Can a trial year have trial competitions twice at the same venue?   Yes, this happens on a regular basis.  For example, if the CTSASA Central Gauteng Standard Championship is held at Wattlespring Sport Shooting Club in February 2025, and then at the end of April 2025 Wattlespring Sport Shooting Club hosts the South African Grand, then all the targets shot at both these events will count for national trials.  It can also happen that due to changes in the timing of a particular provincial championship, that two provincial championships could be held in the same trial period.  Although the competition calendar does have a broad pattern for many events, due to the timing of both domestic and international championships, this may change the timing of regular championships.  There is no regulation that prevents this from occurring.  It is important to note that National Protea Trials operate on a TIME basis, i.e. a start date and an end date.  National Protea Trials are not structured to start or end with a specific event.  

Can trial targets shot at a provincial or SA championship count for two different National Protea Trials?  E.g. for qualification in 2 different years or for 2 different designated international events?  Yes, this happens in what we call our “rollover” system for Olympic Trap, as well as sometimes for English and FITASC Sporting disciplines and occasionally for DTL Trap.  In theory, it could apply to any discipline where there is more than one designated event:

  • If there is more than one designated event in a trial year, e.g. an Olympic World Cup in March and June, plus an Olympic World Championship in September, then the cut-off point for team selection may vary for each event, thereby varying the trial year targets applicable for each event.
  • It can also happen where, for example, a designated event is held in July or August in say 2024, and then in the same discipline, the designated event in 2025 is held early in the year, e.g. March or April.  This has occurred before with English Sporting as well as with DTL Trap.

How will I know when a trial year starts and which event is the start of the trial year for a given discipline?  In order to determine the start of the trial year for a discipline, we need the date of the designated event for the qualification year.  It’s very easy with ATA and NSSA as their world championships are held at the same time each year.  FITASC is fairly consistent with their dates but they can vary on the odd occasion, especially with FITASC Sporting because every few years the world championship is held in North America.  The Olympic disciplines are on a constant “rollover” basis so Olympic trialists know that all of the Olympic trials will count as trial targets most of the time.  DTL Trap and English Sporting are sometimes unknown because these events are held in the Northern and Southern hemispheres and sometimes in North America.

Sometimes it is simply not possible to know the precise starting date of a national trial, or determine the first trial event, because the date of the designated event for the National Protea Team is unavailable or unconfirmed.  This is beyond the control of the CTSASA.  We advise all trialists to ensure they are aware of how our trial system works and to contact the Executive Officer with any queries they may have –