Here’s a simple lesson I’ve learned while teaching. It’s not the new methods that make student improvement harder…it’s letting go of what he/she believes. Especially when that swing is breaking some targets. Why change?
That’s a great question, which is answered in depth in my new book, Beyond The Target (Book III). In this TIP, I thought this particular analogy would illuminate why our habits can be so hard to abandon…even when we know it’s those habits that lead to inconsistency and lower scores.
It was somewhere around 2010 and I was working with a gentleman from South America. A world traveler and hunter, he and I had come to a point in his lesson where he was struggling to replace an old swing habit with the new, more consistent method. When he executed the swing with the new method, XXXX, clearly noticed each and every time. When the old habit surfaced, 0X0X00, again, noticed. Unfortunately, while this is common in lessons, his old habit was so deeply ingrained the results were exasperating my student. Time for a break.
Sitting across the table from me, a wide, gratified smile unexpectedly appeared on his face. An understanding had come to him. So I asked him to share the conclusion he’d obviously come to. Here is what he said.
He’d been hunting big game in a remote area of the world where monkeys happened to thrive. These monkeys, sought after by the local hunters, were not easily caught. So the hunters came up with a cunning plan to catch the monkeys. Their plan would rely on a basic need of all creatures: hunger.
Using a little, hollow bowl with a narrow opening, the hunters placed a small amount of food in the bottom and attached the bowl to a strong vine or sapling. The monkey’s hand could slide into the bowl but only barely. Clasping the food inside with its fist, the monkey discovered it was unable to pull its fist out of the bowl. Now, it could let go of the food, but didn’t want to. Stay and hold on…or let go and “maybe” find something better? Hunger is a powerful incentive. More often than not, holding-on led to a monkey still hungry and now in a net.
Having recalled the story, the analogy led my student to his situation on the range today. He couldn’t let go. He clung to the old habit that sometimes broke the target. After all, good form or not, that swing DID work…sometimes. He now realized, he had to let go of the “sometimes swing,” or he would remain stuck where he was.
Breaking the target here and there…sometimes…can be gratifying. So much so, it is hard to “let go” of that gratification to risk the unknown, to find another way to more X’s, more consistency and higher scores. To accomplish this, however, will require our letting go, which immediately opens the door to improvement and real progress. Which is to say, we’ll never get to 2nd base if we keep one foot on 1st. Stay here, 0X0X00X0…or let go and discover XXXXXX.
Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you on the course.
Dan Schindler has been a full-time, professional Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructor since 1990, and is a master instructor, competitor, and Coach. Dan has continuously refined his shooting program to competently help shooters of all levels - regardless of their shooting issues - accelerating their skill advancement. Steadily, by building solid fundamentals and properly executing the process, shooters learn how to implement the best shooting methods for each of the various target presentations. Then learn how to correct their own misses and how to repeat the successful swing. In simple, logical steps, Dan takes the mystery out of your shooting, thus, predictably raising your X count.
Take Your Best Shot (Book I) is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting.
To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing.
Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels, filled with valuable information, clay target truths. Entertaining and a culmination of 3 decades of Dan' life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer and much more.