As theSporting Claysseason is about to kick off, here are a few thoughts about how to start our new year, in the right direction. No, not my direction…what might be your best direction.
Understandably, and rightfully so, a lot of attention is given to our equipment choices, making those choices a high priority. No arguments here, let’s make good choices. Right after that we’ll begin to polish our shooting, our methods and strategies, signing up for events we wish to attend. This is an intelligent, prudent approach. But is this what’s most important, the first question at the top of our to-do list?
Those who climb the ladder to more consistency and higher scores are on the ladder of reality. Others who seek that consistency and higher scores, generally speaking, cart loaded and rolling, have no specific plan to achieve those goals. That’s the ladder of wishful thinking. Sorry, there’s no intent to be judgmental, but reality requires us to take a hard look at not only where we want to go, but where we are now, and what’s our first step to get there?
OK, so we need a plan. A real plan that includes entertainment but also includes purpose and commitment. Before we even begin thinking about practice, possibly instruction, there’s a more important question to be asked.As Bryan Brueck said,“Why are you here?” Please think about that for a moment. He’s asking us, what do we most want to take out of Sporting? When it’s all said and done and the guns are cleaned and put away, what do you truly want from your game and Sporting Clays? I’m offering this question because we cannot realistically expect to get back, more than we put in.
Skill…proficiency with a shotgun, must be earned. With all respect to the social shooter, for the shooter earnestly seeking improvement, this earning is a process, a journey that begins with a tough, truthful look inside yourself to discover what you want from Sporting, what you are willing to work for. Don’t leave home without those reasons because faith and commitment can be fickle, here today, gone tomorrow. Those reasons will not only help you build and maintain your progress, but sustain you when times get tough, as they always do.
Sporting Clays is a grand game, one I personally value in many, many ways. But, like it or not, the game does not ask, it demands our respect. Set up and swing errors won’t be excused. “Lost pair Sir.” More determination won’t always break the target either. It takes more than that, as we all have learned. To prepare for 2017, I urge you to begin with “Why are you here?” Embrace the answer, it is your True North.