The Myth Of Superior Talent
February 2012 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
Here's a fair question. Do you believe a person who trains harder and longer can perform at a level higher than a more talented individual? Statistics repeatedly show talent is highly overrated, and the answer to the question is yes.
After working with many, many students across the US and abroad, it's hard to count all the times I've witnessed incredible talent in the shooting box. There's an enviable swing and an almost supernatural ability to sense the correct forward allowance regardless of target presentation and difficulty level. Good shooting seems to come naturally. Add a little motivation, maybe a passion about shooting and voila, we have a shooter who steps onto the course and frequently leaves his or her mark.
So talent certainly does exist - whether it's developed or not. It is unquestionably an asset, and we all have it. But, while shooting skills may start at a certain talent level, talent plays a diminishing role in further skill development. Skill improvement has little to do with talent and a whole lot more to do with training. For example, first-time shooters are already far more capable than originally assumed. Especially in the hands of a competent teacher, this has been proven countless times. Shooter gender is irrelevant and, for the most part, so is age. This shooter can break targets with an obvious level of consistency. But the potential for skill advancement can only be mined in the shooting box. Above average vision, reflexes and eye-hand coordination - on their own - will have difficulty keeping pace with "average" and dedicated training sessions.
Putting talent aside for a moment - whatever that level may be - let's start our "average" shooter (if there is such a thing) on a very reasonable training program. Naturally, I hope, and would suggest, that the training include some competent guidance. Let's say this program includes, a) a qualified teacher, b) a firm commitment to the stated goals, and c) sit ups and push ups. Those are trips to the shooting ground dedicated to skill development. Each session specifically focuses on isolating a particular part of the shooting game - honing that part to a higher and higher level of proficiency. With trips to the range completed on a regular basis, skill levels will advance and markedly so. So much so, this shooter can - within a reasonable time frame - achieve performance levels higher than those with "supposedly" above-average levels of talent. This is so common, I see it occurring everywhere, in training, and in tournaments.
If you wish to explore how far you can go in 2012 - put your faith into time and effort on the course, hopefully with a teacher. The odds are high, you will advance your skills well beyond expectations! Because training and perspiration trumps talent and inspiration 7 days a week.
As we're starting a new year and the tournament season is a few short months away, I thought now would be a good time to look at this in preparation for the season ahead. This is about making sure our gun - choke and barrel - are patterning where they're supposed to. Please don't assume they are. Gun manufacturers do a good job with this - but not always............
I recently said in my article that at times I feel like a dinosaur out here. That's true. The Editor of Sporting Clays magazine thought enough of my work to publish over 115 of my articles, every single one I submitted. Thank you George. That's a lot of my personal thoughts and opinions, more than 207,000 words to be exact.
So I think, collectively, a whole bunch of writers have now covered a lot of our game sufficiently............