May 2008 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
Preparing for competition ahead of time puts your mind at ease, knowing that what you need will be there when you need it. That includes your attention, which you can now put on the target in front of you, unnecessary distractions eliminated because you prepared ahead of time. Here's a short list of things I ask my students to do as they prepare for competition.
1. Just once, check to make sure your POI is correct. (See April 2008 Tip)
2. At the beginning of each year, have your gun serviced. Preventive maintenance is always a good idea.
3. Register for your match early. Getting that off your to-do list brings peace of mind that your place in line is reserved and secure.
4. Some dedicated practice will reveal where you are strong and what might need some work. Best to find this out now, not later. This same practice, confirming what is working very well, boosts confidence.
5. Stockpile some energy. Begin at least a week before your match, getting the sleep and rest you will need to perform at your best. Yes, I know, not always easy to do. But doing so does make a difference.
6. At least a few days before the match, begin to set aside all your gear. I like to mentally walk through my tournament as this creates a checklist of what I will need. Assembling our gear early assures us we'll know where it will be when we need it. Doing this early also avoids last minute crisis and allows us to keep our thoughts in order as the days count down.
7. If your match will be in very hot weather remember: the hydration your body needs today comes from the water you consumed yesterday. Start early-build your reserves. This is crucial, especially if hot weather affects you as it does me.
8. Arrive at your match early. You can chill out knowing you and your gear are present and accounted for.
9. Check your gear twice before leaving for your first field.
10. Arriving on station,...rest. Let your thoughts of being prepared build your confidence as you wait for your turn.
What is POI? It's Point of Impact and there are multiple ways to look at POI. The first is the nature of your barrels to shoot straight and a second refers to proper gun fit.
Do your barrels actually send the shotstring on a straight line to the target? From a bench rest, as you would a rifle, does your shotstring hit the bulls-eye dead on, with 50% distribution on the top, bottom, left and right? Or is it slightly high, low or off center? If score is a priority in your game, this is an important piece of information. You barrels should be shooting dead on..............
In late 2007 I made some important changes to my shooting. That meant I was putting my attention on those changes during practice. Early this year I was still working diligently on those changes, even during my tournaments. As a result of that, my attention riveted on specific parts of my shooting, I slipped and made errors I don't usually make.
One match station in particular had a long, fast, right-to-left crosser through the trees that was causing everyone problems. Hiding in plain sight was a breakpoint on our far left where the target coasted gently into the grass at about 40 yards..............