Just A Little Pearl
June 2007 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
Here, we're talking about your Focal Point in your set-up, step 4 after step 1) Break Point, 2) Foot Position, and 3) Muzzle Hold Point.
Focal Point is where you place your eyes to see the target, before you call for the bird. Establishing that location and then looking there ensures you will see the bird without wasting time hunting for it. On many fields in your round, milliseconds really do count. Seeing the bird punctually starts your gun movement in the right direction and on time. That part about "on time" is important.
Which brings us to Jerry's pearl. He said, "Be a miser with your muzzle and a spendthrift with your eyes." Miser with your muzzle means an economical and efficient swing. Spendthrift with your eyes means, go find the target. Look for it,...hunt for it if you have to. Look back for it. If you can look through the bushes, leaves or limbs and see it leave the trap, or track it's flight early before it reaches the opening where everyone else first sees it: advantage you. While this isn't always important, there are times when seeing that bird early gives you a precious head-start. A head-start that saves you time on the first bird that you can now apply on the second bird. And having a little extra time on the 2nd target never hurt any of us.
Thanks Jerry. Hope this finds you well and still sharing your wisdom with others.
All of you who know what self-talk is, raise your hand. That's right, it's that little voice in our head,...carrying on a dialogue with us. More specifically, that voice is you,...speaking to yourself. All too often, that little voice is saying something negative. It's chastising us, maybe even criticizing. While self-talk can be positive and uplifting, many times the dialogue is negative and can be harmful to our performance in the shooting box.
How many times have you been missing targets and heard that voice punishing you?...............
Here's another small step in our set-up that's often forgotten, then costs us a target. Or more.
Before the target leaves the trap, hopefully your muzzle is very still, motionless before you call for the bird. When the trap fires, your muzzle begins to move. It slowly accelerates, building speed to match the target's speed and possibly accelerating even further to create forward allowance. So it's fair to say as the muzzle picks up speed, the swing is building momentum coming into the breakpoint and the trigger pull...............