Are You Shooting In The Dark?
June 2009 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
No doubt, shotgun shooting is an art, not a science. Swing pace and rhythm, timing of the trigger pull, eye-hand coordination, triangulating compound leads, these would indeed be hard to measure and quantify. Logic does not always apply and slide rule calculations to explain what happened will likely be impossible.
All of that said, certain part of the shooting equation can be articulated with specifics. For example, this particular part of the shooting equation must be clearly understood to gain any real consistency in Sporting Clays.
When you hit - or miss a target - do you know why?
Good shooting - really good shooting - is all about sight pictures. Not just our lead picture - but what we see from swing start to finish. I'm talking about our visual bird-barrel relationships.
Many people do not see these relationships or know they exist. They do.
Muzzle placement (in relationship to the moving target) - during the swing - is critical to the success of each shot. This moving placement must be seen by the shooter. As Sporting Clays continues to evolve and target presentations become more and more technical, the demand for swing precision has become progressively more important. What are you seeing? How can you be precise if you don't see these sight pictures?
The shooter who watches these bird-barrel relationships has 2 huge advantages over those who don't. First, the sight pictures that unfolded during the swing and yield an X can now be repeated from memory. The shooter saw what happened and can now repeat the same visual sequence. XXXXX. Second, the swing sight pictures that resulted in an 0 will reveal the swing error - provided the shooter was watching the bird-barrel relationships during the swing. Swing mistake seen - there is no mystery about what caused the miss. Bird-barrel pictures visually adjusted on the next shot, XXXXX.
If you hit - or missed the target - and don't know why, what is the plan for your next shot? How will you improve?
First, let me say that I don't like missing a target any more than you do. Watching a target sail to it's final resting place intact and untouched is always a bit unnerving and too often gives rise to thoughts of some personal shortcoming. Not my idea of fun and I doubt yours as well.
Most commonly, I see this phenomenon when I am teaching. Missed targets are the catalyst for a host of negative emotions and reactions from my student, none of which by the way are conducive to breaking the next..............
This gets overlooked so much it justifies why we should take a minute to review. While there are some times when this isn't all that critical, there are more times when it is.
Please stand up and extend your arms out to each side, parallel to the floor. Gently turn your body clockwise - now counter-clockwise. No surprise - your body rotates - but only to a point and then comes to a stop
The target is a crosser, 90 degree angle, left to right and moderately fast..............