The First Move
June 2011 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
Last month we talked about Just Enough, a way of saying we don't want too much or too little gun speed. Establishing a good relationship between the bird and muzzle early in the swing creates the much needed precision to build our X count.
Only occasionally do I have a student with too little gun speed. That is to say, most folks are swinging their gun too fast. This month's Tip revolves around a good way to find the right pace so we can lock up that bird / barrel relationship not late but early in the swing. The earlier the better. This greatly reduces unnecessary movement that compromises the precision in our swing.
Long years of teaching experience have shown me that a swing that starts out fast usually overruns the target. Result? As the swing is coming into the trigger pull, muzzle now ahead of the bird by too much, our shooter throws the brakes on. Now the swing is decelerating instead of smoothly accelerating. Basically, we've got a fast start, then slowing down and stopping the gun, just when we need the opposite.
Consider this alternative. Feet set, hold point chosen, your barrel is now very still, motionless, waiting on the target launch. You say pull. In my opinion, what happens next is critical to establishing precision early in the swing. Like "now." The trap fires and your gun is about to move. The very first 3 to 4 inches - let me say that again - the very first 3 to 4 inches of muzzle movement should be slow. No, slower please. It's that nice slow "merging" of the muzzle and target that sets up the sight picture you want in the middle and the end of your swing. Because it starts slowly, the eyes can easily create the bird / barrel alignment. Gun speed is smoothly increased, accelerating nicely into the trigger pull and follow through - all under control.
During one of my lessons last week, my student answered my question in a very good way. I thought I would share his answer with you.
I prefer not to reach for my gun during a lesson unless I believe something of real value will come out of the shooting demonstration. And, I’ve learned that almost all of the time, my student actually will pick up on what I am trying to demonstrate and carry those images into the box as he or she resumes the shooting. Set up and executed properly at the right time, a good demonstration can be of real value in a lesson. This was one of those times............
Being a right-brain, artistic soul can also be a curse. It seems I can't touch anything mechanical without it exploding, burning up or just falling apart, never to be assembled again without pieces left over. A rock is a mechanical, engineering genius next to me.
That's why I get so frustrated when I attempt to use a new TV remote, reset the confused DVD player, or use my camera and other mechanical gadgetry. Way - way too many buttons and controls............