July 2009 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
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. The trap fires and your swing begins. Remember now, your body is rotating but can only rotate to the right just so far. How far it can rotate will depend on where your feet are set.
Set your feet set incorrectly - too far to the left and back towards the trap - your hips will soon lock up and restrain your swing. Precisely when your swing is coming into your breakpoint and you need to be pulling away from the target - you can't rotate that far! Trust me, you're not aware of it but your swing is now slowing down just when it should be ACCELERATING.
Time and time again I see shooters of all skill levels get aggressive and set their feet towards the trap. Right on schedule and just before the trigger pull their hips lock up and the gun slows down noticeably. Result: the lead collapses and the shot falls behind. Slim and trim as I know you are, you still need to set your feet to favor your chosen breakpoint - not the trap.
Setting your feet properly allows your hips to OPEN, RELEASING the swing and follow through - a definite advantage and especially on those really fast crossers.
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..............
Any of this sound familiar? You lifted your head. You should be shooting a tighter choke. Less choke. You missed behind. Over. Too much in front. You haven't been practicing enough. You should have shot #8's here. You need to slow down. Swing faster. You need to trust yourself more. Give the target more. Less. And the list goes on.
I respectfully propose to you that the above suspected reasons - likely didn't cause the miss..............