The Long & Painful Detour
July 2011 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
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. But I am tenacious and it is with great determination that I am learning to master my "pro model" digital camera. Master might be a bit much but I am gaining ground.
I share this because all too frequently I watch my new student implode after a short series of misses. I say this sincerely, I can empathize with their frustration. In the shooting box - whereas I see each shot progressively getting better and better - he or she is only seeing the missing. It's a matter of perspective.
It seems that patience with thyself is always in short supply. Why? Well, though we know this intellectually, we forget: our skill advancement is not an event, it is a process. This I must repeat over and over again to myself as I work with my camera's controls trying to get the depth-of-field right. Eventually we discover that knowledge and skills are not gifts and a few cuss words won't change that fact.
Try looking at it this way. If it's frustrating, we have in front of us an opportunity to learn. Once we understand that, some tough self-discipline will get us to the answer, the understanding and then the skill - and a whole lot faster. Frustration, left unchecked, is and always has been the most difficult, most time consuming detour around the mission in the box. How long is this detour? That's entirely up to us and depends on our ability to remain focused on our task in the box, instead of the frustration.
Once we decide to move our game to the next level - preparing in advance to deal effectively with frustration should take precedence. Adjust your perspective early and by all means, avoid the detour.
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............
When it comes to my personal shooting, I am a pragmatist. Pragmatists are less concerned with shotgun aesthetics and why things work - just as long as they do work - all the time. That’s important to us because we tend to be a bit more "score" conscious. Long past "fads & notions" we’re more attentive to what really does help us put more X’s on our score sheet. Gun fit, gun selection, gun weight, gun balance, lens color, shell selection - all are optimized for one very specific purpose: to run this Station, and the next............