December 2011 Sporting Clays Tip
by Dan Schindler
No doubt, do something long enough and some things become obvious. This is about my number 1 observation in every formal lesson I give, formal meaning the lesson objective is advancing student knowledge and skill development.
Possibly you read some of my articles over the summer of 2011? I felt particularly good about those articles because they covered what I consider to be "the second most important" aspect of becoming a more consistent shooter with a rising score average: gun management. Gun management is all about how - and where - we move our gun during the swing. The goal being to remove as much "random movement" during the swing as we possibly can. And it goes without saying, an incorrect muzzle hold point before the trap fires has already assured the swing will start off badly. Add to that poor foot position and the focal point in the wrong place - the odds are now high the target will be missed and the trap hasn’t fired yet!
The term "non-negotiable" refers to one inescapable fact. If the shotstring doesn’t intercept the target, lost bird. We don’t need good form to get that to happen - UNLESS we want to be able to repeat that shot consistently. The non-negotiables are the physics of the shot, the math, the geometry, which is to say aligning the factors of target line and speed, gun speed, shell speed and distance to the target - all to achieve a successful shotstring intercept with the target. Personally, I genuinely dislike anything that puts math into the shotgun shooting equation. But we can’t escape that random gun movement effectively disrupts the math or the physics of the shot - resulting in a lost target - consistently. Again - if consistency is the goal - the laws (rules) of physics can’t be broken and expect a broken target.
Every single, tiny move of the gun, off the target line, at the wrong speed, is opposite of the math needed to break the target. I do my best not to teach math in the shotgun swing. But I do fervently teach the proper set up on a target and a swing with as little random movement as possible so the math works out - XX! Consistently.
Lastly, none of the above suggests that we create a "careful" swing. I am suggesting we be precise in our set up on the target and then during the swing. Hence the need to create better gun management - if consistency is the goal.
Be safe, and all of us at Paragon wish you the very best of the Holiday Season.
In this instance, I think the "disclaimer" should come first because folks enjoy our great sport for different reasons. For many shooters, sporting clays is more a social event, a relaxed round of clays with friends. Skill improvement would of course be nice, but weekly training sessions aren't likely on the priority list. Perfectly understandable. I think the social approach is pretty much where we all started, didn't we?............
As we're starting a new year and the tournament season is a few short months away, I thought now would be a good time to look at this in preparation for the season ahead. This is about making sure our gun - choke and barrel - are patterning where they're supposed to. Please don't assume they are. Gun manufacturers do a good job with this - but not always............