It is interesting, and completely understandable, that the X or 0 holds so much of our attention. And why not? That’s what counts, right?
Well, yes it does. And, if we are serious about the next target breaking, why we got that X also counts.
A few years back, Denise and her husband George traveled a fair distance to work with me. After the handshakes, we sat down and I went through the preliminaries with them as I do all my students. Not long after, we began on the River Bend skeet range to instill the set-up and swing basics. George had the slower, more methodical swing, thus achieved more consistency and success. Denise was the newer, less experienced shooter. A take charge lady with high expectations of herself, she soon became overwhelmed after a few, totally understandable misses. She wasn’t so sure about the understandable part. Her disappointment was obvious.
We stopped and I went over the first swing step, the only step I was asking her to accomplish. This first step was her intercepting the target as it came off the trap machine. She acknowledged this and, again, set up properly. I thought to myself, we’re off to a good start. The trap fired and Denise again raced to the break point and fired, skipping the first step altogether. Lost bird. After doing this twice more, we stopped. 000.
That she was rushing and skipping the first step was on her. But it was also on me. That’s the Teacher’s responsibility. Somehow, some way, I had to help her focus on step one, and actually get a punctual target intercept. We took a break and I remembered her background, discussed in the clubhouse. Denise and George owned and operated a small, family-run production company. So I asked Denise to explain the production. She said it was an assembly line process and explained the progression from beginning to end.
I asked Denise, if a mistake was made in the very first step on the assembly line, would the product turn out right when it came off the line? She said no, of course not. So I asked, politely, why would her swing finish correctly if she kept skipping the first step? Aha!!! We reviewed the step one procedure and she was back in the box, shell in the chamber. X. X. X. 0. X. 0. X. X.
Because of our self-created expectations and other common distractions, also self-created, it’s not unusual to watch a student skip set-up and/or swing steps in a determined rush to break the bird. Almost always with the same result, lost target.
With my CPA student skipping steps, I ask him to consider that their # 1 client will be in his office at 10 AM to go over the tax submissions. At 9:30, the secretary brings him the 77-page tax filing for review. One page 2, a major calculation error is discovered. To which I ask my student, past page 2, are any of the calculations correct? Smiling, he says, “Nope. Can’t be." If our swing starts inaccurately, can it end correctly? Consistently?
My next student, also skipping steps, is a contractor building a new home. I ask if the blueprint isn’t followed today, will construction go as planned tomorrow? If we want our swing to finish correctly, shouldn’t we start it correctly? These are the indispensable basics…the blueprint forbuilding a more consistent, more successful swing.
Thanks again for stopping by. Be safe and I hope to see you out on the course.
Daniel Schindler is a Paragon Master Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructor. . . and founder of Paragon School of Sporting, Inc. Over many decades . . . reinforcing the fundamentals and basics . . . Dan has developed and refined a totally reliable and repeatable shooting “system.” This system ensures that the student will not only learn “how” to break targets but how to “self-correct” their miss…and repeat their successful shot…on their own, after their lesson. Using proven, well-established methods, the system is specific, uncomplicated, and flat works! This not only removes the mysteries that surround shooting…but even more importantly builds consistency into the shooter’s game. Dan believes that every Sporting Clays and Wingshooting teacher is obligated to prepare his or her student to be successful in the box and in the field, after their lesson. When implemented correctly, the Paragon system is 100% trustworthy regardless of shooter age, gender or skill level.
Daniel Schindler is the author of “Take Your Best Shot” (Book I) SOLD OUT! New edition coming January 2019, “To The Target”(Book II) and Beyond The Target(Book III). He is also the author of 142+ Sporting Clays magazine articles (1992 – 2015) and an audio CD on the mental game, currently sold out.