Oct 17, 2020 | By: Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor
Far, far away in a distant galaxy, there’s a place where everyone is perfect and every Sporting Clay target is broken. Every single time. Perfect scores. All the time. With nothing to learn, of course, there was no “challenge” in any of this. Naturally, half of these folks went over to Skeet and the other half went to Trap.
We, it seems, aren’t perfect. At least not yet. Here and there we still miss one or two. Maybe not you personally, but most of us do. For us, there’s still a bit of challenge in Sporting Clays. So, what is it that we want to see happen? Right. Break the target! When? NOW, of course! Hopefully. Please. And when the target is missed, we’re not just disappointed. Oh no. Watching the missed target disappear into the trees creates a perception of defeat, the impression that we have FAILED! OK, not you. But I missed and everyone else broke that target. I’m thinking, what’s wrong with me?
A bit harsh? Maybe, but hopefully, you see my point. Missing is here to stay. And, unfortunately, in our sports (Trap, Skeet & Sporting), a missed target all too often leads our shooter to this misunderstanding: “I failed.”
Let’s talk about that.
As the months go by, one-by-one, endless flats of shells are reduced to an Everest sized pile of empty hulls. Would it be fair to say that all this time and shooting is an ongoing “process?” A lengthy course of events? Whereas, a 1 shell, 1 shot miss is simply a one and done event. And that event is over. It’s history.
A lost target is simply one event that didn’t meet our expectations. And when it doesn’t? Does our disappointment disappear as we watch the missed target float into the pond? Nope. Does our missing generate all kinds of target-stealing self-criticisms? Yup. Here’s when the performance breaks down, OXOXXO. All because of a miss or two. Folks, like it or not, missing is inevitable. Maybe not for you dear reader, but for the rest of us, misses are simply inescapable. Can any one of us honestly say we will never miss a target? And right there is exactly why our perception of “I failed” just isn’t true.
For those of us who are committed to improving our game, there’s a better way to look at missing. Every O and X is simply an opportunity to correct what went wrong, or reinforce what went right. It’s our learning from this 1 event that keeps our process, our journey of improving, moving forward. That miss (and X) is behind us. Gun coming up, Priority One is focusing on what we have to do now. And especially now with a scorekeeper standing beside us!
The negative part in all this is the misconception of our failing, followed by the judging and criticizing ourselves after the miss.
The truth is, consistently good shooting truly is an art. That skill, that art, however, has to come second to first learning the science, the correct methods. There’s another truth. Without our assembling that science – and our correct, consistent execution of that science (the methods) – we’re very understandably left with our natural shortcomings, an inconsistent swing, and OXOXXO. That’s not a criticism – nor a judgment – but a long-established reality. Shooting will always involve our limitations, mistakes, and…yeah, missing.
So, why the judging? True, for the weekend warrior, feeling despair over a miss is a lot more understandable. But that same despair would be a serious distraction, thus contraindicated for the shooter who’s practicing hard, bent on improving.
For those of us working on our “swing management” skills, there is another very important skill. Specifically, the skill of intentionally raising our scores. That skill will very much depend on our giving ourselves some latitude when missing occurs, followed by our continuing to concentrate on what really matters as the gun is closing for our next pair. Which means, we can’t let even 1 miss derail our best shooting. Stay focused on your next swing. Right on schedule and very dependably – there’s more Xs on your score card. Count on it.
Thanks for sharing some of your time with us. Be safe and I very much look forward to seeing you out on the course.
Dan Schindler is one of only 60 worldwide members of the Guild of Shooting Instructors (UK) and is one of the most highly respected Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructors in the US. Dan is an NSCA Level III Instructor (since 1995) and founded the Paragon School of Sporting with one goal in mind. Whether it be for the advanced competitor or providing the basics to the entry-level shooter, Paragon provides the simplest, most practical and most effective Instruction, Coaching and Mental Training for the Sporting Clays & Wingshooting enthusiast. Dan Schindler helps shooters alleviate a lot of their frustration by taking the mystery out of breaking targets, calling their own misses, and make their own corrections. Lessons are fun, enlightening and our clients learn to shoot better in minutes!
Yes, Dan's books help you take the MYSTERY out of missing targets and help you quickly learn steps to shoot more CONSISTENTLY! Order Dan's 3 books NOW!
Newest Release...Take Your Best Shot (Book I), 3rd Edition isTHE Gold Standard Primer...
and is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting. This book is used by high school and college shooting teams, recreational and competitive shooters from around the world. Solid, valuable, concise information that has helped thousands of shooters shoot more consistently with higher scores.
To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing.
Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels, filled with valuable information, clay target truths. Entertaining and a culmination of 3 decades of Dan's life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer, and much more.
A few Facebook comments on Dan Schindler's and Dan's Books:
Mark Engen, DVMThese three books are a must-read for all clay target shooters. They are clear, concise, logical instructions on how to shoot clay targets and how to improve your scores. Taking a lesson from Dan would be very advantageous & help hasten the learning process. He has been my instructor for 15 years. With each lesson, I always come away amazed how much I have learned & how my scores improve. He also emphasizes how important it is to practice regularly & stay with his advice & recommendations to really learn new skills to improve your scores. He has helped me tremendously & I highly recommend him.
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