Nov 28, 2020 | By: Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor
It’s all about shooting…right? Well…not always. And yesterday was a classic example, where shooting was the tool, and the well-deserved outcomes were celebrated.
This particular “family” session was all about an “introduction” to shooting. I had 2 adults and 5 younger folks, ages between 11 and 21, all with zero experience. Nigel Gibbens at River Bend graciously helped me with our Instructor duties.
Clubhouse handshakes, eye dominance tests and safety orientation completed, our eager group headed to the covered 5-Stand. Following everyone’s introduction to recoil (all Lite loads), we were ready to commence shooting. Nigel with his group, I with mine, side-by-side in the shooting boxes, we took turns, alternating shooting. Both groups, 1 shell, 1 target, right on schedule, the “friendly” targets were breaking. To say our shooters were surprised would be an understatement. Shock and awe smiles were everywhere. Being respectful, each shooter was prompt to yield his position in the box to the next shooter. I will say, however, there was a tell-tale reluctance to yield…just one more shell, please!! We were all on a roll!
"This girl had grit a blind man could see."
With shooter confidence rising, upping the challenge a bit, here come the Report Pairs. Shooters in both groups, undaunted and visibly determined, XX. XX. XX. Seriously. Not exaggerating. And now, in my group, here’s when some friendly competition began to surface. Katie was, maybe 21? A wallflower she was not. This girl had grit a blind man could see. And let me tell you, Katie could SHOOT!! Right from the get-go, I saw something special happening every time she stepped into the box. This girl not only had fire, but Katie could also “walk the walk!!” XX. XX. XX. After her last XX, (at my whispered recommendation) she turned around and asked her Dad and Brother, “Any questions boys?” Standing there proud of her, I was deep in the shade of her Father’s smiling face. As I share with my Instructor Candidates in their certification classes, it’s not always about shooting.
Not to be outdone, the men stepped up and gave her a run for her money. With high-fives and a lot of applause mind you, the competition was getting fierce. I kept changing the target presentations and broken targets rained down on the field. As I stepped back to let her Father out of the box, I bumped into a very determined Katie. As soon as she stepped in, the look on her face told me something was definitely up. I was right.
Remember now, no one in this family had ever fired a shotgun. Chamber open, muzzle downrange, gun resting on the banister with my hand firmly on it, Katie pointed and asked, “How many shells will that gun hold?” Now, who’s upping the challenge? I said, 3. She asked if she could shoot 3 targets instead of 2? As our group was alone on the 5-Stand and 2 Instructors were present, I said yes to 3 targets ON REPORT. Over her shoulder, I glimpsed Nigel’s group watching. Face beaming with a smile, she turned around and said to the men…and I quote, “WATCH and LEARN.” I showed her the 3 different targets. 3 shells loaded, Brother on the controller, here we go. XXX. With authority. As in right now with a look on her face that said “Want to see that again folks?” The cheering thundered under the 5-Stand roof. I think some of that cheering came from the family.
Reputations at stake, the menfolk were now indeed mightily motivated. They repeated her performance…ALMOST. Folks, we have a winner. Please don’t share this with anyone…OK? That winner was me. And Nigel. And her Dad….her Brother…and the entire family.
I’ve said it before, I am blessed. My teaching career spans decades, where I’ve been granted the privilege of working with truly great people of all ages, from all walks of Life, E to Master class competitors. Yesterday’s session was not all about shooting. It was primarily about their “experience;” their individually overcoming the fear of the unknown; their anxiety of possibly failing; and then…not only watching themselves do what they thought they couldn’t…but then exceeding personal expectations far beyond what each had hoped. Yesterday…from youngest to oldest…not just confidence but personal self-worth was noticeably elevated.
Shooting can do that ya’ know, with a little competent guidance.
Happy Holidays ya’ll. Here’s to our many blessings in this great land called America. God bless and thanks for spending some time with Cheryl and I. I hope to see 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!
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