Dec 13, 2019 | By: Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Trap, Skeet and Wingshooting Instructor
$10,000 later in shells and targets and nothing has changed….
The fact that a great many people believe something
is no guarantee of its truth.
W. Somerset Maugham
It’s human nature to leap to methods that promise quick and convenient ways to improve. From Tom Fiumarello, Paragon Senior Instructor “It seems we as Americans have to have a hook. If we didn't, the golf industry would never exist. Instead of buying the latest and greatest driver, set of irons, or the "wonder wedge," everyone should take a lesson and learn how to correct a swing not even the newest wiz-bang driver would help.”
This week I read an article regarding “calculating lead” – how to create this lead using “measuring.” In this case, logic alone cannot establish truths. Here, our first task is to find reality.
How do you calculate lead? You don’t.
On measuring lead from Bob Lockett, Paragon Senior Instructor “The nanosecond a shooter allows his thoughts to drift away from executing the shot process, critical harmony with the target is lost in a futile, frantic attempt to measure lead. When the brain’s focus is shifted to measuring, the muzzles will begin to parachute (slow down) and the miss falls behind. Some amount of parachuting is almost inevitable.”
I pen these words as a full-time Instructor and Coach with over 3 decades of experience. Taught by the very best and worst Instructors, I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of students who, time after time, without end, have confirmed which methods really do work, which ones don’t, and most importantly WHY. Those confirmations are the very backbone, the foundation under Paragon preferred methodologies that – when tested and applied correctly – are repeatedly consistent and utterly dependable. No mystery, no confusion, no excuses, no homespun hand-me-down advice, just clear precise steps – a rock steady, reliable and consistent shooting system that leads directly to shooting improvement and more X’s.
Let’s all agree, our primary vision must be kept on the tight harmony between the target and muzzle with “some” muzzle awareness (MA) using our peripheral vision. Trust Your MA is something I’ve written extensively about in Sporting Clays magazine and in my books.
Please consider this my friend – in the aforementioned article on calculating lead, it appears the author is promoting Maintained Lead as the best way to do this. It’s the “how much” part that leads shooters to the frustrating, inconsistent results, XOOXOXOOO. 6 inches? 1 foot? 3 feet?How much lead is correct?
And, while all this measuring is taking place – per Senior Instructor Lockett – “History has shown that the shooter’s gun will typically, (unintentionally) begin to decelerate, causing the lead to collapse. This deceleration won’t be seen by the shooter who is, instead, intently focused on “measuring how much lead.” O. O. O. O. Now totally confused – all confidence gone – with no solution to be found, another shell goes into the gun. O. O. So much for “guesstimating” how much more to add or reduce the lead. Is all this “measuring” the right answer? If you wish to trial and error your way through learningand REMEMBERING how to correctly match a library of hundreds of lead sight pictures to just as many target presentations, this may be your best method.
For example, Skeet has 25 known, repetitious target presentations. So, yes, in Skeet, lead can be successfully measured. Sporting Clays, however, has FAR more presentations at different distances, speeds and angles, which opens the door to asking is there another way to set up dependable leads without measuring?
Folks…we shooters have evolved. Here is a much better, much simpler, entirely more dependable method.
Years ago, I heard Gary Greenway say, “90% of the top Sporting Clays shooters in the world are pulling away from the target when they pull the trigger.” A profound statement. This is, basically, the Pull Away shooting method. Time has proven Mr. Greenway absolutely correct. However, time has also proven to me that his percentage figure was too low.
“Get a beer…get inside your head and weed through the muck…what confounds you.
There, staring back at you, you will find the real truth about your game.”
Let’s back up for just a moment. Each of my 3 books emphasizes the necessity of precision both before and during the swing. It is this precision that makes certain the mid-swing “target/muzzle alignment” does take place. Only after that alignment – that harmony – has been visually accomplished will the muzzle now be ready and in the right place to initiate the next step. This next step is best executed, not by measuring, but by pulling away from the target with a prompt trigger pull. Whether the shooter actually sees that lead opening, or not, the pull away gap is not measured. Executed correctly – X after X – shooters realize they don’t know how much lead that pull away created. That’s correct. They don’t know “how much” because they were not looking for a measurement. They first a) visually aligned the muzzle with the target, and then b) gracefully pulled away from the target with a prompt trigger pull. X. X. X. X. X. X. The cadence or feel of pulling away might best be called assertive, but is not “yeeehaw”aggressive. Per Senior Instructor Tom, the pull away is slower, smooth, etc.
The truth is, Maintained Lead fails so often because of all the measuring. Skip learning and then trying to remember an impossible library of lead measurements. For crossing targets that are fast or slow, near and far, rising and falling…Pull Away flat out works – dependably – time after time. Anywhere, anytime, 24/7/365, it will put your shot string out in front of that target – in the right place – without worrying about “how much.” Not only that, synchronizing the Pull Away steps brilliantly reduces distractions. This creates the mental state of ‘MUSHIN,’ or, the state of no-mind. Brothers and Sisters…welcome to the Zone.
Merry Christmas everyone! Tom & Bob…thank you kindly for your words of wisdom.
Dan Schindler is one of only 50 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, Skeet, Trap & 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! Dan teaches locally at River Bend Sportsmans Resort in Inman, SC.
Shooters from around the world read Dan's books 2, 3, 4 or more times and refer back to them often. These three EXCELLENT books - Take Your Best Shot, To The Target and Beyond The Target take the MYSTERY out of missing targets so you can shoot more CONSISTENTLY! Order Books!
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Solid, valuable, concise informationthat has helped thousands of shooters shoot more consistently with higher scores. It provides the steps and succinctly lays out the fundamentals required for good shooting. This book is used by recreational and competitive shooters...high school and college shooting teams from around the world.
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.
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"Take Your Best Shot is the best clay and wingshooting shooting primer on the market that I have ever seen. The brilliance of its simplicity aids in getting across the correct messages for successful shooting for ANY clay/wingshooting shooter, let alone a new shooter. As a master instructor, founder/Head Coach of the Jacksonville University Shooting Team (a national championship program), and JU faculty member, Take Your Best Shot is standard reading for ALL of our varsity shooters. Dan has managed to capture the basics beautifully, and he has placed them in an easy, simple-to-follow, witty presentation. My students love the book and read it time and again. Highly recommend, no matter what your level of shooting experience and expertise."
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