Want to shoot better, be more consistent and elevate your scores? Please raise your hand. OK, never mind, it’s unanimous.
Understandably, my students put a high priority on consistency, i.e., wanting to become more consistent. That needs 1) an advantageous pre-shot set up on each target; 2) our knowing which shooting method works best; and 3) a more consistent swing, start to finish.
Let’s talk about those shooting methods, where to use them.
“Men occasionally stumble over the Truth, but most of
them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever
– Winston S. Churchill
A good place to start would be a Truth, that Truth being each and every method has its advantages and disadvantages, its strengths and weaknesses, all proven and established. Whether it be the Pull Away method, Swing Through, Maintained Lead, Churchill or a specialized method, this Truth applies. Which says, one method does not fit all situations. It is fair to propose, right where one method typically falls short, another method can step in and shine. All of which merits our study of the various methods to learn what best goes where.
Moving on, one shooting method can’t “best” fit all target presentations. Of the 3 clay target disciplines, Trap, Skeet and Sporting Clays, by far, Sporting Clays has the most (different) target presentations. And, very importantly, those target presentations are definitely evolving. Today, the target setters and the trap machine manufacturers are both on a mission to create new and different target presentations. The Sporting Clays targets we will see this coming weekend will be more creative and, in many cases, more difficult than those we’ve shot up to now. Which is a good thing. It also means, once learned, our knowing which method best fits the target presentation in front of us will be a huge advantage. Forgive me repeating myself here… ”right where one method typically falls short, another method can step in and shine.” Standing in the box looking at this devious presentation…considering the best method…do we know which method that is? For the A trap AND the B trap?
If you’ve been in Sporting Clays for a while now, you and I both know, our trial and error use of various methods has shown us where some methods work and others…well, maybe not so much. A method that works sometimes may suit some shooters. Those of us who expect more consistency in our shooting will have to be more particular in what method we choose for each target presentation. In all fairness, just about any method can be used successfully on a presentation…but notconsistently. The key priorities for selecting a “shooting method” being: consistency, dependability and repeatability. Also, let’s not forget, to achieve those priorities, our consistently correct execution of each method will be required.
And…there is another variable not yet discussed…matching the method to the shooter’s background, experience level and preferences. These personal traits should not be forgotten or undervalued when choosing a shooting method. For example, when a Skeet (or Trap) shooter of long experience comes to work with me, I already know what some of his shooting preferences will be. Therefore, I will capitalize on those prior shooting experiences as we raise his skill level. As long as those personal preferences deliver consistent results, why would I not? Why would I discard his experience which, over the years, has built up real, usable strengths and advantages? Standing in the Sporting Clays box, we will choose a shooting method that best fits “him” on this presentation...and other presentations…without sacrificing or compromising consistency in any way. That, we won’t do as we decide what to keep and what to change in his game. And, with another student, she and I might better use a different method on this same presentation.
To conclude, I believe the selection process and proper use of a shooting method are far more an art than a science. To create this Art involves 1) being able to select a method based on the method’s proven, built-in advantages; 2) correctly tailoring a shooter’s experience, skill level and preferences to a method’s advantages, and 3) then applying both of those advantages to a particular target presentation. XXXXXXXX. Folks, that’s an art, not a science. Knowing which method might best work where…is not enough. If this could all be broken down into formulas we could follow like a recipe, an exact science, we could all be a Digweed, Cherry, Matarese, McGuire, Little, a Bender…choose your favorite.
The Truth is, shooting methods should be chosen carefully based on multiple considerations, all of which are very important. Your deliberation of these considerations can yield a consistently dependable choice. All that’s left will be the successful execution of that method…which rests in your capable hands.
Thanks for visiting. I 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, DVM These 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.
Don N Lisha SanteGot my three-book set. Read Take Your Best Shot (Book I) and can’t put book II down. Can’t wait to apply all I’ve learned tomorrow now that the rains gone.
Steve PowersI got my copy about a month ago. I’ve read it twice, cover to cover & reviewed the sequence of steps multiple times. Good Book.
Jim ButlerI've read my copies twice now and it has absolutely picked up my game. Joined a sporting clays league this spring. Increased my top score by 7. Thought them to be expensive at first, but now find them extremely valuable now. Thank You !!!
David ParksReceived mine yesterday and have one chapter left to read. Can’t wait to get to the range and practice the new techniques I have learned. Now I feel like I have a system to work with instead of shoot and hope.
"Called the number on their website, ( leary of ordering through Facebook posts) and Mr. Schlinder himself answered the phone. One of the most pleasant people I have ever talked to about anything. Whenever I get a chance to get down his way, I am going to get in touch with him to shoot. Got my books this weekend, read the first one and it reminded me of the basics. Just started on the second one, going to keep reading them over and over. The best reading you have for shooting clays.