Aug 10, 2019 | By: Daniel Schindler, Paragon Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor
Includes a few words of advice from Michael Jordan, Vince Lombardi...
A very long time ago in my martial arts training, we were taught Katas. A Kata is a long series of choreographed moves—blocks, strikes, counter moves—a feigned physical conflict of some duration with a start all the way to the finish. Each Kata pits you against a different number of imaginary attackers, requiring you to defend and counter-attack accordingly. A Kata is a beautiful thing to watch when executed over a few minutes by a high-ranking Brown or Black Belt. It’s a slow, one-person dance of sorts, highlighted by a deliberate series of turns, pauses, weight shifts, blocks, and strikes—all done by following that particular Kata guideline. I personally LOVED Katas. I remember being able to visualize my (imaginary) attacker quite vividly—see his strike—and putting all I had into my defense and counter strike—gracefully—the hard part. I had a reputation as a formidable competitor in the ring during contests—which I attributed to my imagination during training and doing my Katas.
I share that story for this reason. If competence is the foundation under confidence—and it is—every time—all the time—train like you mean it.
As many shooters underestimate their potential, please consider the following questions. First, choose your sport and then one of the very best in that sport. Do you believe this person excels because he or she was born with some extraordinary, God-given talent? Does this person have talents not likely to be found in others? Does this person rely on pure instinct to excel? The answer to all 3 questions is: no.
Time and again, throughout history and regardless of the endeavor, skills are built, not inherited. Skill building is a time consuming—ever-changing—trial & error—fluid and dynamic process. While some physical limitations might limit one’s skills in some endeavors—not everyone can be a 6’ 8” NBA all-star—my students have consistently taught me that they can excel when the appropriate time and commitment is invested. Understandably, the level of time and commitment invested will equal the level of performance. As the investment goes, so goes the performance.
“A miss in the shooting box is not a failure…
it’s an opportunity to learn.
~ Daniel Schindler
Remember: the word “difficulty” has no absolute meaning. It’s meaning is entirely and directly proportional to our state of preparedness. While the challenge of that way-out-there target presentation in front of us is real, the more pressing difficulty is our dealing with our own self-doubts—usually unsuccessfully. Which brings us back to how prepared we are at this place in time.
Which is why I so strongly urge my students to do their drills on single targets, relentlessly reinforcing the fundamentals. Predictably, right on schedule as their X count rises, so does their self-confidence. Patience is a virtue and never more needed than when practicing. Every shell—every target—these are our push-ups and sit-ups. The difference between just shooting and focused practice is how deliberate we are with each and every set-up, pre-shot, swing and trigger pull. A well planned and well-executed swing delivers a lot more than just an X. That plan—that swing—has now set the stage for the next X and the next. X’s on purpose from deliberate practice.
“Practice does not make perfect.
Only perfect practice makes perfect.”
Never, ever, ever underestimate your potential to excel in the clay target sports. You already have all the necessary physical and mental tools. All that stands between you and your best score is the process of skill development. Whatever your age, gender, height, strength, that skill is available to anyone who is willing to start and commit themselves to that process, a journey. My talents as a teacher and accomplishments as a shooter have come from hard work and were not a gift. If Tiger Woods was granted a gift, is was his Father and Mother who put a golf club in his hands before he could walk. Parental determination coupled with Tiger’s deliberate practice created the legend, not a gift.
“You can practice shooting eight hours a day,
but if your technique is wrong, then all you
become is very good at shooting the wrong way.
Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything
you do will rise.”
Long runs of X’s on a scorecard are no accident. Nor are they available only to the elite. It’s a skill, available to you, any time you are ready to pursue it.
Thanks for joining me here. Be safe, and 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!
Here's what Michael Bane (Outdoor Channel Shooting Gallery) had to say about Dan Schindler:
We were filming a sporting clays episode of SHOOTING GALLERY, something you guys have been asking me about for years. The big delay was finding an instructor I was comfortable with and felt would fit into the SG model, such as it is. I found Dan Schindler through his book, TO THE TARGET, and his work on mental training and was impressed with his holistic view of the shooting sports. He proved to be every bit as good — and better — than we expected. As always, my goal is take-home value, which I think you guys have come to expect. He is truly a world-class instructor capable of taking complex actions and breaking them down into simple, repeatable pieces...and good heavens, doesn't sport shooting need more of that!
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' life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer and much more.
"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."
David T. Dobson, M.B.A.
Paragon Master Instructor
NSCA Instructor, Level III
NSSA Instructor, Level III
Mark EngenThese 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.
Bill FibelkornCalled 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.