Many continue to believe that hand/eye coordination alone will suffice on a clay target range. If breaking a target “sometimes” is OK – then you’re good to go. However – if more consistency, dependability and more X’s on your scorecard are becoming priorities – then shooting “methods” must be added into your game. Now we’re talking about the Basics, the fundamentals of good shooting. The following can help elevate your game.
Some of these basics are non-negotiable. Some have a little latitude where the others have less or none at all. Yes, they are included in my 3 books in greater detail if you wish to gain a better understanding of the applications of each basic.
Let’s start with our hitting or missing – and our not knowing why. And why is something we definitely should know. If we don’t know why we missed – what will we now correct? If we did hit the target – was that an accident or did we do that on purpose? X but not sure why? Shell going into the chamber, what now? Top shooters know the answer. They have to know.
Before we leave the clubhouse and head for the range, please give serious consideration to the following. Once the shot string is 1,000th of an inch on the other side of the muzzle, how much control over the shot string do you have now. None. Zero. Nada. And yet, so many shooters are consumed by “trying to break the target,” which is 40 yards downrange – where we have no control whatsoever. So – with the target out yonder and our attention out there with it – who is guiding the gun? Who is deliberately setting up the right swing and sight picture that we know will break the target? No one. Why? Because all of our attention is (understandably) on the outcome of our shot. What about the swing “steps” necessary to consistently, dependably create X’s? Those “steps” are our Tasks. And why our attention has to first be on those Tasks if we want to – over time – develop a swing that we can trust. Only then can it become more automatic, more instinctive.
“To hear music from your instrument…
you first have to learn to play the notes.
Good shooting is a science first…an art second.”
Target in the air, here are a few more words on seeing MA (muzzle awareness) in your peripheral vision. I explained why this is so critically important in the last article. Sometimes, a shooter is confused about what to see over their rib during the swing. Target? Barrel? Target / muzzle relationship? The confusion here can be cleared up very simply and quickly. Here’s how. Please take your hand and point your index finger at an object across the room. # 1: Are you pointing at the object? Yes, you are. # 2: How do you know that you are? Because you can see two things. You can see the object in your primary vision – AND – you can see your finger in your peripheral vision. You can see “both.” That’s MA, confirming precisely where you are pointing – no assuming, no guessing, no hoping. Target in the air, definitely keep your eyes ON the target. Your peripheral vision will let you know where your muzzle is so you can set up the correct bird / barrel relationship at the trigger pull. X. X. X. X. X. X.
The previous article spoke about why our set-up on a target should be precise. It should be precise because that set-up – done correctly – starts our swing correctly, reducing random gun movements (RGM). A swing that starts correctly has a much better chance of ending correctly – stressing the importance of a precise set-up
My first Book – Take Your Best Shot – includes 4 set-up steps. Let’s begin with the first step. Choosing our Break Point (BP).
Generally speaking, choosing a BP is important for these reasons:
1. That BP should give your swing enough time to break the target.
2. You need to know the target line and speed coming into that BP – both of which you must
know in order to select the correct shooting method.
3. That BP starts your set-up.
4. BP’s can vary somewhat depending on a) shooter skill level and b) what the 2nd target of the
pair is doing.
OK – our target BP has been chosen. The next step is Foot Position.
1. The correct Foot Position keeps your weight “slightly” forward with the foot Position favoring
the BP to make sure – during the swing – the hips don’t lock before the trigger pull.
2. Some folks like to point their belly-button at their BP. This Foot Position works.
3. Others like to draw a visual line across both toes towards and maybe just past the BP. This
Too often, folks minimize the importance of a good set-up and shouldn’t. Next Newsletter we’ll and discuss what I believe is the most important set-up step – why – and get the target on its way.
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!
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.