“The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
The Green Bay Packer football team lost the 1960 NFL Championship in the last minute, heartbreaking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. When training camp started in 1961, Head Coach Vince Lombardi surprised the team with new training procedures. Every single player began a rigorous, demanding regimen of perfectingthe fundamentals. The Basics. Preparation and playing techniques were rebuilt from the ground up and relentlessly repeated until each Basic was thoroughly understood and then mastered. Then – and only then – did each player move to the next Basic. Each move, each step, each technique – regardless of how small or seemingly unimportant – textbook execution of each Basic was now priority 1.
The Packer’s 1961 season – with the training system Lombardi implemented – resulted in an NFL Championship win, beating the New York Giants 37-0. That was no accident. Adhering to this disciplined program, over the next 7 years, Lombardi won 5 NFL Championships and never had a losing season.
“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all-time thing.
You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while,
you do them right all the time.
Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
While coaching an NFL Championship team may be out of our reach, shooting improvement is not. At Paragon, we firmly believe in the improvement process called Kaizen – a system of relentlessly adding – one-by-one – each small improvement to the next in order to create the inevitable advancements. When implemented, this highly dependable process of cumulative improvements promises and delivers these advancements.
Universally, for those committed to improvement, perfection is an ongoing process. Which is why I believe the Kaizen principles are a cornerstone in the foundation under skill development. Here is another classic example of how this predictable, highly successful system of grinding on the basics has worked for the world’s best and can absolutely work for you.
Discussed in my third book – Beyond The Target– in 2003, Dave Brailsford became the Head Coach of the British bicycling team. Up to that point, the British team had suffered through decades of cycling disappointment with a lackluster record, an understatement of serious proportions. Brailsford was determined to change that and laid out the new training regimen which paralleled Kaizen principles.
Equipment components were deliberately disassembled – piece by piece – each and every piece then carefully examined and evaluated for upgrading to a higher performance standard. Cyclist exercise programs were trashed and replaced with very specific exercises to maximize each cyclist’s performance. Diets and sleeping habits were radically changed and then reinforced. A surgeon was hired to train personal cleansing habits to reduce illness and prevent rider fatigue. And these changes were just the tip of the iceberg. Suffice it to say, Brailsford was seriously focused on isolating each and every performance-robbing deficiency. Again and again, no stone was left unturned to create even the tiniest improvement – literally. The mission was to find, test and add a 1% improvement to the next 1% improvement – knowing that cumulative progress would be not only predictable but inevitable.
And it was. According to what I’ve read, in record time, the British team literally ruled the 2008 Olympic cycling events, winning 60% of the Gold medals. 4 years later at the Olympics in England, the team set 9 new Olympic records and 7 World records. That same year, the team won the Tour de France and then repeated those wins 5 years in a row. This is the unstoppable power of the Kaizen process using the non-negotiable Basics.
In our game, mistakes are inevitable and all are certainly forgiven. The question for each of us becomes, where do we go from there? With the very next shell? Those who do know are motivated to perfecting the Basics to build consistency – in the box and on the scorecard. Those who don’t know have 2 choices. There’s always the self-taught trial and error method based on repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting a different result – or – learning the basics and installing them correctly into a dependable, repeatable system that a shooter can trust implicitly. Only one choice moves a game up to the next level.
While unintentional of course, random gun movement will always compromise swing precision – thus compromising consistency. Every set-up and/or swing mistake we make – compromising a Basic – leads us straight down the path into inconsistency. This is exactly why the Basics are non-negotiable. Unfortunately, most shooters take these Basics for granted. If shooting improvement is, in fact, a goal – perfecting those Basics becomes our immediate task. Regardless of skill being pursued, if we truly wish to be good at something, a clear understanding of the non-negotiable Basics is the first step. Then begins the task of taming and mastering each Basic. Tennis racket, guitar, golf club, shotgun, et al – following that simple process will put measurable improvement in the palm of our hand. Always has – always will. Guaranteed.
Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated. Be safe and I hope to see you out on the course.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
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!
New 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.
A few Facebook comments Dan Schindler's and his Books:
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.