Feb 10, 2018 | By: Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays Instructor and Wingshooting Teacher
Understandably, missing a target can be a source of disappointment and frustration. No one likes to miss. Maybe it seemed like a failure of some kind? I tried…I missed…I failed. OK, at some time or another, we’ve probably all been there, done that. And…count on this…each of us will miss again.
So…if missing is inevitable, and it is…why not give all the negativity a rest? Why not stop beating ourselves up and find something positive, something useful to take away from a miss? Those are good reasons and why I vote we look at missing from another perspective.
First, a miss was nothing more than a pre-shot set-up or swing error. Maybe both? A mistake. That’s it, nothing else, not a fault or a failure. And, the miss is now history. So, instead of gnashing our teeth and punishing ourselves over the miss, maybe we could take a quiet moment and ask ourselves, “What was the error so I don’t miss the next one?” Right down to the very last person, here and abroad, all the top shooters do know the answer to that question. They have to know to be able to post the scores they do. That’s how they step out of the box with XOXXXX. If they didn’t know, by repeating the errors, their card would look like this: XOXOXO.
So, X or O, we each have a chance to watch what just worked? What didn’t? Why? In both practice and competition, intentionally building this personal, mental inventory of swing steps and sight pictures, quickly becomes our trusted, daily source of confidence.
Our intentionally focused repetition and reinforcement of lessons learned during our practice sessions…batting cage work…create future self-assurance…and long runs. To move our game up in a meaningful way, consider that every miss provides us with an opportunity to actually raise our scores. And if we’d rather be upset than see those opportunities? We’ll be stuck in the cycle of repeating the same mistakes over and over again…the very definition of a stubborn plateau.
Every shell…every target…every swing…every shot…X or O…provides us an opening to learn something. And we should. For example, the crossing target in front of us is a regular, a very common presentation. We see it everywhere. When the trap fires, our swing has a certain feel to it, a pace, a cadence. The sight picture (bird/barrel relationship) at the trigger pull was correct: X. All remembered and stored away. When repeated…the same swing cadence and sight picture that worked on Wednesday in practice…we can count on that working for us in competition on Saturday.
Learning is a moment-by-moment process, a process that deserves our utmost attention. Daily, X or O, smart shooters use every scrap of information in that process to build a better game. Want more X’s? Focus on why the target broke or why it didn’t. Reinforce what’s working…adjust what’s not. Put all of that in your inventory. Now use that inventory to create XXXXXXXX. That’s the formula, the very heart of advancing our shooting to class leading scores.