May 5, 2018 | By: Daniel Schindler, Paragon Master Sporting Clays Instructor; Wingshooting Instructor; Mental Coach
Seeing is believing…but not always truthful.
If we are missing targets, we would stop and look for the reasons why. Obviously, either in our set-up…or our swing…maybe both…something’s wrong. We already know these targets can be broken…and we aren’t. That we are making errors is obvious. Once the errors are found and corrected, targets begin to break. Predictably.
Equally important…when we are breaking targets…are we asking ourselves why the target just broke? Was that X…1) a coincidence or 2) a planned and correctly executed swing? Here’s why I believe we should know if it’s 1) or 2). If it was an accident…and the shooter does not know it was an accident…what are the odds the next target will break?
BJ loads a shell and calls for the target. The trap fires and to his great relief, it does break. X. From that X, I’m suggesting BJ now has two things. First is the gratification, his sense of accomplishment. That gratification makes perfect sense. Second, he believes that this was a well-made shot. It was correct or the target would not have broken. Right?
Well, actually, history says maybe not. Looking at BJ’s Sporting Clays scores, averaging in the low to mid 70’s…the odds are up that the muzzle may have arrived at the correct lead by coincidence, by accident.
To which BJ might say, “Uh, sorry, but that’s definitely not true.”
OK. Please, let’s stand behind BJ and video the next 10 swings. 10 singles…same trap machine…same presentation. X0XX0X0XXX. Obviously, we know why BJ is happy about this. He believes he did everything correctly 7 times. Had to, right? He proudly points to the proof: 7 Xs. What more proof do we need? This is his perception, the illusion, which in every way seems logical and reasonable.
So, let’s play the video on the big screen to watch reality…what actually happened.
Swings 1, 3, 4 and 6 look almost the same. Almost. Then…seen clearly on the screen…swings 2, 5 and 7 are not the same as 1, 3, 4 and 6. X0XX0X0XXX. The swing differences…while slight…are very obvious in the video. Then, swing # 8 visibly blazed past the target where the muzzle stopped abruptly. Another change…and yet another X?
Here’s why that last X lied: it is those visible swing differences…those inconsistencies…that are not only causing BJ’s mysterious missing,but many of his Xs. At least 4 out of 10 swings were different…maybe more? Yet BJ broke 7 out of 10 targets. Again, very understandably, that’s exactly where his confidence comes from…Xs followed by more reassuring Xs. And why not? What’s the problem?
So, if there’s no problem, as the months go by, why aren’t BJ’s scores climbing? And what about the many mysterious 0’s on his score sheets which he cannot explain or understand? Can he break 7 out of 10 again on another very similar target? Good question.
From the Coach’s position in the shooting box, we can see BJ’s swing is constantly changing. The video undeniably confirms the swing changes. Those differences may be small…but OH…do they matter on the scorecard! That’s a simple observation…nothing judgmental is being stated here. For a very long time…after each X…BJ has convinced himself that more time and more shells will provide both the skill advancement and higher scores he wants. They won’t. As time passes…if his swing inconsistencies remain…how can his X average go up?
Random Xs are the perfectly disguised illusion of improvement. Unfortunately, for many people, every target broken by accident…by coincidence…very conveniently reinforces the notion that everything went right in the swing…when it actually didn’t. This persistent misconception…Xs here and Xs there…feed this myth that higher scores will be just around the corner.
Because the bird broke, BJ thought his swing had been correct. It broke, so he must have done something right. It broke, so he must be getting better. Every single day, this common and completely understandable belief, this misconception, leads many shooters down a frustrating path into a stubborn plateau and unmet expectations. All because of an inconsistent swing that they want to trust, but, instead, learn they cannot depend on.
So it is true…an inconsistent swing can actually break targets…sometimes. What’s absent here are the basics…the step-by-step formula for building and repeating a truly stable, repeatable and trustworthy swing. A swing we can rely on. To the best of our ability, our practice objective is not to chase Xs…but to correctly assemble that swing…10 times in a row….20 times in a row. THAT’s the swing that will give us XXXXXXXXXX. Reliably. Predictably.
When that swing is built and executed correctly…that’s when your skill level will advance…and your scores will go up.
Thanks for visiting with us. I genuinely hope to see you out on the course.
Dan Schindler has been a full-time, professional Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructor since 1990, and is a master instructor, competitor, and Coach. Dan has continuously refined his shooting program to competently help shooters of all levels - regardless of their shooting issues - accelerating their skill advancement. Steadily, by building solid fundamentals and properly executing the process, shooters learn how to implement the best shooting methods for each of the various target presentations. Then learn how to correct their own misses and how to repeat the successful swing. In simple, logical steps, Dan takes the mystery out of your shooting, thus, predictably raising your X count.
Take Your Best Shot (Book I) is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting.
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.