Want Consistency? Here's How...Plain and Simple (Part I)
Jun 30, 2018 | By: Daniel Schindler, Paragon Master Sporting Clays Instructor and Wingshooting Teacher
"The good news is…
when that same swing component is executed correctly…
the target will break."
All those who DON’T care if they break the target…please raise your hand. The truth is, we all want the target to break. And…without fail…every single time…there’s a very specific, valid reason why it did break…and why it didn’t. It’s long past time for all the mystery around X’s and 0’s to end. Just what is it, exactly, that we have to do to break the target CONSISTENTLY?
It’s cold. And making it worse, it’s windy. The rain is more on than off. So the course is empty. Or is it? Someone’s out there shooting. We park our cart a respectful distance to the side of this shooter. We watch. He’s looks focused…determined on each shot. Before every shot, he sets up…consistently. His swing cadence and timing are consistent. His break points are the same…again and again…conspicuously consistent. XXXXXX. There is nothing casual going on inside that shooting box. It’s obvious, he has a purpose on each swing, each shot. No question about it…everything he does looks very deliberate.
Our shooter is hammering targets. Has he always done this? No, he hasn’t. It took a while and a lot of mysterious missing before he went looking for the specific reason why he was missing…and why he was hitting.
The shooter we’re watching has figured out the formula for CONSISTENT success. And no, it’s not just because he is practicing on this miserably cold day. It’s more about what he is practicing. It’s what makes everything he does work! The results are obvious…one X after another. CONSISTENTLY. There’s something very important going on here. Something we should all be considering if we’re serious about moving our game up. No tricks…no games…no empty promises…just a specific, common sense understanding of what will add more Xs on your score card.
The purpose of this piece is to discuss the relevance…and unconditional necessity…of precision in our clay target shooting. Because once the missing starts, the ever-hopeful premise that “I’ve got a pattern out there THIS BIG,” quietly goes away. And while a shotgun “pattern” can be and usually is effective in most cases…the reality and real truth is…we cannot count on that pattern to compensate or make up for swing errors. For example…when the light or background conditions are right…I’m not the only one who’s many times honestly seen a shotgun pattern streak by a clay target and miss. That miss being much closer to the target than one would imagine it could be.
Because our clay targets are moving…like so many of our game birds…instinct has always played a major role in shotgunning. Why? Because it works. Basic hand-eye coordination has broken targets and provided many a fine meal. So let’s not discount its importance or effectiveness. But, our shooting instincts have their limitations too, a simple truth both hunters and clay target shooters inevitably have to acknowledge. On the score card (00) and at the dinner table. Where’s the meat?
Here’s another truth. Shooting methods can vary…shooter traits and personal shooting preferences will vary…and rightfully so. Which is to say, those things do matter. There is, however, one swing component that, when compromised, the odds are high the target will be missed. That component…unfortunately…provides no latitude for swing errors. None. Ever. The good news is…when that same swing component is executed correctly…the target will break. Count on it. And not because I say so, but because that swing component is infallible. It’s the one, simple factor that decides either X or 0. And why that component’s absolute dependability…when executed correctly…merits our serious attention and understanding.
This is not about guns, chokes, loads or anyone specific shooting method. It’s about gun control…gun management…and why the correct movement is not optional but required for the target to break.
We appreciate your stopping by and look forward to seeing you here next time for Part II. 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, U.K. 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 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.