There are set-up basics (pre-shot skills) – swing basics (gun management skills) – and scoring basics (performance skills). All are interlocked, very much dependent on the other in purposely building our Sporting Clays (& Trap & Skeet) game on a platform of dependability and confidence.
What follows is a favorite topic of mine, previously discussed multiple times from various perspectives. It cannot be stated too many times. It’s a fundamental that can motivate a peak performance in the tournament shooting box. Shell by shell…target by target…this motivation tool is built on the range during training/practice. In my experienced opinion, grasping this tool becomes a requirement if you take your shooting seriously and are committed to moving your performance and scores up, not just today, but incrementally each week, each month.
The term…the tool…is called “familiarity.” It comes directly from dedicated, highly focused training (aka practice) on the shooting ground. 1 target presentation is chosen, typically a crossing, quartering or chandelle at a challenging break point just outside of our comfort zone. We set up camp on this station and begin to work on this 1 target with our total attention on our tasks…our “steps” …not shot outcomes. While our outcome goal is the X, our task goal is to focus on set-up and swing mechanics…the internal structure/steps of the shot. Our goal is to be able to repeat and duplicate those steps, successfully, until we have XXXXXXXX. And then we’ll do it again. On purpose. And again. Why? We’re building muscle and thought familiarity with this presentation. From that familiarity comes not only consistency but confidence…the type of confidence that will hold up under competition stress and pressure. Not an “I broke 3 in a row” confidence, but a confidence that says, I can break this target anywhere, any time, on any given Sporting Clays, 5-Stand, and F.I.T.A.S.C. course.
Building familiarity is crucial to establishing and maintaining our momentum in a match round. Repetitiously walking into the match box and finding ourselves facing unfamiliar presentations is not the formula for the success we want. The reason good shooters look comfortable and confident in the box is because they are. This presentation is familiar to them. That’s no accident or coincidence. They’ve faced this presentation many, many times before. They are totally familiar with the approach that will result in XXXXXX. On purpose. That’s not just an advantage, it’s a huge advantage over those who face this same target, confused and uncertain on how to approach it.
If you think the Master class shooter’s approach to a challenging bird might be better than the B or A class, your likely right. But it’s not always just a difference in skill level, it can be the difference in familiarity on this presentation. One shooter is familiar, the other isn’t. I’m sure there will be those who disagree, but, in this case, I think it will be less about skill level and more about familiarity. The A class shooter who has diligently trained on the long tower shot at his home club, with a high rate of success, has the advantage over the Master class shooter on this station who rarely if ever gets to see or train on this presentation. Two different skill levels…true…but familiarity runs this one-trap on the tower, Report Pair station.
Familiarity is a vital rung on the ladder of sustained progress, an indispensable fundamental for building our "scoring" skills.
Thanks for stopping by. Be safe and I 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.