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Learn From The Best by Robert R. Comal

ditor’s Note: Exclusive! These two new DVDs from Todd Bender are only available through Shotgun Sports! Get your copies of Todd Bender’s Championship Skeet and Championship Doubles today!

Todd Bender’s Championship Skeet

In my library of shotgun shooting instructional videos there are more than 30 different titles. Most are DVDs, but I even have some old VHS tapes by different instructors and coaches from around the world. I’ve watched every one multiple times. But of all the videos I own, the ones I have watched more than any others are those produced by Sunrise Productions featuring Todd Bender instructing viewers how to become a better skeet shooter.

Championship Skeet with Todd Bender

The following words are printed on the back label of Todd’s first instructional skeet video (yes, the original VHS tape he did some 20 years ago): “Todd Bender was the first skeet shooter to shoot three consecutive 400x400s. To date, he’s won 9 world championships and has been on the All–American team 14 times. Todd’s high averages are even more impressive. In 1987 his 20–gauge average was 100%, and again in 1991 he had a perfect 12–gauge average. His high–overall average of 0.9972 in 1991 will probably stand as a goal for skeet shooters for years to come.”

Those words were depicting Todd Bender from some 20 years ago. As many of you know, Todd has garnered many more titles, been named to the All–American First Team 28 consecutive years and has come to be recognized as the finest skeet instructor and coach in the world. Todd’s most recent teaming with Sunrise Productions has resulted in his latest instructional DVD titled “Todd Bender’s Championship Skeet”.

Now, I will say this right up front — if you thought Todd’s earlier skeet DVDs were excellent, you’re in for a treat! Todd goes into significantly greater detail in all the sections of this DVD. Additionally, he includes information not found on his other videos, such as an in–depth discussion of eye dominance — what it is, the problems it can cause, types of eye dominance and who to consult to get it corrected if you have a problem.

Rest assured, Todd still instructs home viewers on all his refined techniques developed over more than 30 years of coaching. All the fundamentals, all the insights and elements necessary to be successful in skeet shooting are complemented by new camera angles that will help you understand in more detail Todd’s instructions.

Shot in high definition at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas, home of the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association, this DVD delivers high–quality skeet shooting instruction for more than 2 hours. In one of the very first opening scenes, Todd describes the three basic fundamentals of hitting a moving target — head on the gun, eye on the target and having the proper lead. He explains that, with the head on the gun (if the gun fits the shooter), the gun should shoot exactly where the shooter is looking. Additionally, if he has his eye on the target, he is capable, with hand/eye coordination, to match gun speed with target speed (or, as the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association in England calls it, “mirroring target movement”). And finally, if he has the proper lead, it is physically impossible for the shot column not to run into the target. Certainly sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

Todd continues his excellent instruction with in–depth discussions on vision, hold points, look points and the importance of learning to become a lower–body shooter. There are far too many tips and advice to write about here, but be assured, you will more than get your money’s worth when you purchase “Todd Bender’s Championship Skeet”.

Todd’s skeet instruction has always been of top quality in matters like sound fundamentals, detailed descriptions of the finer points of shooting and ease of understanding his instructions. This latest DVD, in my opinion, surpasses all his previous efforts. The reason is simple. Todd has evolved, not only as a competitor but as a coach. Shotgun Sports’ Editor–in–Chief, Johnny Cantu, calls Todd one of the “natural wonders of the coaching world.” I am in agreement with that profound statement.

Skeet has become a game of perfection, and you must build, train and adhere to a solid foundational platform from the beginning to become successful. What Todd does in this DVD is provide you with those building blocks for a solid foundation. Of course, skeet shooting, by sheer design and the geometry of the skeet field, is also a game of repetition. Todd says occasionally his instructions might start becoming a bit repetitive — facing the Low House window, hold point one–third of the way out, etc., etc. — but that is where Todd pulls away from the pack. He knows how to give you so much more, even when it might begin to sound repetitive.

What I have not written about here is the station–by–station coverage of Todd’s masterful skeet instructions in this new DVD. What I hope I have gotten across to those of you reading this is the superior level of quality instruction this Sunrise Productions’ DVD provides the viewer. Short of having a one–on–one lesson with Todd Bender himself, you will not find better instruction or ease of understanding anywhere else.

Todd Bender’s Championship Doubles

Once again, Todd Bender and Sunrise Productions have teamed up to bring you a great skeet instructional DVD. “Todd Bender’s Championship Doubles” was shot in HD at the headquarters of the National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association in San Antonio, Texas. Todd provides his usual high level of detailed instruction in the art of shooting Doubles at Stations 3, 4 and 5 in his easy–to–understand style.

Championship Doubles with Todd Bender

Known for many years as one of the best Doubles shooters in skeet, Todd instructs home viewers on one of the best lighted skeet fields in the country. Why would he be shooting Doubles under the lights? Todd explains the Singles of skeet have become a game of perfection, and you have to shoot 100–straight in any event in order to get to the championship shoot off. The championship shoot offs are all decided by Doubles at Stations 3, 4 and 5. Todd feels the Singles game in skeet has become essentially a preliminary event, particularly at the World Championships. World champions are usually crowned after winning a shoot off late in the afternoon or early evening under the lights, so learning to shoot Doubles in an effort to win is very important, and learning to shoot under the lights is also important.

Todd teaches his well–refined Doubles techniques developed over 40 years of competing as an elite–level shooter and coaching in the sport of skeet. “Todd Bender’s Championship Doubles” features new viewing angles, more comprehensive and detailed discussions on the mechanics of shooting skeet Doubles and insights on all the elements necessary to be successful in Doubles. Todd also instructs home viewers with new information on how the eyes work with info to help a beginner all the way up to those competing at the world–championship level.

Todd begins his Doubles instruction by explaining everything in Doubles is dictated by what he calls The Symmetry Principle. The Symmetry Principle says: Both the High House and Low House are equi–distant to the center stake; both targets fly the same speed; targets are never on the same side of the field, they cross at the center stake and are always on opposing sides of the field and always equi–distant to the center stake.

Todd explains there are five elements that make up properly shot Doubles — consistent first–shot placement; efficient eye shift and transition to the second target; coming out of transition and matching barrel speed to target speed; having the correct lead; and finishing the shot. Over his years of coaching students around the world, Todd has discovered most shooters find Doubles frustrating mainly because the five elements are all critical to a proper shot.

Todd considers the first two elements the most important components of good, successful Doubles shooting — a consistent first–shot placement and an efficient eye shift. Without consistent first–shot placement, you can’t even have an eye shift because the second target of the pair will always be in a different position on the other side of the field and your eyes won’t know where to find it.

According to Todd, most shooters talk about shooting the second shot in Doubles. Todd believes Doubles has nothing to do with the second shot; it is all about the first shot and its proper placement. He stands on the field out near the center stake talking back at the camera and describes his theory and method for placing a good, consistent first shot.

Todd explains taking the first shot of the pair about 20 feet from the stake is very good placement in the flight path. This allows for a smooth and efficient transition of the gun and a good eye shift, as the second target of the pair is also — at that moment — at the same location on the other side of the field, 20 feet from the center stake. He goes on to explain this position, 20 feet from the stake, is good for all Doubles taken on the skeet field.

When shooters have problems with their Doubles, it is often due to taking the first target too early or too late. Taking the first target too early will have you getting into transition while the second target is so far on the other side of the field your eye shift can’t work because the target is too far away. This puts you in a position where you end up having to slow down or stop your gun and let the other target catch up. Todd calls this situation “bleeding off lead.” To Todd, this is tantamount to stopping the gun, which is death in Doubles. Taking the first target too late will have you rushing to chase down the second bird — not a good thing either.

Todd explains consistent first–shot placement is essential and also rather difficult to do. Time becomes somewhat skewed behind the gun because we see targets break initially at one place in their flight path and then watch as pieces of the target continue to move through the air. Our mind tends to make us believe we actually shot the target later than where it was actually shot. Todd explains he controls his shot placement with cadence. I’ll let you watch the DVD for Todd’s superb explanation as to how cadence is so valuable in Doubles.

Todd demonstrates all his theories and methods using the familiar camera angles of over–the–shoulder, a full–body view called “the form shot” and Sunrise Productions’ proprietary EYE–CAM®. There’s also a field overview camera angle. This new camera angle allows viewers to see the relationship of Todd’s foot position, hold points, break points, transition of the gun and much more.

Todd continues his instruction with full explanations and camera angles showing him shooting Doubles at Station 3 then Station 5. Finally, there is a very detailed discussion and demonstration as to why you need to shoot your targets in exactly the right spot at Station 4.

There’s far too much information to describe every detail here, and that’s not the point of my review anyway. Let me just say if you’re serious about shooting Doubles and succeeding at championships in skeet, you need to watch this DVD.

“Todd Bender’s Championship Doubles” is positively filled with valuable information from one of the finest skeet shooters of all time. Todd’s sheer knowledge of the game jumps out at you from the screen. One of the hallmarks of Todd’s instruction is his absolute confidence in every word he is telling his students. You can believe what Todd is teaching you because he genuinely, with every fiber of his being, believes it himself. This is the finest explanation of skeet Doubles on video I have ever watched…period!