Does this scenario sound familiar? You started shooting clay targets about a dozen or so years ago, and your desire to improve has made you a very competent shooter. On most days you can hang in there with the most-skilled competitors and, every once in while, you come out on top. Then all of a sudden one day you go to shoot an easy straight-away target, and your mind will not let your finger pull the trigger. You shake that off as a fluke occurrence and finish shooting the rest of the day without it happening again.
Now that the “official” shooting season is over, there are some things you should be sure to get done in preparation for next year.
Today there are a lot of individuals putting on shooting clinics all around the country for trap, skeet and sporting clays. If you talk to shooters who have taken clinics previously, you will find some had a great experience and some had a poor experience. In talking to shooters who had a poor experience, I have found most of the time these shooters did not know what to expect prior to taking the clinic and, therefore, were disappointed with the outcome.
It needs to be clearly understood by all shooters that there is no proven fix, cure or shortcut guaranteed to end a shooting slump. Over the years I have spoken to, and worked with, countless shooters who have shared with me what they did to eventually put an end to the shooting slump they found themselves in.
Almost every day on one of the online shotgun shooting chat rooms someone posts the question about which gun to purchase, and this post usually receives a significant amount of responses from all readers. However, truth-be-told, most shooters select a shotgun based on these primary factors: price, features (such as adjustable comb and rib or the number and variety of choke tubes) and availability.
At some point every shooter starts asking himself if he should consider getting a new shotgun. The question is when is the right time to consider getting a new shotgun?
Every month from April to October, I hold an introductory shotgun clinic for individuals new to the clay target disciplines. A large majority of the individuals taking this clinic are people who do not own, and have never shot, a shotgun. Therefore, in order to take the clinic they rent a shotgun from the range. The shotguns the range rents are standard off-the-shelf field over/under shotguns. These shotguns come with industry standard stock dimensions which are meant to fit all shooters.
Let me start this article off by describing a situation I recently encountered which was the catalyst behind this topic. I arrived at the shotgun range on a day which was extremely windy. Like most shotgun ranges, there were the “regulars” there shooting trap, skeet and sporting clays. However, they were not shooting, they were sitting in the clubhouse complaining about the rounds they shot earlier that day and the low scores they posted as a result of the wind.
At the two ranges I teach at in the Denver area, I spend a lot of time walking up and down the trap line and wandering throughout the sporting clays course talking to people I know and making friends with people I do not know. I will gladly offer a suggestion or two when I see individuals struggling, and I know just a minor tweak or two will help them hit more targets.
Most all clay target shooters contemplate getting some type of assistance with the objective of increasing their shooting performance. This assistance can come in the form of instruction, coaching or attending a clinic. Which of these a shooter decides to engage in is dependent on many factors, including the learning style of the shooter and the resources a shooter is willing to dedicate to this. However, the most important factor a shooter should consider when looking for instruction, coaching or attending a clinic is what that shooter desires to get out of it.
I am sure if you ask ten people what the difference is between “training” and “practice” in sport, over half will probably tell you they are the same, and the remainder will all provide different definitions. However, training and practice are different. To become extremely proficient in any sport, an athlete needs to do both.