Jul 10, 2014
What Do You Mean…, LOST??
Now that we’ve shaken off the winter doldrums and are in the full swing of the clays shooting season, some of us are starting to stumble a little bit. The dreaded slump, hitting the wall or some kind of funk we can’t work our way out of. The target’s right there, I’m shooting, it’s not breaking??? We came into the new season with renewed hopes, a little rust and, if you’re like me, forgetting about half the lessons we’ve learned previously.
It happens to everyone, there is hope. The problem is not only is that aforementioned target LOST, but so are you as a shooter. Things are going south fast and nothing you seem to do is helping. The first thing to do is, relax, this is supposed to be fun, remember? Then, ask someone knowledgeable, knowledgeable being the key word here, for some help. Most gun clubs have experienced staff or shooters that would be happy to give you a few minutes to look at your shooting and, many times, they will see something obvious to them, but unseen by you, the shooter. (Remember, more than a few minutes turns into a paid lesson, and that’s not a bad idea either!) With luck, a few minor corrections and you’re off and running on track again.
If you’re still struggling, a timely “tune up” lesson might be in order. Getting feedback from a qualified instructor is some of the best money you can spend on shooting. Frankly, with the cost of shells these days, it’s almost shooting budget neutral to pay for an hour’s instruction rather than continue throwing expensive lead downrange and still not resolving the problem. For the “got to do it yourselfers,” work back to the basics.
First, focus on keeping your head down on the stock. This is the single biggest problem I see when shooters are struggling. Subconsciously anxious, they want to see that target break, and they unknowingly are lifting or tilting their head up to see it happen. Remember the old saying, “Wood on Wood,” (or synthetic as the case may be).
Then, STOP THINKING!
The second biggest issue I see is over thinking both the targets and what you’re doing. When your brain is “busy” and actively engaged as you are shooting a shotgun, bad things happen. The gun slows and sometimes the barrel raises high because you are slowing down AND lifting your head.
The next biggest issue comes from “riding” the target. You call for the bird, make your move and now you hit the point where you should trigger the gun, BUT you want to make sure it’s perfect, not miss, and you continue to track on the target to “make sure,” this allows the brain time to start thinking and…well, see above.
Clear your mind, call for your target, drop your head on the gun and the very instant it’s right, just shoot it!
And you will be FOUND!