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Catching up with Vicki

Back from Oregon

We are just getting back from three wonderful days with our daughter Andrea, son-in-law, Tim, and one of our granddaughters, Avery. On Wednesday, Gil went salmon fishing with the boys and I got to play with Avery. They live in Oregon, so we don’t get to see them as often as we would like to. But we had a few days to visit before we went to work at a new (to us) club, Rogue Valley Sportsman Club in Grants Pass.

We would like to thank Jim Conklin and the staff at Rogue Valley for welcoming us with open arms. Jim set this up and we had a great time on a course. It was a pleasure to shoot and teach on it. Rogue Valley is the clay target part of a huge “mother club” called Josephine County Sportsman Club. You can shoot pistols, rifles, bows, and of course shotguns at skeet, trap, and sporting clays.

Learning to Mount and Preload

Once again, we find ourselves surprised that people don’t know how to mount the gun or that they should practice it. Then wonder why they miss so many targets.

So out come the flashlights to show how to practice their mount and understand why it’s better to shoot with a gun that is not all mounted so they can move. This is a game of feel and movement. If your head is on the stock and all tucked in, you can’t move, much less feel the connection with the target. And you really can’t see the target until after it gets by you and beats you.

It seems that people think it’s easier to shoot with a mounted gun so they don’t have to learn the gun mount. But not really.

The animations once again were very helpful to get everyone on the same page. On the first day, I had three repeat offenders who came in for a little tune-up. One who came in from Sacramento and is a huge duck hunter. He needed a little help with his hunting abilities. He amazed himself how much easier this system is than what he had been doing, and that he could actually hit targets.

It’s hard for people to understand how important the preload is until they do it a few times. Then they realize how the shot is done if you’ll be clear to the brain what you want it to see.

The preload is different from the preshot routine. But before you call “pull,” you need to load in your brain what you need to see. Then be stubborn with the picture and don’t take the shot until the picture is stable.

Day Two: Reading Targets and Shooting Long Crossers

The next day brought four newbies to us. The first thing we did was to get the gun out of their shoulder and move their nose back where they could see the target. They were amazed at how one thing made the target slow down. The thought of keeping the target on either the right or left side of the barrel was really new. And at first, it was hard to do. But putting the target on a clock face seemed to help.

Another thing we did was to learn how to read the target and what it’s doing when you shoot at it. If you don’t have the right information in the brain, it’s hard to break the target if the line is different than what you think it is. Just by putting your hand either vertically or horizontally, you can tell exactly what the target is doing.

If I had a dime for every person who comes to our clinics and wants long crossers, we could go on vacation. There was a really long crosser at station 10 that ate everyone up. When I showed them that it was not only crossing but also going up and the line was not 3 o’clock but 1 o’clock, they began to hit it. Not consistently, but it was late in the day when we got there. So we’ll take that challenge on tomorrow.

I was tickled by our duck hunter. He was so tired on the last two stations in the afternoon of the second day, he said he would not shoot anymore… that is, until we got to a station that really resembled a duck shot. All of a sudden he wasn’t tired anymore and really wanted that shot. He got out of the clays car and went in and proceeded to pulverize that target. It was a good day!

Day 3: Working on Consistency

We had three people return on the third day, so we spent the whole day on preloading the shot and getting more consistency in their game.  We spent a lot of time talking about the focal points and breakpoints and making the breakpoint for the first target to make the second target easier.

They had never thought about adding to their practice routine to hit five targets in a row. So we spent most of the afternoon shooting pairs and talking them through the strategy. Focusing on shooting five in a row is something you have to practice. You will not win if you don’t run stations.

One gentleman was shooting left-handed and was right-handed. And one was shooting right-handed but was left-handed. Confused? We did make it back to that long crosser at 10 and everyone hit it, creating some big smiles and high fives.

The day ended with a discussion about the book The Talent Code, and how everyone should read it. When we bring up myelin, it seems there is always a doctor or pharmacist who knows all about it and how it works. That makes it fun for us and brings science to our system. We sent them home with homework: to get The Talent Code, read it three times, and send us an email about their progress.

Now we’re home for a day and a half, and then off to South Carolina.