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An Unusual Series of Shooters

Well, the first Advance Class is over, and what a success it was! We had great weather, and of course world-class targets.

Again, shooters are continually amazed at how proficient the anticipation circuit is and how well it works, provided the shooter maintains focus on the target and matches gun speed with target speed. We will be commenting on different things in the next few weeks.

Today I want to talk about an unusual series of shooters that have come to me for lessons over the past few weeks in Florida, Houston, and at the Ranch. All of them are AA drivers who badly want to be good at sporting clays.

A few of them have bought into the system and are amazed at the simplistic nature of it and how easy it is to implement, especially after they got a stock that was low enough to really fit.

Without exception, all the shooters had heavy muzzle awareness in the setup and as a result, during the shot. All of them had guns that shot high left and took excessive cheek pressure to make them shoot true.

On one, I put a pattern stock that was to my dimension, and after about 59 shots, the shooter was inkballing targets on every shot. But this shooter stopped looking at the muzzle in the setup and could see the target behind the barrel as they inserted the muzzle and had perfect muzzle speed control. A formula for instant success.

I had another shooter who wanted to get good too quick without going through the litany of missing targets to learn from the misses and get better the old fashion way: through hard work.

Another shooter has an O/U with a Neal Bauder stock that fits perfectly with a beautiful piece of wood. And he will not shoot it because he is not shooting well enough to have a gun that good-looking.

So, he bought another O/U with a factory stock that does not fit him and shoots a pattern high and half a pattern left at 25 yards. He has to cheek the gun really hard and turn his face to the right so the beads line up.

You guessed it; he is looking at the bead constantly in the setup as he presses his face into the comb and turned his nose to the right. What he doesn’t understand is that in doing this he is restricting his vision to the left of the barrel which makes left-to-right targets a real problem.

This has caused a muzzle slash at the end of his swing on left-to-right targets, which created erratic results and an impossible situation to repeat sight pictures, as well as a really inconsistent result left to right and even more barrel checking. And it’s just the opposite on his right-to-left targets.

Talk about a confusing frustrating situation for us both.

I had another instance where a swing-through shooter came for a lesson and wanted to do better, but this guy was an athlete: he played football for TCU. He saw it come on the sixth shot and said, “Wow, this is what I was looking for.”

The lesson went 1.5 hours, and wow was the order of the day. To see this big guy get giddy with excitement was amazing to me.

His words as he left? “You will see me again, and my daughter too!”

I am continually amazed at how a person’s mindset controls the speed of learning.  They say the words but will not commit to letting the learning take place, because they are wanting to break the target or in other words, they want to get better without missing.

It’s sad what this state of mind does to people because this is not an optimal learning situation.

And I heard this goal repeated several times in the past three weeks: “I’m not interested in winning. I just want to shoot GOOD!”

This is a positive sound-alike. In this situation, “good” is not determined by how the shooter shoots, but by how well the shooter’s score holds up to those around them.

The sad fact is, in most cases, the shooters around them have a lot more experience than they do, and as a result will always shoot better than them. There is no shortcut to “shooting good” in this game. And if you progress to the level you wish, you will have to change the way you think about failure and performance (and in some instances learning) or you will never be satisfied with your progress and you will end up quitting!

This type of shooter does not understand skill-building and that all skill lies in the filler in the brain. It is not in the conscious thinking part of the brain.

The amount of skill in the brain is determined by how many times you have done it, not by how cautious you are about applying the correct lead!

Skill is what happens when you are not thinking!

“Thinking while performing is a distraction!”
– Vicki Ash

‘Nuff said!

Florida Recap