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Pre-Mount in Routine

Our conclusions are typically drawn from how many times we have to make the same correction on thousands of students.

Let’s say an elite shooter came to me and asked for help. If that elite shooter did a pre-mount and did not seem to put the muzzle in the shot, causing him to miss, then I probably would not say anything. But if the same shooter came to me with an intermittent missing problem on a variety of shots then things might change.

I would have to question them further on when the misses occurred in the tournament round. The first third, second third, or last third? On the first bird or second of a pair? Then I would question the direction of the transition.

Based on their answers, the pre-mount could be the cause, so I would begin throwing pairs to exploit their weakness, saying nothing until a miss occurred – or more importantly, a chipped bird. I would ask immediately if the barrel got in the way. If yes, then the question is “how much?” And if there is any hesitation, be quiet and listen.

The Ability to Self-Correct

An elite shooter is elite because of their ability to self-correct. They have come to me to help them with their ability to self-correct!

In my career as a shooter first and then more extensively as a coach, I have learned that most great shooters have a centerline in what they do. It becomes easy for them to deviate from their center line and still break the target. But eventually, that specific deviation will get too far from their center line and they will miss the occasional target. And due to their successes with the deviation, they don’t know what is happening!

Neither do I, but when I find myself in a situation like this I will put the target and the shooter in my periphery and notice where the two are not together. That’s where I begin to look for clues.

My gut tells me that if they pre-mount, they are seeing the sight picture. They are not checking the beads and making sure the gun is mounted correctly.

 “He’s careful to distinguish the difference between a less-experienced shooter who may do this and look down the beads vs. the experienced competitor who is reinforcing his commitment to the target at the breakpoint!”

Everything we do in shooting moving occurs in the periphery, and things in the periphery are interpreted based on how we want them to be seen or perceived. This means that less-experienced shooters cannot get away with pre-mount in their pre-shot routine!