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Looking at the Barrel and Making a Plan

We’re just getting home from teaching at a new club for us – Minute Man Sportsman’s Club just north of Boston.

What a perfect time of year to go to a cooler climate. The leaves had not started turning yet, but give it a week or two. Beautiful club and great staff. Thanks to Jimmy who runs the place, welcomed us, and wants us to come back in 2020.

Worrying About the Barrel

My takeaway from the weekend is that students are way too worried about where the barrel is and what is the lead. I know that I have written this before, but it is so true.

Not only do they look at the gun in the setup, but they immediately put their head down on the stock and then try to find the target. And that just won’t work.

Once your head comes down on the stock what are you looking at? Of course, it’s the gun, and your focus has come off the target. The mounting of the gun to your cheek should come when you match the speed of the target and are ready to take the shot, not immediately when you see the target. Keep your nose on the target. And as the target closes in on the gun, your head will come down to the stock and take the shot.

Most students are comfortable with the gun being about three feet in front of the target. But when the gun needs to be farther in front, you can see in the body language that some bad feelings are coming on.

You need to be comfortable, however far in front you need to be, and be able to shoot the target anyplace in its flight path. Then there is no worry when you step into the stand. When you are comfortable and confident, it leads to consistency.

Make a Plan!

We also worked a lot on making a plan for the targets. Every shot you take should be taken with a plan. It doesn’t matter if it is practice or competition – make a plan, then shoot the plan. If it doesn’t work, you can always change the plan, but you must go into the stand with something to work with.

We find that students don’t make a plan when they’re shooting, so they can’t really repeat it if it worked. Therefore, they are inconsistent in their scores.

There are three routines in sporting clays. I know you will find this surprising, but we have a DVD (which is also available in the Knowledge Vault) that goes through them.

The first one is the pre-shot routine, where you plan what is going to happen. The second is the post-shot routine, where you blow the target up, stop, and review what just happened. Look back to the spot you broke the target and relive it. If you missed a target, the third routine is the correction routine, which, other than the pre-shot routine is probably the most important.

When you miss, you must correct it and hit the next one. This is the hardest one to get people to do, but it is probably the most important. If you can’t correct the miss, you will never achieve your potential.

Check out our video “The Three Routines in Sporting Clays” in the Vault, or purchase from our website store.