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Sample Videos

November - What Beginners Must Learn

.......November - What Beginners Must Learn (Text Version).......  - Nationals Report  - Describing the Zone via Golf Flow  - The Problem with Positive Thinking  - Block Practice Versus Random Practice  - Experienced Shooters Offer Advice for Beginners  - There Are No Shortcuts  - What Are You Willing to Give Up?

123. Don’t Squeeze (01:19)

Do not squeeze the trigger like rifles, but quickly hammer the trigger.

122. Drop (01:18)

The height of the comb (stock), when mounted to the face.

121. Correct Grip (00:57)

How to correctly place the forearm on the muzzle.

119. Cast Off (01:18)

To mount correctly the stock of the gun is bent a little (cast off).

124. Dangers (01:01)

Get in sync with your target.

120. “Conscious vs. Subconscious” (01:23)

The difference between the conscious and subconscious mind.

July - "The Dreaded Phlinch"

In this Coaching Hour, Gil and Bob Shannon talk to Mark, a trap shooter, and troubleshoot his problems with flinching and trigger freeze. The conversation touches on interesting topics about the brain, muscle tension and grip pressure, among others.   .......July - "The Dreaded Philinch" (Text Version).......

Sample Articles

A Morning on the Prairie

I can remember hunting geese with David Jones, my next-door neighbor at the time, years ago. I hadn’t considered just how many years ago it was until I was invited on a goose hunt by Larry Gore of Katy Prairie Outfitters. I mentioned to Larry that back when I hunted geese, we put out rag spreads, first with diapers, and then with plastic rags. Veteran goose hunters know what I’m talking about; it was a lot of work. Since I had never been on a guided goose hunt, I accepted Larry’s offer.We chose a day based more on our schedules than the weather. I called one of our students, Dean Olsen, and asked if he and his son Daniel would like to join us, and they agreed. The day before the hunt, I stopped by Johnnie’s Sport Shop in Eagle Lake, Texas, and talked to the owner about some ammo. He was as high on Hevi-Shot as the price tag. I wanted more

Duckin and Dovin at the 74 Ranch

Best I remember, it was a cold, dreary day a few Januarys ago at the 74 Ranch in South Texas. Winter dove season had begun, and my son Brian was coming down to hunt with me for a few days. I had been checking the lakes for ducks and driving all over the ranch looking for a concentration of doves, but no luck. Dean Olson, one of our students, had called and asked if he could come down and get a lesson while I was at the ranch. While driving around the sporting clays course planning my lesson with Dean, I stumbled into a flight of mourning doves. I watched as they flew across stations 12, 13, and 14 on the sporting clays course. I checked my watch; it was 2:30. The birds were flying north to south, landing in a cornfield that had recently been plowed. I decided to sit there and watch the birds for a while to see how many there were and more

Finally, Dove Season

Finally, it’s a happening thing!September is the transition month. Dove season kicks off in the north and central zone on the first. Early teal season begins on the 18th and south zone dove season begins on the 24th, finally. The first cool front usually pushes through around mid-month and begins to break the summer heat. Finally!If you are fortunate enough to have a place to hunt doves in the north or central zone, you can use that as a warm-up for teal season. At this writing, I can’t tell you what kind of a teal season we are going to have. Regardless of the prospects, go hunting. Teal season is the best time to find out if your waders have a hole in them. You will get a head start on untangling decoy lines and blowing the dust off your duck calls.Teal season, with its small bag limit, offers some great opportunities to learn and more

Pre-Shot Routine for Wing Shooting

Vicki and Gil,I read your columns with interest every month. Question: You recommend a pre-shot routine in any form when you are wing shooting. I know I miss a lot of first shots on ducks, doves, quail, and pheasants that I should not miss because I get in too big of a rush. How do you recommend that I deal with this problem?-John John,Perhaps we should talk about the pre-shot routine in sports and its importance and purpose. We think that you would find that all coaches, especially in individual sports, would agree that the foundation for consistency is a simple pre-shot routine. Something that is done before each shot and is the same every time prior to doing whatever it is that the athlete is about to do.  It is not so much what it is that's critical, as much as that it's the same every time: the same actions, the same rhythm, the more

Gun Fit

Gun FitSince shotguns are pointed, not aimed, it is important that they “fit” the shooter. There are probably as many opinions on this subject as there are fishing guides in the Rockport area. So what the hell, here’s our $0.02 worth - or as Ed Hefty would say, “$10.00 worth of free advice.”Gil does about 100-150 gun fits a year. He have a “try-gun,” but rarely uses it unless the customer is having a custom stock made. Sometimes if the customer is a small framed adult or teenager, he'll use it, especially if the gun needs to be shortened a lot. Most of the time, he likes to work with a customer's gun because they are used to it, and we're going to have to bend, shorten or lengthen their existing stock anyway. Yes, we said bend. This is a process of heating the grip section of a shotgun stock, putting it in a jig and bending it in more

The Pitfalls of Unsolicited Help

It seems that we are getting more and more questions and comments about how other shooters are “helping” people without being asked, especially the Level I and Level II instructors. For example, a man called us and said he was an 80-85% shooter until one day an instructor told him he was left eye dominant and to improve he would have to switch shoulders or put a dot over one eye.Let’s think about this. He is shooting 80-85%. His problem is probably not that he is left eye dominant. He is too good of a shooter for that to be a problem. After talking to him for 10 minutes on the phone, having never met this person, we asked him what he was doing to hit the targets. We talked about how he was approaching the targets and most importantly, the last thing he saw before pulling the trigger. Many times he saw the barrel of the gun and had more

"Why Do I Shoot Sporting Clays?"

There are many reasons that people shoot sporting clays. It is fun and relaxing. We feel that there is some psychological benefit to breaking things and making noise on a clays range. We are also convinced that you just meet a finer class of people around a shotgun.Did you ever stop and think about why people compete in recreational sports? It seems like people enjoy the risk of winning or losing when there is no chance of a monetary loss. In their everyday jobs, there is risk and typically a chance of monetary loss. Because they deal with the risk of monetary loss daily, when they can take a risk and there is no chance of any great monetary loss, they get the adrenaline rush - without the risk.This is why people do sports. They fish, hunt, play tennis, golf, run marathons, etc. As long as they don’t put excessive amounts of pressure more

"It’s Okay To Be Early" and Other Useful Tips for Tournam...

We don’t know about you, but when we get a chance to shoot a major tournament, the information sheet that you get from registration is sometimes hard to interpret.  We don't get to shoot many tournaments because of our work schedule, so it is probably more confusing for us than those of you who are on the tournament trail on a regular basis. Surely, the more tournaments you shoot, the clearer they become. Still, it’s important that you clearly understand the information on them. It’s important that you check your class at registration because it is your responsibility to keep your class up to date and that you register and shoot in the correct class.  Perhaps the most important data on the sheet are your shoot times for each event. Keeping up with that piece of paper is not the easiest job around. Something that Vicki started doing more

Left-Eyed and Right-Handed

I am left-eyed and right-handed. It does not bother me, and I am usually able to score right up there with the right-eyed and right-handed folks. I wore a patch over my entire left eye to shoot – but you can’t walk around and the targets look like they are smaller, farther away, and going really fast. The best solution is not to worry so much about it if you are shooting well. Eye dominance means that one eye focuses first and leads the other eye to focus. The eyes work together to focus on whatever you are looking at.Try trusting your natural ability to bring the gun up in the front of the target and shoot when the gun gets to your face. The way the eyes work is like this:Look beyond the flight path of the target. Focus on something (a bush, a tree, anything. But you must keep your eyes still). Let the target come into your view, more

Conscious Awareness of the Gun

After teaching 1,500 people each year for the past eight years, we find that the one main problem all shotgunners face is conscious awareness of the gun, or looking at the gun. This problem manifests itself in many different ways and causes a multitude of problems. The one main problem is checking the size of the lead. We see this at all levels – beginners, intermediate and advanced.The beginner has to learn to be 100% focused on the target and let the gun enter their peripheral circle without looking at it. It is a real struggle because your peripheral circle's job is to direct conscious focus to movement. The closer the movement to the face is, the more your conscious focus wants to go to it. The more erratic and quick the movement of the gun is, the more your eyes will go to the gun. As the beginner has no trained flow to his gun more

When to Take a Shooting Lesson When Your Scores Plateau

When to Take a Shooting Lesson When Your Scores PlateauWhat to look for:1. Common sense reasons why you are having trouble or are not performing up to your potential. 2. If you are having trouble with, say, dropping shots, it is not enough to have someone just show you how they do it.3. It is more important for you to understand why you are not hitting the target.We see shooters who think they are having trouble with a certain type of target, and they think that it is the target that is giving them the problem! When we watch the shooter it becomes obvious to us that it is a simple fundamental concept that they have either misunderstood or never understood that is causing the problem. Once the real problem is understood, we can go on to fixing the problem. However, it is not going to get fixed in that lesson. The fundamental concept more

Viewing Change in Your Shooting

When you teach and coach the number of people we do, you begin to see some obvious performance trends, and attitudes in shooters of different abilities. One such trend is how people view change. Several times over the past months, we have seen this phrase used in advertisements and flyers soliciting students for shooting instruction –“He will work with what you are doing and not change you and make you better.”Now, let’s look at what was actually said in this statement. This statement implies that regardless of what you are doing, it is correct and you won’t have to change anything to get better. That being the case, what are you paying the instructor for? Seems to us that if everything you are doing is correct, all you need to do is copious amounts of it and you should be winning major tournaments in no time. NOT!This "no change" more

Excess Follow-Through Creates Risk

Follow-through is the momentum the gun has as the trigger is pulled – nothing more. Any conscious, excessive follow-through after the shot is taken is wasted and creates risk. We see people on a weekly basis who have been brainwashed into thinking that they must continuously keep the gun moving after the shot.In our experience, this creates risk in several ways.1. Conscious follow-through is a forced push or pull with the front hand and typically is faster than the bird's speed. This causes the eyes to want to go to the gun. And if the target has been broken, there is nothing for the eyes to focus on but the gun. Now the eyes must come off the gun, find the second target, and the gun races to it to try to break it!2. The amount of conscious follow-through will vary greatly, even on the same targets. This means the gun will be in a more

Hard Targets: To Practice, or Not to Practice?

We recently attended a tournament of 400 plus shooters. The targets were a little more difficult than usual. Our observation was that they were a little longer than the norm, which required a smoother, more precise move coupled with a precise breakpoint to be successful. The poor fools who mounted the gun and chased the lead were eaten alive.We overheard two shooters talking about the targets. They both thought they were great targets. However, they complained about the host club not ever setting targets hard like these so they could practice them. We don’t know how well they actually did on the “hard” ones. But it could not have been too good, or they wouldn’t have been so hard! We have noticed several traits of competitive shooters:1. When faced with hard targets – instead of slowing down, relaxing, and trusting themselves, they more

Changing Leads vs. Chokes

I’ve heard people talk about changing their leads instead of changing their chokes. Which has the most effect on the size of the shot cloud? Mark FaggardBeaumont, Texas***This answer is probably going to ignite quite a few already-too-short fuses, but you asked for it!I defy anyone to show me how changing shot sizes can change the size of the shot cloud greater or more precisely than changing choke! In my experience, it just won't happen. That is why I shoot an over/under shotgun: to take advantage of having two chokes. The reason you change choke is to give you the largest diameter shot cloud at the distance you are going to break the target.Maybe it's best to explain this using a specific example. Let's say that you are shooting a report pair of crossers. The first bird crosses at 15 yards and the second crosses at 30 yards. If you more

Bird-Barrel Relationship vs. Gun Speed

As you become a more advanced shooter, does bird-barrel relationship or gun speed become more important?Gun speed is infinitely more important than sight picture. Before you think you are getting closer to proving that we are both crazy, let us explain.If the gun is not ahead of the bird when the shot is taken, regardless of gun speed, you have no hope to hit the target. If the gun is ahead of the target, even if it is in the “perfect spot,” if the gun speed isn't correct, the target will be missed. The more the gun speed equals the target speed, the more forgiving the lead and timing are.For example, let's say we are shooting a 25-yard crossing target and the correct lead is four feet in front. If the gun speed is greater than the target speed, even though the lead is correct when you pull the trigger, you will miss in front. If the more

2003-09 - September 2003 Coaching Hour - What If

.......September - What If....... - Brian Brewton’s Journey in Practice  - Dick Baker’s Renewed Commitment  - Practicing with Purpose and a Log  - Tom Kirchmer on the Voice and Perspective - Best Time to Write in the Log Introduction  Three shooters take a starring role in this Coaching Hour: Brian Brewton, Dick Baker and Tom Kirchmer. Brian talks about the evolution of his practice game, and how he has overcome his demon of rushing himself while shooting. Dick talks about his renewed commitment to practice frequently for shorter periods of time, and Tom courageously shares his rebound from a performance where he “stunk it up.” We also continue to look at the voice of conscious doubt, especially Tom’s voice that says “what if,” and how a shooting log makes a big difference.   Brian Brewton’s Journey in more

Q&A: "Should I dismount for the second bird of a pair?"

Should I dismount for the second bird of a pair? Doctor Stewart, Lafayette, LA. **If on the second bird you have time to bring the gun away from your face, our suggestion would be yes. Remember, the first thing you need to do is to see and focus on the bird. If the gun stays in your face and you move to the second target, then your eyes will go to the barrel of the gun. The reason for this is your eyes naturally go to the fastest moving thing in the picture. iI you move the gun to the target faster than the speed of the target, your eyes will go to the gun. The most important thing, no matter how much time there is in between shots, is to make your eyes find the second bird before you move the gun to the second bird. Eyes first, then the gun!On two outgoing targets, you don’t have the time to dismount to get to the other bird. You more

Gun Mount

Would you rather have students in a clinic who were new shooters, or people who had been shooting for a while with bad habits? George FournoyHouston, Texas***Most people would think that getting a new student with no bad habits would be the easier way to teach. But give us someone with a good gun mount and we can get them farther along in a shorter time. We can always refine a gun mount that may not be the best, but if you have no gun mount at all, a lot of time must be spent on making that right move.Our suggestion to everyone is to practice your gun mount before you have a lesson. Make it become subconscious so that you don’t have to think about it again. A beginner must not only think of all the good information he/she has received, but also must think about making a good mount, so as not to hurt themselves. If any conscious more

Learning from Success is NOT Easy

This excerpt from our book Traveling The Inner State illustrates the way real peak performers think and set goals. Regardless of the outcome, they are constantly trying to improve whether they win or not. Real winners know that even though they won on the scorecard today that they “got away with a few hits that were just luck." And they immediately make plans to go and train on their weakness and train them into their strength. That is what separates them from the rest. ***There is a benefit of setting your own performance goals, especially learning. It challenges you to grow even if all the outside measurements ring you in as the biggest success since the Pet Rock. Even if your internal measurements give you the nod of success, in our experience, it takes much more awareness and effort to learn from achievement than from more

Advanced Diagnostic Clinic for Certified NSCA Instructors

Are you an NSCA Level I certified instructor who desires to move to Level II?  Don’t have the expanded experience, a regular mentor, and or the full range of diagnostic skills to help you get there? October 3rd and 4th, the Sarasota Gun Club, in partnership with Gil Ash of the OSP Shooting School, is hosting a first of its kind clinic, a learning-shooting pilot program entitled “Advanced Diagnostics”.  The purpose of this program is to assist certified NSCA Instructors in their individual instruction as well as to supplement the official NSCA Instructor’s Program.  Limited to ten candidates initially, each attendee will have an opportunity to participate in the development of this program.  Learn to go three or more layers deeper into why students repeatedly miss the same targets and cannot steadily improve.  Is it more

Shooting Glasses Do Help

Perhaps the most important aspect of shooting a shotgun is focusing on the target. If you have read this column in the last few years then you know how much we talk about eyes, vision, and focus and the important role they play in proficiency with a shotgun. We have talked about gun fit, chokes, shot shell ballistics, and the mechanics of mounting the gun correctly and consistently. All of those things are important, but they are all secondary to focus on the target when shooting a shotgun. It doesn’t matter whether the target is painted or has feathers on it. You must focus on it to hit it. Hopefully you have accepted this, practiced it in your own shooting, and experienced some improvement in your own proficiency with a shotgun.The unfortunate problem that we all face sooner or later is that our vision fades as we age. We don’t lose more

Improving Success on Live Birds

Successful clays shooters sometimes find that their skills on the sporting clays course or skeet range don’t translate to dead birds when they’re hunting. If that’s happening to you, chances are it’s a matter of where you are focusing.When shooting at a live bird, look at its head, specifically at its eyes. Your eyes will naturally want to go to the fastest moving part of the bird, its wings. Then your eyes naturally go to the back of the bird. Since the gun functions as an extension of your eyes, guess where the gun will go? Behind the bird. That is why you see so many feathers falling without the bird going down.Make your eyes go to the front of the bird, then the gun will follow. Start practicing by looking at birds you see flying around home, and see where your eyes go. Practice having laser focus on the bird’s eye, and you’ll see more

Expectations on Tournament Day

A student of ours came to a great revelation the other day. After several months of shooting and taking lessons, his scores had gone way up, and had started to go up and down. The ups were good, but the downs were becoming too much the norm. The downs were really showing up on tournament day. "All I want is a trophy and to get out of E class," he would say. "But really I just want the trophy." We would try to explain to him not to let his expectations steer his tournament day. Finally, after several bad scoring tournament days, he called whining about how bad he was performing. Gil and I both talked to him about his goals, his expectations, and his learning curve, but we especially wanted him to relax and enjoy the game, learn from his mistakes, and to let his performance go, and stop whining about not winning. The next day he went more

How to Stay Focused for 10 Shots

At every clinic, the same question arises about how to not only get focused at the first stand but how to stay focused for 10 shots.We have found that the best way to solve this problem is for you to practice getting focused and staying focused. How? In your practice routine, you must start making sure you go to the range with a specific thing to practice, like left-to-right crossers. Make yourself stay in a stand until you can shoot 10 in a row. When you are in a tournament you will go back to those things that are in your subconscious - in other words, those things you have practiced. Don’t leave that stand until you can hit that target 10 times in a row. That will help you stay focused for the 10 times, which is what you will do in a tournament. If you only have to shoot six times, you are ahead of the game.How to get focused is more

How Your Eyes Work

One of the most surprising things students learn in our clinics is how their eyes work. The eyes feed the information of how to hit the target to the brain. If they receive incorrect information, then the shot becomes, more often then you want it to be, a miss.How to prevent this? Lets go over how your eyes work. The eyes focus back from the object you are looking at to your body more efficiently than if they have to go from a short distance and find the target. They then have to do 2 functions–they must locate the target, then focus on it. If your eyes are beyond the flight line of the target, and focused on something so that they are still, they will pick up any movement that they see. That is how they work. In one function, they will immediately go to the object that is moving the fastest in the picture and focus on it.How often more

"Why do the women shooters always score 10-20 fewer birds...

Why do the women shooters always score 10-20 fewer birds than the men?Phyllis Lundquist, Seattle, WA***A great question, since this is not a game of strength. It’s not like golf where the ladies need to be yards ahead of the guys to get their ball down the fairway. Shooting is more a game of finesse – not of strength. Gil and I have been trying to figure this out for years. Here are a few thoughts we have had.The biggest difference between men and women (and therefore in their scores) is that women have more trouble staying focused on the goal of hitting the target. Women are used to doing six to eight things all at the same time. I can see all the ladies' heads nodding yes. Men do one thing at one time. Therefore, they are very focused. Their only thought while they are in the shooting cage is hitting that target and making it break. more

Two Eyes or One?

Is it better to shoot with both eyes open? The answer is definitely YES. The targets will look larger, closer, and like they're moving more slowly. Is it going to look completely different when you shoot? YES! Remember that your eyes are used to working together so that you can walk or drive a car. If you will think of shooting your shotgun like driving your car and merge into the lead with the gun, you won’t have to be so concerned about the barrel. If you are looking at the barrel of the gun, you are not looking at the target and focusing totally on it. That will put you behind the target. There is a 3/10ths of a second delay in the brain sending the response to the arms that will put you behind the target. Try focusing really hard on the front of the target and bringing the gun up in front of the target and as it touches your cheek, more

Eye Dominance

When you write about your technique of automatic vision compensation when you concentrate just on the target and how the mind-body computer will compensate with proper gun alignment, how does eye dominance play in this scenario? The testing of my vision indicates to me that my left eye is mainly dominant, but occasionally it isn’t. I shoot right-handed. I think this is the reason that sometimes easy targets are missed. - Harry Wiley, e-mail***Eye dominance becomes more evident as you become more aware of the barrel of the gun. If your eyes vary from focusing on the target to the barrel - even if it is a slight moment - you will lose the bird and most probably will miss it. Your letter says you just began shooting clays after a 30-year absence from occasional trap. In trap, you were probably more aware of where the gun was. If you do more

Simple Mechanics

The level of commitment must be greater than the expectation. We teach mechanical excellence, mental focus, and trust. One must have mechanical excellence before true mental focus and trust can occur. Ideally, you can develop mental focus and trust while you develop mechanical excellence. However, mechanical excellence must be developed and constantly practiced in order for one to ever come close to their potential. The first step on your journey to your potential is understanding the simple mechanics of shotgunning:1. Look at the target.2. Put the gun where the target is going.3. Pull the trigger.It is that simple! Anything else you put into the shot just clutters up the mechanics and takes away from your focus on the target. You read lots of articles and watch lots of videos on swing-through, pull-away, maintained lead, sustained more