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 also something you must practice. Having a preshot routine is very helpful. That will make you be consistent in your approach to the targets.
It should take you the same amount of time between shots to be consistent. How many times have you started a stand, and as you went from the third pair to the fourth, you got a little faster in your approach. From the fourth to the fifth, you got even faster and ended up dropping at least one on the fourth pair and one or two on the fifth. Your mind starts thinking "I’m going to run this stand. I better hurry up so that I don’t lose this." Then you have taken yourself out of the present and into the future and you will miss a bird.
Make yourself sloooooooow down and make the same move between shots. Do the same thing between shots. That will keep your mind focused only on hitting the birds, not on your score or what is going on around you. That will keep you doing the same thing in the box. If you are consistent in your approach to each target, then you will be consistent in hitting the targets.
When you walk up to a stand, watch the targets and decide how to hit them, what chokes you are going to use, and your choice of ammunition. Get those things done, then find the spot where you can see the target clearly and decide where to break it. Then find the spot where you can see the second target and where to break it. Now you have a plan on how to hit these targets. Hopefully, the plan will work. But if it doesn’t, you have a starting place to figure out how to correct the miss.
If you have just put the gun out there and called "pull," your anxiety is at an all-time high because you are flying by the seat of your shorts. This is not a confident way to approach the targets. Have a plan. If it works, put your eyes in the same place, break the first target in the same place and see the second target in the same place and break it in the same place. If it works once, it will work four more times. You will find that this will put you more at ease with your shooting. You are not having to constantly worry about how to hit the targets. You know you can if you will continue to do the same thing before you call "pull."
Now the work has been done, and you can relax and enjoy the breaks because you trust your ability to hit the target. You have confidence that it will break. Always expect it to break and be surprised if it doesn’t.