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The Gazette
rushing ruins rythm!

     Rushing is, by far, the most common fault I see in people who attend my shooting schools. Many shooters think that taking the target with precision and authority is achieved by the application of speed. This is where it all goes horribly wrong. The only way to take the target precisely with consistency is to go back to the fundamentals and memorize those three 'R's - Rushing Ruins Rhythm!
      If you watch the top competitors, regardless of their personal style and technique, they really have lots of time in which to take their shot. But because their moves are so practiced and well-grooved, it can appear that the target is broken far quicker than it actually is.
      Top shots know that 'Rushing Ruins Rhythm'! They match their swing to the target's speed, creating a smooth, controlled shot. Practicing the basics of target reading, establishing gun, visual and break points, the fundamentals of stance, posture and head position, plus a solid gun mount allows them to shoot the target smoothly, positively and so deceptively quickly.
      You can achieve that smoothness of swing and consistent accuracy with patience, understanding and practice.

      Try the following experiment with a friend. Start by working from Low House 3 on the Skeet Range. Without a gun, properly address the target. Extend your arm and forefinger to the gun hold and call for a target. Point at it and move with it to the break point. Now, your friend, the observer, needs to pay rapt attention to your extended finger and not the target!
       Try this experiment a couple of times, taking turns, and you will quickly see that the finger actually moves very slowly, over a very short distance, as it matches the speed and flight line of the target.
      As the angle created by A and B changes, so does the line C, as does the amount of movement required to match the target. The speed and type of target will have an impact on this timing, but frequent practice will put the correct pictures into your memory bank.
      Once you have learned to match the muzzle speed to the target speed, you will have, in effect, slowed the target down, gaining more time in which to make a smooth move. With practice, actually moving more slowly, you will be breaking the target sooner and with more consistent success.


      Here are a few ideas to help integrate your new smooth moves into your next competition.
Keep Calm • Shooting well requires a good, even temperament. Bad days will happen to every shooter, from C Class to AA, even to the professionals. Blowing up at a dropped pair or poor stand will create more problems than it will ever solve.
First Stand • Slow Down. The first stand is always daunting and, if you let it, can have an impact on the rest of your round. Here is where the time you have put into practice will reap real dividends. Remember the three 'R's!
Shoot Your Own Game • Everyone is different and we are not all professionals. You have to play your own game, to your own ability. You have only your previous best score to beat and, most important of all, do not lose sight of the simple enjoyment of the sport.
Every Hit Counts • At every stand you may witness a Master Class competitor vaporizing targets and running the stand. Before you try to imitate that shooter, think again. You need to be concentrating on your own game, one target at a time. Smoking targets is one thing, but when the scores are added up, there is no difference in the cross between a ball of dust or a chipped target. Keep it smooth, keep it simple -- that's the correct way to think.
Move Smooth, Break More • In shooting, timing is everything! Swinging faster than the target will not shoot it quicker and could even force a snag or stumble in your gun mount, causing a miss. A smooth move to and with the target will achieve consistent hits and make all the difference. Rushing in shooting is the road to nowhere!
Head Down, Weight Forward • Keep your head glued to the stock - do not fall into the habit of raising your head to see the target break! This can cause a miss over the top and inconsistency on the second target of a pair. Posture has a big impact on head lifting. Maintaining your weight forward helps you stay in the gun.
Take Your Time, Move Your Feet • Creating time for your shot will allow you time to move your feet if a pair requires it. Better muzzle management - being able to shoot the first target in the best place - will leave the muzzles in the optimum position to pick up the second target.
      There is no magic spell to shooting well. Shooting skill is achieved through practice, and good practice is the only way to improve. By improving, you will automatically increase your scores. You need to groove your move and your swing, create time for yourself by slowing down the targets and always avoid the Dreaded Three 'R's!

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     First, you need to recognize just how slowly a target is really moving. Take a Skeet target - over the centre peg it is going approximately 35 miles per hour. To adjust to the target speed, you need to apply the triangulation of the shooting action - A+B =C.
      A is the target flight line, B is the line created between your shooting position and the trap. C is the third line of the triangle, created by these two lines at the break point of the target. This triangulation means that the gun needs to move only inches at the muzzle to match the speed and achieve feet at the target.
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