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
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
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!