Successful shotgunning isn't an inherent trait,
it is a skill and it must be learned like any other skill.
With shot-gunning, most coaches will tell you to: “keep both eyes open, focus on the leading edge of the target or beak of the bird and the magic of your subconscious will tell you where to shoot.” Really? So you do that, two years later you’re still in A class and you can’t hit doves and ducks to save your life. So, what went wrong?
First of all, keeping both eyes open is the wrong advice for many of us. How do I know? The leading authority on this subject was a friend of mine, Dr. Peter O Behan from Glasgow University in Scotland. Multi Olympic Gold medalist Kim Rhode, for example, wears an occluder. Nora Ross is a one eyed trap champion and many top Olympians and Sporting Clay shots close the off eye as they trigger the shot. Diagnosing the degree of dominance is the problem and because dominance is neurological, (regardless of what they may tell you) even a top optometrist cannot diagnose it with 100% accuracy. So here’s a link to an article written by two experts on the subject: Changes in Dominance - Clay Pigeon Shooting
This came from an excellent book called SSSRD & The Cortex Eye. The first ever proven and new concept of visual perception. SSSRD stands for Simultaneous, Sectional, Supression and Retinal dominance.
I would like to point out that I am absolutely not suggesting that we should all be one-eyed shooters. I teach my clients the lead requirement they need on the targets and let them shoot both ways, one-eyed and two-eyed. It soon becomes obvious which way works better for them, after all, only they know what they see as they trigger the shot, no-one else does. In the past I have had two-eyed clients see a remarkable improvement by going from both eyes to one eye closed or an occluder in some cases from 60% to 90% in a few hours.
Secondly, on a 40 yard crossing shot for example, why would focusing hard on the “leading edge of the target” or the “beak of the bird” make you put your shot pattern 10 feet in front of it? Or 15 feet in front of a 60 yard crosser? It won’t, so why do some coaches tell you that? Quite simply, because they can’t explain one of the most elusive components of becoming a successful shotgunner, the amount of lead, or forward allowance that the targets need.
With a shotgun, the ability to read the targets is the main ingredient for success and building up a repertoire of sight pictures is the key. In other words, if you can’t read the target how will you intercept it with a cloud of pellets? And for all the wing-shooters out there. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a dove hunting trip to Argentina, or a pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota just to become frustrated when the birds keep flying? I can show you bird hunting techniques that no other coach can.
Over the years, I have developed a foolproof way to do this, based on trigonometry and logic. I can get a new shooter, with good eyesight and reasonably good hand eye coordination skills, that has never picked a shotgun up before, to repeatedly break every target on a skeet field in two hours and in another four or five hours about 75% of the targets on a sporting clay course.
That means crossers, droppers, rabbits, chondels and loopers……at any range.
It’s a bold shout isn’t it? Maybe, but I do it all the time.
So the coaches that tell you it will take 10,000 targets a year and three years to punch up to Masterclass are mistaken. All it means is their coaching skills are not up to scratch. So if you are taking lessons and you don’t improve, change your coach. Better still, ask for your money back and come and see me.
In an extract from "Successful Shotgunning" I wrote:
Successful shotgunning isn't and inherent trait, it is a skill and it must be learned like any other skill. It requires systematic study and the ability to accurately calculate the variables of moving targets. The aspiring shotgunner has absolutely no control over any airborne target. Once he triggers the shot, its over. It would make perfect sense therefore to pay attention to the things that he can control, gunfit, stance, mount and swing and the most important one of all, our visual ability to accurately calculate all the variables involved.
Shotgun Shooting Lesson - Great for Kids Sporting Clay Lessons
Specialized Shotgun Lessons - Lessons for Real Bird Hunting
My coaching sessions focus on the following:
- Correct gun mounting procedure and optimum barrel management.
- ShotGun fit and expert pattern plate analysis.
- Correct foot positions and also (for bird hunting situation) weight distribution footwork.
- Shotgun technique and shooting methods.
- Successful target evaluation, including correct line development, simple and compound lead requirements based on the angle, speed and range of the target.
One hour lesson - $175.00
Full day one-on-one lesson - $1,200 (6-7 hours coaching)
One hour lesson 2 students $200.00 (minimum 2 hours)
One hour lesson 3 students $225.00 (minimum 2 hours)
One hour lesson 4 students $250.00 (minimum 2 hours)
Full day 5-6 students - $1,500 (6-7 hours coaching)
Please note that targets and shells are not included in the lesson prices.
Shooting clinics are limited to a maximum of 6 students per two-day school. If possible, students should be at similar proficiency level in each group, to ensure maximum "one-on-one" involvement with each student.
As I said in the November 2000 issue of Sporting Clays magazine:- "When taking a shooting lesson with an experienced coach there should be immediate improvement. If there isn't, change your coach. If you can't hit the target it's his fault not yours"
To schedule a lesson in the Dallas Metroplex area, or to schedule a clinic at your club, please either send me an email on the contact page or call 903-383-2923