Feel like dr Ben this month, a bit of a bits n pieces edition this month trying to cover all the questions Ive received, so I’m going to headline each segment and try and cover that separate issue in detail.
Consistency can mean many things in shooting, I’m taking this as consistency over a station of say 4/5 pairs. For me the only way to be consistent is to follow a solid plan, most people walk in to the station call “pull” and then decide what’s going to happen by this time it’s far too late. You need to plan every aspect of the shot call “pull” and then execute. Your plan should include :-
* feet position
* hold point
* kill point
If any one of the above change the knock on effect becomes huge. For instance if you change your hold point and hold further away along the flight line you will now have a slower gun speed, So even though you may visually see the same perceived positive lead the slower gun speed will now place you behind the target and leave you very confused. Alternatively you change the kill point and shoot it later in its flight again the whole process is effected, through momentum the gun speed is increasing the longer we swing and the target is slowing so this time we will either miss in front or realise we’re way out there in front and stop the gun to try and reconnect with the target placing us behind.
Another thing that can effect consistency is “the follow” they watch someone else shoot a stand well and then “follow” they try to mirror the person and do what they did, being an individual and sticking to what your coach has worked on with you or what you have practiced in your training is a key part of success, Apart from having else left to try a competition isn’t the place to trial run something you haven’t tried before In practice.
You will hear a lot of people saying consistency is about being repetitive in what you do and to a sense I agree but I believe consistency comes from change and realising mistakes. One of the biggest mistakes I see shooters make in competition is they have a bad plan but through luck and a push of the gun they hit the first pair and the instant success can make you believe your plan is good so you try to pull off the same shots again and this proves impossible. Mistakes are made through out all levels of competitors but what the better ones will do is dissect the pair looking for mistakes and make changes even if the previous pair was hit. For instance “I walk in and have a plan in my mind, I call pull and I realise very quickly I’m holding too close to the machine and have to Hail Mary the first bird I increase gun speed and turn the first target to dust and then transfer into the second shot and hit that too. Herein lies the problem I made a mistake but I made a lucky shot and the referee said pair scored, the shot I made I cannot get away with 4 times consistently so I need to react and change that hold point and make a totally new plan. This isn’t easy to do when we have had a positive result. By making these small changes between pairs your score card will be more consistent albeit your plan isn’t. Try to get 2% better every pair.
Practice and Training
These are often spoke about in the same sentence but are 2 completely different things and I find rarely understood.
Practice is going to the range to work on things you already do and trying to iron out creases. Training is something shooters should all do more it’s where we’re going to try new things and ideas. Training will involve a lot of missing and should involve a note pad.
During a training session think outside the box, be willing to try new things. You may find answers for specific targets that help your shooting but I believe you can also get a confirmation of what doesn’t work for you, so your now confident in your choices, you can actually remove bad choices because you have tried them and know they don’t work for you. Things to trial :-
* kill points
I finish every training session by shooting my grid system. This workout for me covers all aspects of what a training session should leave you with. The grid is on a down the line layout or single machine throwing a straight target that isn’t oscillating . It’s 21 targets in total shot in a certain order (diagram below). Depending on your level of competency depends on the amount of misses you allow yourself. So I shoot all singles 1 cartridge per target and if I miss at any point ill make myself start again (therefore adding competitive pressure) and I’m there till I complete it, if I’m coming out of winter hibernation I may allow myself 2 misses so on the 3rd zero I return to first position. So if your a C class shooter I would possibly allow 8/9 misses for the total grid and less for the higher the classes. I believe once we understand leads and methods that timing, speed and visual awareness is what causes shooters to miss. This grid system is designed to embed accuracy, hand speed and methods. On row 1 you should be slow and precise, and the further back we go we will be shooting quicker and the wider we go the more visual positive lead. A good drill for all.
Practice or training when you leave you should have notes to make and remember the session but more importantly you should leave with something more than you arrived with, even if it’s clarification on something small or a total method change for a certain target. Work hard and document !!
Quite possibly the most talked about subject on my lessons and in shooting in general. To clear things up from my point of view, I’ve won the world championship changing chokes every stand and I’ve won it never changing chokes at all. For me it’s a mindset and confidence can play a part. Some days I feel invincible and never change (modified is as tight as I go) some days I feel vulnerable and change every station. But what I have done is extensive training with chokes and cartridge combinations so I don’t guess during an event. The way I recommend doing this find a sportrap layout with varying distances on the targets and using different constrictions and find out the limitations of each choke, however distance isn’t the only factor in choke selection. A 40yd target showing full belly wouldn’t get the same choke say as a 40yd edge on target. Also a major factor is speed, a faster target takes fewer pellets to break it so this has effect on choke choice too. Also I carry 8s and 7.5s so again this choice of cartridge size would effect my selection of choke.
There are 2 types of sim pairs
* where both targets are shootable in normal places (where you would shoot hem if they are on report) and are simply simultaneously launched to save time.
* where they’re launched simultaneously to be a complete nuisance and one or 2 have to be taken in totally different places than you would if they were on report.
For this article let’s concentrate on the 2nd scenario, first decision is which target to shoot first. Regardless of what the targets are if we can’t stick to shooting them where we see it clearest then we have to think differently (or it’s something we could have clarified in a training session).
What I’m thinking in this situation is
* which one is easier to shoot faster/first (look at both)
* what’s the difficulty level of the second target when the gun arrives to it at hold point / kill point
It may be target A is easier to shoot quicker but the B target is impossible to shoot 2nd, if I shoot B target first then I have a chance at A so the decision is made for you.
If you can shoot either one first then the things to consider when selecting your first target are.
* trajectory – a straight/flat line is easier to shoot quicker then a target in transition.
* visual – if you can see the trap it’s easier to shoot it quicker than a target popping out the blue
* foot position – your going to have to stand in the same place for both targets, make sure your stance doesn’t constrict your movement to either target and make sure you have some swing left after the kill points.
I hope these points help you with your successful shooting, any questions you have or lesson enquiries contact me or through social media