Speaking of the obvious, humbly submitted, the speed of light in a vacuum is exactly 186,282 miles per second. Impressed? OK, maybe not – so what does this have to do with our shooting? Well, that number is a fact, an irrefutable truth. Just like all the numbers on gravity and Einstein’s energy. Want to go over them? Me neither. And I bring all this up because…well, all those numbers are dependable. Should you decide to use them, they’ll work – every day – all day – no exceptions – like your shooting method should!
“A day without sunshine is like…
~ Steven Wright
The shooter on the squad ahead of us was visibly distraught. Missing targets with a score-keeper behind him – at one time or another I think we’ve all experienced his frustration. Been there, done that. You won’t find happy and missing in the same sentence. What struck me, however, was how his shooting method was letting him down. Hacking fiercely at every target, evermore determined, his confidence plummeted after each miss. O for 8.
Looking back over the decades, I’ve stood in front of Instructors, some excellent, some not. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to make sure the method I was told would work – would actually work – and what didn’t. Along the way, bless us all, I’ve yet to meet the shooter who does not want his/her target to break. We took a vote. It’s unanimous. And, inquiring minds all want to know: which method broke that target? Right there my friends is the million-dollar question. However, there is another question we might want to consider answering first.
In our efforts to put more X’s on our score card, pre-shot routines and “the mental game” are both given our attention and rightfully so. But let’s back up a minute and look at the shooting method we’re supposed to be trusting. That comes first. Standing in the box with an obnoxious true pair in front and a scorekeeper behind us, we’re counting on our shooting method to break this pair. See the vote we took above. Gun coming up, some are hoping their method will work – while others already know theirs will – XX – right on schedule, predictably and dependably.
Where am I going with all this? Simple – when executed correctly, our shooting method has to work. Not sometimes – ALL the time. The method has to be: a) consistent; b) totally reliable; and c) repeatable. A), b) and c) are all non-negotiable. Why would you accept less from your favorite method?
IMHO, certain set-up and swing principles are required. Compromise one of those principles and the outcome typically disappoints. Period. Oh yeah – the target might break – but definitely not consistently. And that’s not speculation or opinion but proof substantiated by empty hulls up to our ankles and targets landing over yonder, unbroken, again and again. Set-up and swing errors create “random” gun movement (RGM), which puts O’s on a score card – always has, always will. The best methods minimize RGM.
Shooting method choices come to us on the clays course – in books – online – and in lessons. The choice you ultimately make – that’s the one you will be counting on in the shooting box. As you should be. This is the method you’ve tested and re-tested countless times for 100% dependability. Right?? Not 80% or 90% reliability – 100%. Because anything less than 100% leaves room for doubt as the gun is coming up. Whoa…time out! Doubts? This is the method you’re hoping will work?
“A method’s greatest ability is its dependability.
Don’t ever trust a shooting method
that makes promises it can’t keep.”
Here’s an analogy for you. I’ve had private and airline pilots come through my school. In our discussions about their early flight training, over and over again, I’ve heard these folks say they were taught, “When in doubt, trust your instruments.” Why? Because those instruments can be trusted. Standing in the shooting box, surrounded by tournament pressure and distractions, are you trusting your instruments? Can you? In other words, do you have ANY doubt about your shooting method? If yes – that’s a disaster waiting to happen. We either can trust our method to be dependable – or we can’t. Is it or is it not – as in now – with 2 shells in the gun and shooters waiting behind you? All this needs to be addressed – and settled – on the practice field long before tournament day. Risking an untested method on match day guarantees regret.
“The level of a shooter’s confidence in the tournament box –
will equal what did – or did not –
work in the practice box.”
Are there very specific shooting methods that meet the standard – this high level of reliability? Yes, there are. Older, well established, proven 2 trillion and 11 or 12 times, you can absolutely depend on these methods. Matched with the appropriate presentation – they will work – right now when you need them to. Execute the set-up and method correctly – at the right Break Point – X. Predictably. An X, already KNOWN mid-swing, before the trigger pull. XX XX XX on purpose.
I personally – and my Instructors – support adjusting a method slightly to better fit our student’s personal strengths and preferences – but, NEVER at the expense of dependability. You owe it to yourself, not only to find but TEST your method relentlessly – to make absolutely sure of its level of effectiveness. Whether you do this on your own – or are being taught the method – not only is it very fair and reasonable – you have every right to expect this method to work – on time – repeatedly and with 100% dependability. Accept no less from the method you are spending time and money to trust!
For those of us who compete, all of this is doubly important. Successfully, I have spent years refining and making absolutely sure Paragon methods do meet these standards. Our Instructors and students deserve and receive, nothing less than methods that fully and unconditionally meet those standards.
Always nice to see you here. Be safe and I hope to see you out on the course.
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Dan Schindler is one of only 60 worldwide members of the Guild of Shooting Instructors (UK) and is one of the most highly respected Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructors in the US. Dan is an NSCA Level III Instructor (since 1995) and founded the Paragon School of Sporting with one goal in mind. Whether it be for the advanced competitor or providing the basics to the entry-level shooter, Paragon provides the simplest, most practical and most effective Instruction, Coaching and Mental Training for the Sporting Clays & Wingshooting enthusiast. Dan Schindler helps shooters alleviate a lot of their frustration by taking the mystery out of breaking targets, calling their own misses, and make their own corrections. Lessons are fun, enlightening and our clients learn to shoot better in minutes!
Yes, Dan's books help you take the MYSTERY out of missing targets and help you quickly learn steps to shoot more CONSISTENTLY! Order Dan's 3 books NOW!
Newest Release...Take Your Best Shot (Book I), 3rd Edition is THE Gold Standard Primer...
and is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting. This book is used by high school and college shooting teams, recreational and competitive shooters from around the world. Solid, valuable, concise information that has helped thousands of shooters shoot more consistently with higher scores.
To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing.
Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels, filled with valuable information, clay target truths. Entertaining and a culmination of 3 decades of Dan's life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer, and much more.
Mark Engen, DVM These three books are a must-read for all clay target shooters. They are clear, concise, logical instructions on how to shoot clay targets and how to improve your scores. Taking a lesson from Dan would be very advantageous & help hasten the learning process. He has been my instructor for 15 years. With each lesson, I always come away amazed how much I have learned & how my scores improve. He also emphasizes how important it is to practice regularly & stay with his advice & recommendations to really learn new skills to improve your scores. He has helped me tremendously & I highly recommend him.
Don N Lisha Sante Got my three-book set. Read Take Your Best Shot (Book I) and can’t put book II down. Can’t wait to apply all I’ve learned tomorrow now that the rains gone.
Steve Powers I got my copy about a month ago. I’ve read it twice, cover to cover & reviewed the sequence of steps multiple times. Good Book.
Jim Butler I've read my copies twice now and it has absolutely picked up my game. Joined a sporting clays league this spring. Increased my top score by 7. Thought them to be expensive at first, but now find them extremely valuable now. Thank You !!!
Telford Scott Great book !! Simple steps with great results!!
Randall C. Burl Best investment a shooter could make!
David Parks Received mine yesterday and have one chapter left to read. Can’t wait to get to the range and practice the new techniques I have learned. Now I feel like I have a system to work with instead of shoot and hope.
"Called the number on their website, ( leary of ordering through Facebook posts) and Mr. Schlinder himself answered the phone. One of the most pleasant people I have ever talked to about anything. Whenever I get a chance to get down his way, I am going to get in touch with him to shoot. Got my books this weekend, read the first one and it reminded me of the basics. Just started on the second one, going to keep reading them over and over. The best reading you have for shooting clays.