Why Are You Here?
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By Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor
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“If you think nobody ever remembers you…

try missing a few car payments.”

Speaking of remembering. The tournament was about 10 years ago, probably more. Late morning, we were all early, standing at our designated Station shaking hands. The tournament atmosphere was heavy, almost palpable.

Greetings over, I stepped back a few steps to gather my awareness, letting go of all that wouldn’t matter over the next few hours. My good friend and shooting companion that day, Bryan Brueck, walked over, solemnly handed me a folded piece of paper, went back to our cart and sat down.

From Bryan’s expression, I opened the paper slowly, already knowing the message held a purpose. He had my attention. The message read: “Why are you here?” Thanks Bryan, good on you. My answer stayed with me all the way to my last target. I scored high that day…with the same motivation that carried me to my best performances and scores over the decades.

In sports, music, business, and in life, I don’t think we can count up all the great performances, spurred to pinnacle heights by a deeply personal motivation. The quarterback who dedicated his record-setting performance to his father who passed away a few days before the Super Bowl. The older, 3-time Olympic athlete who’s about to make his/her final jump, throw or race…and walks away with a Gold medal. Then there’s the musician whose dream finally comes true, proudly stepping off the stage at Carnegie Hall. You can believe this…they all have 1 thing in common. Before the show starts…they know the answer to Bryan’s question.

There’s an endless universe of information available on the mental game. Trillions of words have been written and spoken. These tutorials list what to do…what not…when…where…how…why. When applied, the recommendations work.

Should we sit down and compare all those recommendations, we’ll discover a lot of common ground…logical parallels….repetition of the messages. Yet, in my humble opinion, there’s an underdog component that belongs on those lists…all too often underestimated or forgotten altogether. In these particular cases, it should be on the list…and isn’t.

Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

In many cases, distractions have a habit of upsetting the shooter. Expectations, trap break downs, noisy spectators, irregular targets, drowning rain, gun malfunctions…the whole enchilada. The solution? Maybe going back to one of those motivational books or speeches might help? Again, in my opinion, there’s something else…and that’s attitude! Before you even arrive on the shooting grounds…consider asking yourself, why will this performance be different? Why…why…is today important to YOU? THE reason. Not sure? OK…but, for those of us who compete, it’s like going to buy groceries with no money.

Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do…

but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does –

that makes you a winner right there.”

~ Venus Williams

The answer…your reason…this mindset should be prepared long before you step into the shooting box. Once in the box, this is why you are here…inspiring the performance you will “make happen.” Intentionally. When you are determined, distractions fade. When you are intensely, fiercely determined, distractions disappear. When that happens, you are standing at the door to the Zone…the entryway to the peak performance we all want and know we are capable of.

Properly assembled and executed, pre-shot routines have proven to be genuinely effective. They help “center our awareness” precisely where our focus and concentration should be…right before we call for the target. From a performance and score-card perspective, those routines are a high priority. They work. But, with all respect to their recognized value, a pre-shot routine is just one performance step…the one that stands behind true grit in importance. “Why are you here?” My answer will probably differ from yours. That’s OK…as long as we each know the answer.

"A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and

outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results."

Wade Boggs

Are you just here to compete today, hoping to meet some personal expectations, waiting for the targets to break…or are you breaking them on purpose? The difference is attitude…the deeper reason that keeps your determination uninterrupted…every shell…every target…first shot to last. A mental force that empowers you…the force that drives every thought, every decision, every swing. If you truly do want to find the best in yourself…your very best performance…you might want to answer Bryan’s question before stepping onto the competition course and into the shooting box. Find that answer…that reason…and you can raise your scores. Don’t leave home without an attitude. It’s a good thing.

Thanks for visiting…we’re always glad you come by. Be safe and I hope to see you out on the course.


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About Dan Schindler

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!  

Dan Schindler's Books

 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.

Here's a few Facebook comments on Dan Schindler's and Dan's Books:

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.




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