Drive-By Shooting
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By Daniel Schindler, Paragon Master Sporting Clays and WIngshooting Instructor
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  “Learning the art of the swing is the difference between X0X00XX0 and XXXXXXXX.”

A drive-by shooting looks like this: X00XX0. And yet, many are still trying to break the target.

Please consider: once the shot string leaves our muzzle by 1/1,000th of an inch, how much control do we have over that shot string now? Actually, none. Zero. The one and only thing we have any control over is the movement of our gun and the timing of the trigger pull. What we are doing with that movement – and that moment – will decide X or 0. Because ours is a game of precision. And that non-negotiable precision rests squarely in our hands – inside the shooting box – which is where our attention should be, but, unfortunately, too often isn’t.

Maybe you’ve heard this before? You’re not trying hard enough. You’re not looking at the bird hard enough. Don’t think, just shoot. Just relax and trust yourself. And when you do these things, you’re told something magical will happen. Right? And, who knows, maybe it will – X. Here’s the deal. Will that happen again? Consistently? Dependably? As we all know, the Truth is, no it won’t. X00X0X.

Another Truth is, missing is no fun. Which leads many to trying harder to break the target. Please see paragraph 2 above. While completely understandable, “that” trying to control what we can’t control is going in the opposite direction of dependably adding more X’s, so it won’t raise shooter skills either.

So, what is the right direction?

Let’s get blaming our equipment out of the way, because every gun, shell and choke out there can break targets, consistently and dependably. Contrary to a popular belief, that Truth has been proven a trillion times. XXXXXXXX precision rests solely in our capable hands and is not dependent on equipment.  

OK, gear assembled, we’ve got the science part of the X formula under control. Which is a very good thing, but, won’t help us much if we don’t learn the “art.” The art is the skills part. Learning the art – where control will be up to us – is the difference between X0X00X and XXXXXXXX.

Which is why – instead of trying to break targets and trying to score well – putting our attention on what we can control always comes first. This is the beneficial, productive process of adding improvements to our game. This process is called Kaizen. Google is your friend. Here we are adding 1 improvement to the next improvement and so on. Step by step, this process builds a set-up and swing that promises – and yields – better performances and higher scores. The art of XXXXXX. Yeah, the process is slower, like push-ups and sit-ups to get stronger. But this we can absolutely count on – adding up those improvement steps – the cumulative effect of those improvements – will be real. Our scores will go up because our performances – which we can control – will go up.

Folks, none of this is theory or speculation. There is no “hope” involved here. Elite athletes in every sport – musician’s, artists and business people around the world – have all been using this successful process for a very, very long time because it works.

Each step – each improvement - adds 1 more X. Not an accidental X either. An X we can repeat ON PURPOSE. Then add 1 more improvement which adds 1 more X. An X we can count on. Reliably. Consistently. Take a moment and think about the cumulative process of adding X’s to a scorecard 1 at a time – intentionally – dependably.

Endlessly trying to break the target only repeats and reinforces our swing errors – adding no improvements – guaranteeing that we keep the same skills and scores we currently have. Where will improvement ever come from? X00X00X – or XXXXXX – breaking targets accidentally or on purpose will depend on 1) priority one: learning the correct steps – 2) learning HOW to execute those steps in the shooting box (the art) – and 3) making the commitment to keep our attention in the box, focused on our steps (which we can control).

These improvements are available to anyone who decides to learn the steps and the art. It’s when we move our attention away from “trying to break the target” and over to deliberately building a better, more consistent, more dependable, more precise set-up and swing, that XXXXXXXX can become a reality.

“The sound comes from the instrument…

but the music comes from the musician.”

Thanks for joining me here. 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!

New 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' life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer and much more.


"As a successful youth clay target Coach and competitor, I assure you, the shooting fundamentals are vital, the absolutely necessary foundation under developing consistency and improving performances every time the trigger is pulled.
Take Your Best Shot is the greatest publication ever written on how to increase X’s on a scorecard and put more game birds in a hunting vest. In plain language, Take Your Best Shot teaches the essential, non-negotiable basics for building shooting excellence. It should be a required text for every clay target shooter, Wingshooter, Coach, Instructor and parent of a youth shooter who is looking for a step-by-step shooting “system” that is easy to understand, repeatable and utterly dependable. Take Your Best Shot is not only the best but the only book that provides this knowledge. Seriously – Take Your Best Shot is a must have for every shotgunner."

Jeff Allen, Head Coach Carolina Clays
Paragon School of Sporting Professional Instructor
NSCA Level II Instructor
NSSA Skeet Instructor
NC State Scholastic Clay Target Program Advisor & Coach NC State Scholastic Clay Target Program Trap Director

"Take Your Best Shot is the best clay and wingshooting shooting primer on the market that I have ever seen. The brilliance of its simplicity aids in getting across the correct messages for successful shooting for ANY clay/wingshooting shooter, let alone a new shooter. As a master instructor, founder/Head Coach of the Jacksonville University Varsity Shooting Team (a national championship program), and JU faculty member, Take Your Best Shot is standard reading for ALL of our varsity shooters. Dan has managed to capture the basics beautifully, and he has placed them in an easy, simple-to-follow, witty presentation. My students love the book and read it time and again. Highly recommend, no matter what your level of shooting experience and expertise.”

David T. Dobson, M.B.A.,

Paragon Master Instructor

NSCA Instructor, Level III

NSSA Instructor, Level III


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Cheryl Schindler - Hi Julian,
Thank you for contacting us!
We may have availability on April 26 or 27. We need to know more about you, your shooting and your goals. Please email your contact info/phone number and Dan will give you a call or call us at (828) 693-6600.

Thank you,

Julian Richards - Got a clinic or instruction available Easter weekend?