The Art of Shooting
Why is shooting badly such hard work? It feels awkward, clumsy and usually looks wrong, too. Worse still, the harder you try the more uncoordinated the whole thing becomes. Without doubt, bad shooting is sheer drudgery.
At the opposite end of the scale the best performers make shooting look simple, with no rush and no panic. Targets are hit quickly and convincingly, with an easy style and elegance few shooters ever achieve.
Shooting well: what’s the secret?
While there is no question that the written word is an invaluable learning aid when accumulating knowledge, it has limitations when applied to the learning of complex physical movements. We can never stand back and watch ourselves in action, and the most advanced video camera is of limited use when applied to a sport like clay target shooting.
Without the ability to have an overall view of what you are doing you have to depend entirely on feel for feedback. This is as reliable as driving in the dark without lights. For certain you will end up somewhere, but not necessarily where you intended.
Many people spend a small fortune (some not so small) on shooting every year, struggling to improve by themselves but often making little progress. Usually they are just practicing errors.
This is where the experienced and knowledgeable coach comes in. Able to observe and comment objectively, a good coach can save the shooter a lot of time, money and heartache by quickly identifying problems and then implementing corrections.
At the high end, say for the aspiring Olympic competitor, the coach is a vital part of that shooter’s support team. Along with coaching duties he provides personalised training routines, assists in meaningful goal setting, and generally progresses the shooter onwards and upwards.
The reason for bad shooting is mostly poor technique combined with poor practice. You may not be the most talented shooter but there is always room for improvement.
Take heed of the old adage: hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard! In other words, you will get out what you put in.
So where to start? I would always advise a struggling shooter or newcomer to take lessons from a good coach. There are a lot out there, many at the great shooting schools, but plenty of excellent unattached coaches too. You can find several hundred at www.apsi.co.uk and there are certain to be a number in your area.
So my advice? Seek out a good coach and invest in a course of lessons. These will cost less than several thousand cartridges being banged off to no avail, and if you’ve been struggling with your shooting you will almost certainly see an improvement. You may be thinking ‘Well, you would say that.’ I might but it is true nevertheless!
This is how you do it.