While my squad is looking at the show birds, where should I stand? Why do the pro shooters all tend to point their arms at the targets?
During the show pair, if you are the first shooter at a particular station, the ideal spot for viewing the show pair is obvious. If you are this lucky first shooter, don’t forget that the rules entitle you to at least two pairs. If you are not the first shooter in the station, you should stand in a spot that provides you with the best visual perspective of the target presentation. Stand directly behind the first shooter or in a spot just off to the left or right side of the first shooter. Don’t be bashful about stepping off to the side of the stand to get the best view. Before the first person in your squad starts shooting, however, you will need to be positioned at least three feet behind the shooter.
Using the front hand to observe the targets prior to engaging a target pair is an important element of pre-shot planning and rehearsal. A shooter uses the lead hand to simulate the movement of the shotgun and test his or her engagement plan for the given target pair (the lead hand is the left hand for a right-handed shooter and the right hand for a left-handed shooter). This “testing” phase serves as a rehearsal or mental programming of the subconscious mind. By rehearsing prior to execution, the shooter is “loading the program” that he will activate when he calls “pull.” By the time he executes the shot pair, the shooter has essentially rehearsed the pair in his mind half a dozen times. Each time the shooter rehearses, he further solidifies “the feel” of the shot. When he finally executes the shot pair, he is simply running the program and letting the eyes, brain and nervous system kill the target according to plan.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.