Watching Other Shooters
Recently, we shot a one-day registered skeet shoot, just the 12 and 20 gauges. Four of the kids we teach through the SCTP were also shooting the competition, one of them on our squad. The rest of our squad was made up of experienced skeet shooters. One of the shooters, our squad leader, had a very unorthodox style. He had shot for many years and developed a method of hitting a significant number of targets with this style of shooting. His first two rounds were solid, but his last two rounds were significantly worse. While his method of shooting worked for him, I was worried that the SCTP kids would see his unique style as ‘cool’ and would try to emulate him.
I’ve always told young or new shooters to go to registered shoots, and even if they can’t shoot, they’ll learn a lot by watching the shooters that are getting ‘the scores’ that put them in the shoot-offs. I’ve tried to caveat that instruction by getting them to understand that there are some relatively good shooters that hit targets in spite of themselves. I tell these young and inexperienced shooters to watch the shooters that appear to be using the methods we’re trying to teach them–shooters that don’t rush their shots; shooters that follow through; shooters that use proactive hold points; and shooters that stay in the gun after they have taken each shot.
Another event had a very experienced shooter missing at station 7. He threw his shells down as hard as he could. This is a temper tantrum, but the kids see it as a normal reaction and believe it’s what good shooters do when they miss. We go out of our way to make sure the kids understand this is NOT normal and is considered bad form.
You can learn a lot if you watch better shooters, and it will usually, in some way, help your game, while watching shooters with unorthodox shooting styles can hurt your game, especially if their style ‘looks cool.’
Shoot well, shoot often and stay safe.
Barry Hartmann is an NSSA Master Level and NRA Certified shotgun instructor who can help you improve your skills at American Skeet and wingshooting. To contact Barry, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call at (918)803-2393.