Books and Videos
What do you think of books and videos for learning how to shoot?
Books and DVDs definitely have their place in the learning process of a shooter. With that said, however, there is no substitute for time behind the gun, pulling the trigger and breaking targets. The great majority of people, and therefore shooters, learn best by “feeling” the movement of a shotgun and the shot, not by seeing, hearing or reading about it. As an instructor, if I can get you to understand what a particular gun movement feels like as you execute a shot on a target, it is much more powerful than trying to describe it to you or having you read what it feels like to execute the shot. Learning by “feeling” is called kinesthetic learning and is, for most people, the most effective means of learning a physical skill. That is why lessons by a competent coach remain the most powerful way to learn how to shoot well.
The second most effective way to learn is visualization or visual learning. This, I believe, is why DVDs and videos are so popular in our sport. If I have difficulty getting a student to “feel” a certain shot or gun movement, then getting the student to visualize the shot is a good alternative. I happen to think that for many shooters, especially visual learners, having an instructor demonstrate stance, a good gun mount or even an engagement method can be a very powerful means of communicating a shooting technique. Video analysis is a form of visual learning and another great way to learn. I frequently use video analysis during my lessons, primarily with my iPhone, to illustrate to a shooter a flaw in their stance or movement. Devices like the ShotKam can be a great self-assessment tool between lessons to evaluate your commitment to breakpoints and hold points and to observe the movement of your gun barrel as the shot is executed. For my recommended reading list, go to www.DonCurrie.com/readinglist.
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.