Hitting Kill Spots
My break points tend to vary a bit. I usually break the targets in the same general area, but I tend to pull the trigger when everything feels and looks right. Is that okay? Shouldn’t I put more emphasis on focusing on the target rather than breaking the target in a certain place?
Commitment to break point is one of the essential requirements of consistency in sporting clays. If, at a particular sporting clays station, you break the first target of a pair in a different place each time, then you are shooting a different target each time. If your break points are inconsistent and random, the target will likely be at a different angle, different distance, different trajectory or possibly at a different speed when you pull the trigger. As such, you will need to change another aspect of your move to compensate for the different break point.
The key to consistency in sporting clays is to break all target pairs at a given station the same way and in the same place every time. Committing to your chosen break points starts with sound break point selection. Develop your plan for engaging the targets as you always do, ensuring that you landmark your break point. As you visualize the flight of the target, select a point along the flight line, just before the break point, at which you will apply acute focus to the target. Consistent timing of your focus is another essential element of consistency. Make sure that your interval of intense focus is relatively short (no more than 1 to 1.5 seconds) and that you can maintain sharp visual focus through the break point and shot execution. On targets with a longer flight time, timing your focus becomes an important factor in ensuring that your eyes don’t relax or “give up” on the target by the time it reaches the break point. “Dragging” the barrel past your break point or “riding the target” in an effort to measure and make the shot look perfect will weaken your commitment to break points and detract from your consistency.
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.