How do I decide which target to take first on a true pair?
For most true pairs, the question of which target to engage first is fairly straightforward. For others, the choice can be perplexing. When faced with a puzzling pair, I encourage my students to ask themselves these five questions during the pre-shot planning phase:
1.) Which sequence allows me to go from a lower break point to a higher break point? In going from a low break point to a higher break point, your eyes can go directly up to the second target after breaking the first target. If you have plenty of transition time between target 1 and target 2, then going from high to low might not be a problem, but the move from the higher to the lower target must be very intentional in order to avoid occluding the second target with the barrel.
2.) Which target do I see first? Since the most difficult aspect of a true pair can be transitioning from target 1 to target 2, time is sometimes critical. Quickly breaking the first visible target can buy you a bit of time for the second target.
3.) Which target gets uglier earlier? Typically, for any true pair, one of the two targets will be more difficult to break as the second target. If you can get this one out of the way first, it is more likely that you will run the station.
4.) Which target stays hittable the longest? If one target is visible longer and later than another target, the target with the longer window might be a good choice as the second target of a pair.
5.) Which sequence allows me to go from outside to inside? For a right-handed shooter, it is best to move from outside to inside (right to left) when moving from the first break point to the second break point because you don’t have to look over the barrel to find the second target.
This might sound like a lot of work, but proper planning outside the station will avoid misses while in the stand.