On a recent trip to Canada for the third year in a row, we really saw some improvement in the group of guys we coached for the past three years.
They, like so many shooters worldwide, are beginning to accept the concept that you cannot buy skill. Albeit driven by fear, wingshooters and clays shooters always want to get better, but they seem to fall into four different groups when it comes to just how they think they can get better the fastest.
There are those who think that if they just had more time and shot a lot more, then they would get better. There are those who think that if they would just go and buy the right gun, glasses, custom stock, faster ammo, chokes, etc. that they, too, would get better. Then there is the group who think that if they could just go shoot with and take a series of lessons with the current national champion, that they would get better quick.
At the end of all of those roads, it seems that all shooters who get really good end up on the same cull de sac, because they realize after trying to buy skill that skill is not something that can be purchased. It must be developed.
Those who think that if they just shot more will never get much better because a bad habit, regardless how good it feels, is still a bad habit. You can practice poor fundamentals a lot and you are only going to get so far.
We guess that a lot of the fun of doing something like shooting a shotgun is derived from doing it with the best equipment you can afford. But buying expensive equipment will not make you a better shot. It will get you a membership card in the “More money than brains and ability club.” And don’t forget the group that wants to learn the secret from the past world champion because there just has got to be a secret. Maybe a special formula that would allow you to figure the lead correctly on all shots out to, say, 60 yards regardless of angle and speed. There just has to be a secret that allowed that champion to be able to concentrate long and hard enough to out-shoot and outlast all the other shooters in the world at the competition.
If he would only share it with you, you wouldn’t tell, it would just be your little secret, yours and his. Well, even if he could do that, you think he would, at any price, give you the ability to beat him in the next championship?
The competitors we train who are at the top of the game do not want us to divulge their working with us because they don’t want any of their competitors to know who they go to for help and preparation!
What the champion and the great wingshooter have discovered is that it is not the arrow, it is the Indian and that skill is developed over a long period of time, constantly improving your fundamentals until you have done it enough that you can do it without thinking about it. Unfortunately, success comes before work only in the dictionary. Current research shows that to be world class at anything requires 10,000 hours of doing it, no short cuts.
We have discovered something that our research has proven to improve proficiency more quickly than anything else we have ever used in our 20 plus years as professional coaches. We have developed a series of animations that show where your eyes are when you mount the gun, which is the biggest mystery for most shooters. What we have discovered is that most shooters have been trying to get the gun in front of the bird a certain amount and not see the gun.
Now this concept on the surface seems to have some traction, but when we ask how do you visualize not seeing the gun, things begin to fall apart in a hurry. In order for the brain to carry out a task, it first must be able to visualize what it is.
We are finding that the clearer you are to the brain exactly what you are asking it to do, the quicker it will give you the desired result. When this happens your visualization then becomes your reality and then the picture in your brain is even clearer and that is when you get better quickly, given the time to practice.
In our next few columns, we will be sharing these animations with you and in this column we are going to talk about the left to right sight picture.
In the 2D animation from overhead, as the target emerges, the shooter’s eyes lock onto the target and the gun (green dot) begins to move away from the action. As the target reaches the 50-yard, line the gun has only moved a small amount, but because it moved the same direction as the target, it has already begun to make the target appear to slow down.
As the target approaches the 75-yard line, the gun mount is completed (the light saber connects the gun to the green dot) and the gun speed is adjusted to the same speed as the target and the shot is taken.
So with the gun ahead of the target on a left-to-right crosser for a right-handed shooter and the shooter’s eyes on the target, where is the shooter really looking? Both of the shooter’s eyes are looking behind the gun at the target, which in this instance would be to the left of the barrel.
To see this and other right-to-left animations as well as left-to-right kill shots on doves and clay targets, go to the OSP Knowledge Vault.— Gil and Vicki Ash