As we write this we are returning from Phoenix and what a great time was had by all at Ben Avery and if you ever find yourself in Phoenix in the wintertime make Ben Avery a stop on your journey and tell Dan Twitchell we said hey. Dan runs a first class operation and we had a ball shooting both of his courses and teaching 29 shooters, 11 of which came for two days, over a four-day period. Without exception, the ones who could afford it and came for two days were glad they did on the second day at about 10 am. What a dramatic turn around in their shooting and it seems that on the second day, everything just solidifies into a more solid technique and the shooters just begin to shoot with more feel and rhythm. We are beginning to use ShotKam shots in the morning sessions more and more and are getting dramatic results because shooters actually see what it really looks like before they hit the course. As Randy Lawrence of Sporting Clays Magazine said after seeing the Kill Shot Review in the shot simulator on the Knowledge Vault, “You have found the missing link to shotgunning! No longer will shooters have to hope to imagine what it really looks like because you can now show them the reality of that. They can also review over and over what it really looks like on their computer and dramatically improve their shooting without even going to the range. You have changed the way shooters will look at shotgunning and the way they will improve their performance on clays as well as live birds forever. Incredible and congratulations you two!”
We are seeing more and more Safari shooters beginning to come to us to improve their wingshooting and clay shooting techniques and we are glad to see it. At convention this past February we had so many members come up to us and say how much they looked forward to our articles each issue. We gotta tell you that this made us feel so good because we put so much into our articles in Safari magazine it is good to see the interest and that we are making a difference.
We continue to be amazed at the stories we hear about shooters trying to learn to improve by taking lessons from shooters who are great shots but have very little experience coaching. For some reason we had quite a few shooters in Phoenix who had been trying to learn from one particular pro shooter and in our morning session the topic of pulling away from the target came up. Before we could answer another shooter in the group volunteered some information that all found interesting. It seems that this particular pro shooter taught all of their students to mount quick on the target and pull away form the target and take the shot when it “feels right” because that is the way they shoot. Well another shooter in the group shared that they had actually shot with this shooter as well as others and when they were shooting for real they did not pull away at all, they were in front all the time and their muzzle speed was the same as the birds speed when they pulled the trigger.
Well where have we heard that before? This shooter went on to say that he had discovered a pattern in the pro shooters that he hung around with. Every time an article came out by Gil and Vicki, the pro shooters would use the exact phrases that they had talked about in their articles so he figured why not go the real sources to learn how to shoot.
Well we do agree that imitation is the greatest form of flattery and I guess we are flattered by this and even more by the conclusion that this shooter came to. We will share with you something that we have learned in our 20 plus years as professional shooting instructors, the older you get the worse you will shoot if you are trying to pull away from the target or swing through the target as you shoot. As we age we loose the ability to track one moving object in a field with other moving objects and these shooting methods emphasize more the tendency of your eyes to go to the fastest moving object in your field of vision. Couple that with the fact that muzzle awareness is the single greatest factor in all misses with a shot gun on clays or live birds and when you are pulling away from a target or swinging through the target to get ahead of it your eyes will go to the gun and nothing good happens after that. There is a perception out there that all the top shooters in sporting clays pull away from their targets, but we find this is not the case when they are shooting in competitions.
This group was not the only one that mentioned they had noticed the similarity of phrases in their local coaches teaching every month after our articles came out. Well we can’t do anything about that, but we surely can begin to mention it in our articles and if they want to use our phrases, then more power to them and we are glad that we are an influence on their teaching. We do feel compelled to tell you that most of the top shooters don’t pull away from their targets like they say they do. They start in front and stay in front just like we teach and they have incredible control of their muzzle speed and have all learned the value of moving the same speed of the target. Please understand that we are the only professional coaches who have shared with everyone our journey in coaching for free in this magazine as well as others and we will continue to do so to help you shoot better as well as help other coaches get better at coaching.
We had an unusual number of shooters this trip that wanted to shoot with us for two days and unfortunately we were not able to accommodate all of them. The benefits of the two-day format are evidentially catching on and we are seeing dramatic results from those who take the second day. The other dramatic advancement we see is in our Knowledge Vault shot simulator under sporting clays shots. We have assembled 38 ShotKam shots that can be watched by simply clicking the button once and the 10 minute loop of 38 targets shot at different angles and distances shows you really what it looks like as the shot develops and the target breaks. Shooters who are watching these shots over and over are experiencing dramatic results in their shooting! They are telling us that their ability to visualize the shot before they close the gun and call pull is so much easier just from watching the ShotKam shots over and over. We have talked in this column about how different peoples perceptions of what they see when they shoot a shotgun are anything but similar. Well when looking at the ShotKam shots over and over you not only get to see what it really looks like but you get to see the approach the gun makes to the target. Regardless of how you perceive visually all perceptions are now based on reality and man does learning accelerate when that happens.
Here is just one example, after a 2 ½ day course last December a student went duck hunting with a single barrel H&R 12 ga gun. Now during the course we played 3 different duck ShotKam shots over and over and over again and stressed the three bullet drill so the shooters could get used to the sight pictures and begin to see the bird behind the gun. When the first flock of teal came by the student mounted the gun and he said it was like he had already been there. Everything was happening in slow motion the birds lined up and he killed 2 birds in one shot and he said it was just like the video that he had watched. At the end of the hunt he had killed 5 birds with 4 shots and before the class he was admittedly a poor shot with a shot gun and he admitted that watching the shots over and over was a powerful tool in improving his proficiency in the field.—Gil & Vicki Ash