I wouldn’t exactly call it a slump, but clearly my sporting clays performance felt like it was undergoing a creeping atrophy of body and mind. Focus and concentration required digging deeper and deeper into myself, casting adrift my inner instinctive shot like an untethered astronaut floating off into space. Finally, I simply had to accept the inevitable: go ahead and just take lessons again.
Warning: Never use steel shot on a pattern plate; and, as always, eye and ear protection are essential. Lead shot flattens when it makes contact with the pattern plate and most of the time falls harmlessly to the ground following impact.
Over the years the sporting clays game has evolved from just targets thrown fast and far to an enticing mix of speeds, angles and distances. In the early years, throwing clays fast and at distance was a great way to challenge the best shooters, but doing so took the wind out of the sails of those new to the game.
Henry Hopking’s secret weapon to boosting your clays scores is his brilliant high-tech “Brain Cap.”
Actually, it’s a miniaturized electroencephalography (EEG) recorder, about the size of a .410 shotgun shell, that clips to the side of a ball cap. Along with sensors inside the cap band, it noninvasively charts the voltage fluctuations of your brain and sends the real-time images via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android app. The catch is that it’s not available for sale without prior training by Mr. Hopking in his “Brain Training Company” program called “Get the Mental Edge.”
I remember vividly the first day I shot helice. I was at the Dallas Gun Club, training for an International Trap World Championship selection match when I heard some guys on the next field yelling, laughing, and making fun of each other between shots. It didn’t take long for me to get distracted, so between rounds, I wandered over to see what was going on. And by “wandered over,” I mean I finally stopped ignoring the grown men yelling, “Hey, girl, if you think THAT game is fun, come over here and shoot this one!”
Dave Miller, CZ-USA’s shotgun product manager and sporting clays master class shooter from Grain Valley, Missouri, set out to do what no man has done before − to shoot 3,000 sporting clay targets broken in one hour.
Imagine shooting a clay target every 1.2 seconds with a goal of shattering more than 3,000 within 60 minutes and suddenly you’re in Dave Miller’s boots as he attempts to set a new high in the Guinness Book of World Records.
A sporting clays training session that drew top instructors to South Carolina in mid-June could change how the sport is taught to the majority of shooters using the new “Coordinated Shooting Method.”
The idea of Touch-and-Go actually has its roots in aviation. New pilots use it to learn how to land and take off again. You come down for a landing, touch the runway with your wheels, and then push the throttle forward to take off again.
What does Touch-and-Go have to do with consistently breaking targets in sporting clays? It has to do with how you approach the target, touch it, and then pull ahead for the proper forward allowance — or lead as most people call it.
After months of anticipation the Nad Al Sheba Sporting Championship in Dubai set new high standards for a sporting clays tournament with an inaugural event that attracted more than 550 shooters from all four points of the compass. A total prize fund of $735,000 made it the richest clays shoot ever staged with cash paid out to 50th in the Men’s Division and 30th in Ladie’s, which provided plenty of motivation.
Sporting clays is often described as golf with shotguns and now the new Professional Sporting Clays Association intends to commercialize that depiction with five national broadcasts on NBC Sports beginning April.
You’d think that Jack Bart is merely standing on Post 1 of a trap field, high-rib shotgun mounted, ready to call pull. In some circles, though, the 30-year veteran, clays-shooting instructor is straddling a so-called “chasm” that separates early adopters of new technology from a more pragmatic community of “wait-and-see” skeptics.
How many times has this happened to you?
After a successful sporting-clays lesson, the very next time you shoot with friends, step into the station supremely confident, drop two shells into your shotgun, exercise your pre-shot routine and call pull, everything you’ve learned during that hard-earned, one-hour session has gone out the window as you watch the target continue its trajectory unmolested — a scenario that repeats itself over and over during a day of intensifying frustration.
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