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Best Handicap Article Yet

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by dbl20, Apr 9, 2008.

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  1. dbl20

    dbl20 TS Member

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    Quick Shots - Solving the handicap mystery
    By Frank Hoppe

    We should begin the rest of this handicap discussion by mentioning that there are some advantages to shooting handicap that we don't have when shooting singles. Since we stand farther from the trap in handicap, the distance from the muzzle of the gun to the target is also greater. That fact allows our pattern to open up a bit more, and that's an advantage. In addition, the greater distance allows our shot string to stretch out a bit more, and again, that's an advantage. The degree of angle on hard lefts from posts 5 and 1 is less than it is in singles. Another advantage.

    With all these advantages, sounds like we should be breaking more handicap than singles, right? Well, there is something else involved that may be the biggest factor of all. That additional distance we mentioned earlier results in something I refer to as the "Megaphone Effect." This means that any small mistake we might make results in a larger mistake by the time the shot gets out to where the target is. In other words, our mistakes are compounded by distance. The more distance we put between the shooter and the target, the more difficult the target becomes. Some of the mistakes made while shooting handicap are fundamental, but others are the result of mental errors. Since the target appears to be smaller when shooting handicap, it also appears to be getting away from us more quickly. Because of this, some shooters will get the impression that they need to shoot faster in order to compensate.

    Picking up the pace a bit is just fine, as long as it doesn't involve losing control or trying to get a head start on the target. When someone tries to shoot faster than he normally does, he may be shooting at a pace beyond his abilities, which will result in lost targets. Attempting to shoot faster, because the shooter thinks it is necessary, can lead to quicker gun movements, which often causes the shooter to lose control of the gun. In addition, shooters who are concerned with speed will have a tendency to move the gun before they actually see the target. If a shooter does this, he will often find himself making a recovery move to break the target, and this move is often made with a sense of urgency or panic. This doesn't create a good situation when it comes to breaking handicap targets. The shooter must see the target first, then make a controlled move to the target. Remember, the moves to handicap targets will be shorter moves than many moves in singles. If the shooter builds momentum with the gun as he makes his move, his gun will likely be out of control. If a shooter feels the need to pick up the pace a bit, it must not be so fast that it detracts from his ability to point the target. Speed is not the key. Control to the target is the key.

    The rest of the article deals with learning from our mistakes and honing the proper mental attitude. All good, but a bit like describing the elephant to a blind man. My concern here is GUN SPEED. When Mr. Hoppe speaks of a “controlled move” rather than a move which “builds momentum” I have to think he is referring to the classic “jerk” towards a target which has either surprised a shooter or been seen late. Pat Ireland recently shared a shooting tip given to him by his shooting coach that directs a shooter to begin slow and then accelerate through the target. I interpret this as the “Swing Through” shot, without the initial panic attack. Are Mr. Hoppe and Pat’s shooting coach at odds here? – Jon Sharp
     
  2. Bird30

    Bird30 TS Member

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    Jon; Did you ever watch Hoppe shoot? He is a slow deliberate shooter. He does not hurry his shots but does not hesitate to move his gun to the target.

    Dave
     
  3. dbl20

    dbl20 TS Member

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    Dave – Can’t say I’ve had the opportunity to study his style, but your observation does help explain his philosophy. Thanks – Jon Sharp
     
  4. hairy

    hairy TS Member

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    You're right piddy.
     
  5. tad houston

    tad houston TS Member

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    hairy,

    Are those 5 or 6 hole targets??
     
  6. Bird30

    Bird30 TS Member

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    MIA Did you notice on his DVD that his straightway, he stops his gun and shoots. That is the advantage of a high shooting gun. If you stop your gun it will still break the bird.

    Dave
     
  7. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Piddy, I'm really confused at what you posted. The only way that I can perceive the hard left from post one being a straight-away (assuming that I'm standing at the trap house) is if I am facing in the direction of the target path. I don't know too many people that shoot standing in that position.

    Let's put 2 shooters on post one: One at the 16 yard line and the other at the 27. Both are facing the trap house using the same exact stance. The particular angle of the triangle with which a shooter would be most concerned would be that angle which is closest to him, for that is the angle that dictates the amount of gun movement needed to swing to the target. In that instance, when you look at the diagram above, the angle from the 27 yard line is clearly more acute than is the one from the 16.
     
  8. canada

    canada Member

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    Target angles aren't the important part of this article. They also aren't what the thread is about. Regarless of whether there is more or less gun movement, bigger or smaller angles doesn't matter.

    What Frank wrote about gun speed is absolutely correct. You CAN NOT have an uncontrolled move in handicap or you will miss targets. Every little mistake you make does result in worse consequences the farther you move back. You can't move before you see it, and you CANT jerk the gun.

    Accelerating through the target isn't a slow, controlled move either. There is a "window of opporitunity" in trapshooting. That window is the area in which you can pull the trigger and break the target. The faster you move through this window, the more precise your trigger pull timing has to be. If you accelerate your swing along the plane of the target until you catch up (because you aren't moving before you see the target, it is necessary to accelerate to it), then slow down to the speed of the target, then you have a way bigger time frame in which you can pull the trigger and hit the target. Call it a sustained lead if you like. It is far more controlled, and will result in more targets.

    Frank knows what he is talking about.

    Pat Lamont
     
  9. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Incidentally, studying the diagram above shows why I've always believed a 3-hole target doesn't really affect 27 yard shooters all that much.


    First, remember: the difference between 2 and 3-hole only manifests itself on birds that are at or near the limits of "trap travel." So you're not making all the birds harder; you're lucky if you're making even one in five harder.


    Now my point: the 27 yarders have less gun movement, as everyone has adequately explored above. Changing to 3-hole affects them _less_ than anyone. Back there, you have much less gun movement, and you just shoot in front of the damn thing (whatever "front" looks like to you, depending on your gun speed). Frankly, it's hard to even see the difference. You still have to do the same thing to succeed.


    But the guy at 23 is going to feel the difference. And that's who we're supposedly trying to help in the first place.
     
  10. recurvyarcher

    recurvyarcher Well-Known Member

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    Piddy, I now understand what you are saying, but how do you know which angle Frank is talking about in his article? I have always assumed it was the angle nearest the shooter when this subject was discussed.
     
  11. dward

    dward Member

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    I think the talk of angles is confusing. The angle the target travels related to the shooter is the same at singles and handicap. The amount of "gun swing" angle is more at singles and less at handicap.

    In my opinion there are two elements of handicap that make it more difficult, and I'd break them down to the 1) physical (target and gun movement related to the shooter)and 2) mental (seeing the target and our perception of how to get to it)

    As far as the physical goes Piddy makes a good point, in that standing a yard away from the house on the station 1 or 5 line turns the wide angle target into a straight away very quickly. But if you point your gun at your usual hold point, the amount of angular swing to get to the target is probably twice what it is from the 16 yard line. In short the closer we get to the house the sooner the target will get to a point where there is very little gun movement to track it when it is in the "hitting" zone. When shooting 16s there is so much gun movement getting to the target, that by the time we get to it, we can about stop our gun and still hit it. This is because the amount of gun movement required to "track" it is slowing down rapidly.

    When shooting 27 yard handicap the amount of gun movement required to get to the target decreases, but the target isn't anywhere near getting to where our gun has slowed down appreciably relative to the entire swing. Thus if we track the target in the hancicap hitting zone there is more perceived gun movement, in that "window", as compared to 16s. This is why in long yardage handicap it's commonly said that there is no way you can stop your gun and still hit the target, but you sometimes can get away with it at 16s.

    Pat Lamont makes an excellent point above, and it's my opinion that the "window of opportunity" he describes is easier to manage in singles than it is in handicap. But for me if I try to "manage" my shooting while in that window it doesn't work. I believe it takes many thousands of rounds and a tremendous amount of successful experience to get to that level.

    As to the mental, the target is harder to focus on the farther away it gets. So if one doesn't focus sharply on the target, its easier at long yardage to see both the barrel and target in the same picture and inadvertantly shoot with peripheral vision. At 16s the target gets more "out of the picture" and forces more eye/gun separation than at handicap.

    My 2 cents - Big Dan
     
  12. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    The angle of the bird, in relation to the trap house remains constant. The angle of the bird flight path, in relation to shooting position, decreases as one moves back.

    buzz-gun- One important thing you omitted is that with three hole targets, the throwing arm travels a greater distance and this decreases the probability of a straight away target and increases the probability of an angled target.

    Pat Ireland
     
  13. canada

    canada Member

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    dward

    i agree, it is very very hard to consciously do. if i try to do it, i shoot behind the birds. the thing about it is it is only for a split second, but that is enough.

    if i find myself starting to shoot fast i can't tell myself to slow down. i have to consciously "get a better look at the target". if i look it it for just a split second extra in the air, it slows the end of my move down.

    Pat
     
  14. dbl20

    dbl20 TS Member

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    Canada/Pat –
    Remember that a target is constantly scrubbing off speed from the moment it leaves a trap arm. From a speed gun max of 42 mph on down to say 5 to 10 mph just before impact 50 yards away. This means any attempt to shoot hard angles with “Maintained Lead” would require a measured reduction in gun speed after passing the target. From Dave’s observation of Mr. Hoppe’s style I have to think that his controlled move is taking advantage of a slowing bird nearing the top of its arc. He then spreads his longer shot string over a target arc’s flat or sweet spot.

    Pat’s coach probably takes his target a little sooner with an increasing swing rate. Although his target is closer, his accelerating swing may allow a comparable shot string spread. Both styles would require trigger pull as the muzzle passes through the target and rely on shot string spread to cover their chosen target arc area. Neither Mr. Hoppe or Pat’s shooting coach seemed to recommend slowing their swing prior to pulling the trigger. I’m probably too slow for coach’s style, but Frank’s approach may offer some Hoppe. – Jon Sharp
     
  15. canada

    canada Member

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    dbl20, well i'm not saying you can track it forever or course. I'm saying you should have slower gun movement once you reach this window, and can pull the trigger when it looks right.

    but by what you said about target flight, slowing down your move makes sense. the target is moving fast when it leaves the trap, flies past your gun, your eyes catch it, gun follows your eyes. to catch the target you will need to accelerate, but as you get close to the target, which is slowing down, you would need to slow your movement down in order to not swing past the target right? if you dont, your trigger timing has to be so precise.

    the window of opporitunity i speak of is more of a theoretical practice. of course you can't follow a target forever, well i can't at least, without some fundamental break down. the quicker you swing through this though, the more your success depends on timing.

    Pat Lamont
     
  16. jbbor

    jbbor Active Member

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    I've been going about this all wrong. If there is less gun movement and less angle at 27, that means it is easier from there. That means we couldn't miss from, say, the 32. My scores should start improving with this new enlightenment. Jimmy Borum
     
  17. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Jimmy, me too. That "window" closes in milliseconds.
     
  18. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Pat,


    Whether a target is considered a "straightaway" or not depends on where you're standing. To paraphrase Kenny Chesney, every target is a straightaway from "somewhere."


    So, taking your statement about arm travel at face value (and assuming you're not referring to "curl" or other such phenomena), then the situation you describe doesn't really decrease the possibility of a straightaway. It might just become a straightaway from somewhere else.


    Looking at it this way...the 2-hole bird theoretically ensures that nobody gets a 16-yard straightaway from Posts 1 or 5.


    (It's sorta moot, anyway, since the location of your gun point really determines the amount of gun movement required to hit a straightaway...and that's probably more significant than the amount of lead required anyhoo).
     
  19. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Jimmy Borum,


    Nobody that I'm aware of ever said that distance doesn't increase difficulty.


    ...Nice try, but you're not getting by with that sort of lazy reasoning here.
     
  20. Hauser

    Hauser Member

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    buzz-gun


    Even though a 27 yard shooter has to move his/her gun less than a shorter yardage shooter they still have to move the gun more when shooting a hard angle 3-hole target than a hard angle 2-hole target don't they???




    Regards

    Jerry Hauser
     
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