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Discussion Starter #1
New young shooter who has difficulty understanding gun speed

any discussion or suggestions on describing and practicing for this part of trap

Biggest issue seems to be she runs through the target so fast that she gets to

far in front or above by the time she pulls the trigger

She likes the hard rights from 5 and hard lefts from one and it got me looking

at how fast she moves the muzzle
 

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Frank Hoppe helped me the most when he said "There is no place in this sport for momentum in the gun". It is a deliberate and controlled move to the target, and it begins with identifying the target. Maybe she is seeing a streak instead of the whole target, which could cause her to throw the gun at it.

Joe
 

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If she "is" seeing a streak, tell her to raise her eye hold. not gun hold, just look for the bird a foot higher than she normally does and it will appear slower and clearer. Say she looks just above the lid of the house, have her look higher, remember eye hold change, not gun hold. It can take the streak out of it, YMMV. Scott
 

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Mark, lots of new shooters have no idea at all how accurately you have to aim a shotgun to break a good score. They wildly swing the gun and break a few and think that all they have to do is repeat that until the scores come up.

But they won't come up; I've seen this too many times. They have to learn to control the gun. Not just throw it left or right and pull the trigger.

Tell here that. Then tell her again, And again.

Neil
 

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It's very difficult to slow down a shooter whose temperament is to react
and move the gun quickly. It's not necessarily a matter of shooting the "streak,"
she may being seeing the target clearly. Ideally, gun speed should match target
speed, or just a little faster. Too fast, and your margin of error increase
dramatically. Even very fast shooters, if they're good, shoot fast but don't move the gun any faster than it takes to get to target.
 

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The first two responses are right on point, and can be incorporated into the shooter's form without any equipment changes. Look for the target ten yards in front of the trap house. That eliminates chasing a "streak" at it's fastest speed, allows the shooter to determine the direction of the bird before any gun movement,and allows a smooth move to the target at whatever speed is comfortable to the shooter.

Suggest that after checking bead alignment that, the shooter takes a moment to slightly adjust their focus to a point over and above the trap house and then calls for the bird. The pause is not about calming one's self or reviewing points of form. It is about focusing your eyes at the distance your expecting to first see the bird.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
many thanks for sharing the knowledge

I think I will discuss with her where she is looking to pick up the bird

she does try to shoot them very quickly
 

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Neil,

I'm sure since you said it, you did mean "aim" instead of "point". An interesting reply, and I was ready to take the SAFE off my keyboard and refute the comment until I read it was from you.

Maybe this needs an entirely separate thread, and I'm certainly not trying to start a war.

Respectfully,

Jon Reitz
 

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Have her shoot a round without a shell in the gun. Tell her to move her eyes to the target and then when she has her eyes locked on the target, then and only then, to move the gun to the target. Dry firing will help her see that move. When I get out of "sync" this is what I do and it helps re-imprint the process in my mind and see exactly what mistakes I am making.

Good Luck.
 

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Jon, when a person is just starting out, "aim" has to be the right word. There's not yet any experience (people like to call it "the subconscious" for some reason) to help her place the muzzle in the right place so he or she just simply has to do it herself.

But likely, her understanding of "shotgun" is that the pattern is the broad side of a barn. That why a 13-yard patterning test/demonstration is so valuable.

1. It shows the student that the pattern, while bigger than a bullet, is still small and so has to be directed with some care. A wild swing and trigger-pull are not enough, though they sometimes work.

2. It tells you, the coach, whether the student has any idea what you are getting at. I have run into people who shoot poorly but not terribly who have never been told about putting the muzzle in some relation to a target. And have never figured it out, either. Really. Trap must be kind of easy - you can break more than about half not having a clue about anything. Really, you can.

Before they get some solid understanding about aiming the gun at something you can stand behind them forever and tell them where to look for the bird, to lower the muzzle or raise it, move in or out on the house, "don't chase the streak" and all that but effectively you might as well be speaking Swahili. There's no way for your advice to make contact with what's going on, what the real problem is.

That's why, after the pattern board, the student should be taken to a locked trap and put at about the ten yard-line to shoot locked straightaways until it sinks in. "When the bead is here and the bird is there, I get a hit and when it's not, I don't." That's learning to aim and if you want to call it "pointing" go ahead. I call it aiming to connect it to what we saw at the 13-yard pattern board which was aiming for sure. Remember, we stayed down there shooting at crosses, first off a rest then free-hand until I was satisfied that you had the most basic idea in your head, that the game was about getting the bead and the bird somewhere close. It may have happened the first few shots or it may have taken a box or two of 3/4 ounce slow loads, but we didn't even think of "shooting trap" until we had that nailed down for sure, That was the only way I could be sure you could understand a word of what I planned to tell you later.

You know what drives me nuts? Seeing a well-meaning parent/friend/or even "coach" take a brand new gun-holder and put him or her on a trapfield with a squad and let him or her sink or swim. I see kids with all the hope in the world hit next to nothing because they have no idea what to do and sadly deciding that trap is no fun and they have no talent for it anyway.

Aim? Of course. But you have to show how to and what to aim at. You do it step by step. After the 10 yard-line with a locked trap, go to the 16, keeping the trap locked. Break some. Keeping it locked, break some angles. And so on, eventually "shooting trap." That's the goal, but you don't throw someone off a cruise ship to teach him to swim.

Some students just breeze right though this, others take longer. But I've taken people who could not hit a thing and, finally, scored 50x50 though it was no walk in the park getting there.

And if, at the end, the student wants to call aiming "pointing" who's to object? After all, he can now shoot and so has earned the right to talk like a trapshooter.

Neil
 

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That was some excellent advice from Neil. Since no one has mentioned anything about eye dominance on this thread so far, I think the link shown above has a very informative article by Michael Yardley on this topic. I would hope that no one would force a new shooter especially a girl to have both eyes open without establishing the very important thing about eye dominance. As the author notes the majority of females and youngsters in general may not have consistent on shoulder eye dominance to allow shooting with both eyes open.
 

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Neil,

Good post, and conceptually I think we're on the same page. I whole-heartedly agree with the pattern board-to-locked-trap machine approach. The feedback they gave proves that. I'm careful to distinguish the difference between aiming vs. pointing. (Aim at a stationary target - rifle, and point a moving one - shotgun).

Jon Reitz
 

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Neil, you said: "Before they get some solid understanding about aiming the gun at something you can stand behind them forever and tell them where to look for the bird, to lower the muzzle or raise it, move in or out on the house, "don't chase the streak" and all that but effectively you might as well be speaking Swahili. There's no way for your advice to make contact with what's going on, what the real problem is."

So, how you teach them to "aim" the gun? If you answer I can comment the rest of your statement.
 

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I often have to remind myself, I'm trying to hit the target with a garbage can lid, not a .22
 

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Targetchip, ideally you would start to "teach them to aim" or better said "find out if they know how to aim" at the pattern board at 13 yards. *

Some, of course, already have the idea but some don't. You find out when (say) the first shot is high and left and you begin to wonder about the gun or its fit, but the second is off somewhere else and the third somewhere else again. You ask "Where did you direct that shot?" and the answer is "I don't know.. . ."

Those are the ones that need more time to get the idea of coordinating two things, the relationship between the bead and the bird and what muscle movement is required to get that relationship right. Remember, in contrast to the old days when it was largely boys who started shooting trap and many of them had some at least BB-gun experience, many starting shooters today are female with (probably) less experience with Red Riders and where's a city kid or young man or woman going to find stuff to shoot at anyway?

Past President Kaiser teaches shotgun coaches and has them do some shooting from the "wrong" side. He tells them "Remember, the brand-new shooter is holding something that feels as strange and awkward and unfamiliar to them as your gun does to you when you switch shoulders." The message is - and this is my version which I've not heard from Dave - "Don't assume anything. Don't assume that it any easier to do it right than wrong. Don't assume that some magic - and non-existent! - little man inside is going to switch on his inborn computer and unconsciously put the gun in the right place at the right time. All this has to be learned. It's not inborn. It's not natural. Yes you can point your finger at something so you have the basic mechanical equipment, but you still have to learn to use it."

Then the second stage, straightaways from the ten yard line shooting light, slow reloads or WW Featherlites ® , fades the student from aiming at something moving rather than stationary and demonstrates how small is the permitted margin of error. A somewhat more open choke is an advantage here, for a while at least, but isn't necessary. This the another aspect of aiming that has to be learned, namely that you have to do it accurately. Pointing north and pulling the trigger won't cut it in the long run.


The method is called "Successive Approximations to a Final Performance." You start out with the very basics and stick to them until the student shows he or she can do it. Then you fade in a variant which is more difficult but is based on what is already solidly in place. When that is mastered, go to the next phase and so, stepwise, to "shooting trap."

That's what I mean by aiming, Chip and I look forward to the rest of your comments.

* I have left out the other valuable thing about starting at the pattern board at 13 yards - you can spot bad guns and there are a lot of them. That's the first thing to fix (if it can be done at all.) Shooting below the point of aim is common enough and can be cured with Moleskin ® (not Molefoam ® - it's too soft and won't locate the student's cheek.). Far right or left happens and has to be dealt with. Just shooting way high is unfortunate, but can be helped by telling the student to "shoot under them." What else are you going to do? Keep telling them to shoot at them when that's going to send the shot way too high over and over again? In other words, it's your job, as coach, to _know_ what going on with the student's gun and so make the appropriate correctional remarks when they miss.

Of course, itinerant clinicians should do the same but there's not time which, I think, largely accounts for the generally minimal success they have in improving people's scores at trap. Many of their students have guns which are poorly matched to the task and no one knows it when the coach arrives, (or when he or she leaves.) I'm sure the instructor would like to have it otherwise, but you can spend a lot of time at the pattern board and what are the other students in the class going to do while you are fussing with Bob's virtually worthless new gun he paid so much for?

I think beginning instructional videos should include most of this and since in that case there's no time constraint, I think the ones making them are not doing all they should, not by a long shot.

Neil

Oh yes, one more thing. DON'T try to guide your student by "reading" target breaks for information about where the main part of the shot-cloud was. It doesn't work. It's a myth. Trying to do it just makes things worse. You should know that by now. Ron Baker and I have posted videos about it 'til we are blue in the face. In fact, you should have known it when you first asked yourself "How does the target know where the shot that doesn't hit it is?"

Yes, you can say "You were a bit off on that one" or "Dead-damn center! That's what we are after! Whatever you did that time, do it again!" Just don't say - don't even think, in fact - "That shot was to the left, the big pieces went right" or any of the rest of that total nonsense. You will just screw things up.

If you actually see the shot, as you sometimes can, you can and should say "You missed over that one" or "You were way ahead." But that's reading misses anyway, not breaks, isn't it?
 

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Very well said Neil. I am so weary of hearing "you aim a rifle, you point a shotgun", as if that is some magical clue to shooting good scores.

I agree with Neil, the bird/bead relationship is critical.

I will take it a step further. It is trendy among sporting clays shooters to remove the beads from their guns. Some of these shooters perform quite well, but I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that there is no bead on the gun. The good shooters know darn well where their muzzle is in relation to the target, bead or no bead.

No doubt, it is important to focus on the target, but not to the detriment of knowing exactly where the gun is.

And as far as "if the gun fits, it will shoot where you look"...that's another one I am weary of hearing...

bluedsteel
 

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Eye hold and adding wt are good suggestions. Saw another post which had a video in it with another nice tip. The hand holding the fore arm should support the gun, dont squeeze it, as it tends you make your gun swing more "jerky" and inconsistent.
 
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