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So recently I participated in Trap Shoot tournament for the Cancer Challenge(a local organization) I'm 17 and completely new to trap shooting. We had a practice the day before, where I felt pretty good, but the next day it all went downhill. I hit 10 targets of 100. I was pretty down about this. My problems were basically just aiming, tracking the clay, and the wind(which was not present the day before). I really enjoyed it. So what would be some ways to get this fixed. My stepdad is getting us a membership with the club, so I will be able to shoot more.
 

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Sounds like “aiming “ is the problem. You don’t “aim” a shotgun...you “point” it. If you aim, you look at the bead and essentially stop your swing.... thus missing your target.
A couple hours of professional instruction would be your best bet.
Lacking that, Spend some time on YouTube.
 

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Quit now while you are ahead. If only Id' have quit at 17 instead of 23.......but then I picked it back up at 54!

Seriously, What gun were you using? Choke? Shells? Eye dominance? I will assume 16 yards if it was your first time.
So here's the basic advice: Find the best shooter at the club. (watch the league shoots and look at the stats, it'll be obvious who shoots well) Introduce yourself, tell them you're new to Trapshooting, and ask if they would watch you shoot a round and offer some tips. as mikkeeh said, you don't aim a shotgun at moving targets, you point it. If you can visualize what is happening when a clay pigeon is hit, you will understand. The shot is coming out in a cloud (some prefer the term string) it is about 30 inches in diameter at 40 yards the long end of when most people hit them. That cloud should intercept the clay pigeon when the clay is in the middle of the cloud. To do this, your mind and body work together, the more subconsciously the better, to point the shotgun where it needs to be when you pull the trigger.

Watch this up until at least 18:00, a bit longer if you're left handed:


It's old, but the basics are still the same.

This guy, if you can decipher his accent is also good to watch:


He does Sporting Clays, Skeet, International, etc. also, but his Trap videos are very good.
 

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Practice, practice, practice. If possible, get some time at your club and just stick at one spot until you can repeatedly hit the clay in all patterns, and then move onto the next spot. When I first started, I used to shoot 50-75 from a spot before I moved on to the next spot. That way you narrow down the changes. You can even set most machines to only throw one pattern (e.g. straight-aways) until you can hit it all the time. Again, narrow down changes until you're confident.

Also, the accepted practice is two-eyes-open-pointing, but there are a LOT of us one-eyed-aimers out there that do pretty well. If that is your style, find somebody else who shoots that way and get advice from them. That's how I have to shoot, and I've run a 25-straight in the past. It is possible. The key, again, is practice, practice, practice....
 

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See if your club offers shooting classes. If you ask around you will get help. If you can take a professional class like Nora Ross. You need to learn the basics to get better. Keep trying and don't worry about your score. Concentrate on the next target. Have fun too.
 

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Gray59
If you are shooting a field (hunting) gun you will need to bring the barrel of the gun higher on the bird than a dedicated trap gun . When I started a few years ago , I was shooting my Red Label, I basically had to cover the bird to break it.
Dont get discouraged, most clubs are happy to help beginning shooters.
 

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The best thing you can do, after you learn to point the gun, rather than aiming, is free. Won't cost you one red cent. Go to the biggest shoot near you. Stand around and watch the score board. See who is shooting the best scores. Keep your eye on them till they take the line again. When they begin shooting, take a position behind, to the side or whatever, to watch every move they make. From their feet to the cap, remember it all. Try it all. If it works for you, great. If not, get pointers from watching another good shooter.
When you watch a shooter for 25 targets, you should be able to copy his every move, making a large percentage of them work for you. Try it, you may like it, and it is free.
 

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Gray59, first of all, Welcome to the forum. There are lots of opinions and advice here, take it all in and figure what works for you. Like Dustydoo said if you are shooting a field gun, you will have to cover the bird. (I used a Red Label for awhile too). If you are a right hand shooter, your right eye will be your "rear sight" then keep your eye on the bird and pull the trigger! If your Dad knows a local instructor, maybe you can get a few lessons to get you going. Stick with it and have fun!
 

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I continue to market my late husband's instructional videos.
Google Leo Harrison III and you will understand why many consider him to be one of the best ever in the sport.
His singles DVD is much like taking a clinic/class. He tells you and demonstrates all the fundamentals of trap.
You can email me at
[email protected]
if you gave questions.
Good luck.
 

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Like you, I was brand new to trapshooting about 6-7 months ago. I still have a long way to go, but I will tell you the three things that helped me most:

1. This forum. There are some very talented shooters on this forum who are pretty generous with advice. And this can be a great resource when you have a question and are not sure where else to look for an answer.

2. Videos. There are a couple of youtube videos that I found helpful. The D. Lee Braun video is pretty old, but a classic and very helpful. Also a video entitled "Hunt the Racket (sp?)" which uses a shot cam and is helpful figuring out what leads you need for hard left and hard right targets. Finally, I bought the Leo Harrison video and feel it was money well spent. Watching these videos over and over will teach you the fundamentals you need to be a good shooter.

3. Just shoot. There is no substitute for practice - particularly if you practice with purpose.

Finally, relax and have fun. Everyone has good days and bad days, particularly when you just start out. And your progress will probably not be linear. You may show steady improvement for a couple of weeks, and then your scores will either plateau or actually decline for a month. Stay with it and don't get frustrated. You're only 17, so you have the next 60+ years to figure this sport out.:)
 

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The best thing you can do, after you learn to point the gun, rather than aiming, is free. Won't cost you one red cent. Go to the biggest shoot near you. Stand around and watch the score board. See who is shooting the best scores. Keep your eye on them till they take the line again. When they begin shooting, take a position behind, to the side or whatever, to watch every move they make. From their feet to the cap, remember it all. Try it all. If it works for you, great. If not, get pointers from watching another good shooter.
When you watch a shooter for 25 targets, you should be able to copy his every move, making a large percentage of them work for you. Try it, you may like it, and it is free.
I do this every shoot . If I have time before,between or after.
Some one told me one time.
If I want to doing something well watch those that do it well and do what they do”
 

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You are on the right track. I just started shooting trap a little over a year ago myself. One of the first things I did was to join a club. The second was to take a couple lessons. There is no better way to learn how to point vs aim than having a good instructor work through it with you. Build good fundamentals and practice at your club. There are much better shooters than myself here, but this is what has worked for me. Most of all remember to have fun.
 

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Hitting 10 out of 100, it is clear that you have no idea where to hold to break birds.
Shoot a bunch of clay birds on a machine set to throw straightaway birds. When you can break them pretty consistently you are ready to move on.
When you establish where to hold, you can start to work on hard right and hard left targets again.
 

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I agree with Entropy, whatcha few vids, ask someone at the club to watch you to see what they can.
Get the fundamentals down, and everything should start to fall in place.
Most importantly....don’t get upset if one person tells you something different than the last, as long as their both trying to get you to the same point.
It’s all about YOUR sweet spot, not how someone else likes to shoot.
 
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