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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
 

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Brownings
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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
I am having problems due to a cataract forming in my right eye. Your issues do sound like eye problems, even at your age.
 

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Could be cross eye dominance or even your dominant eye has changed. I knew a high school shooter that had their dominant eye change from right to left. Same sort of shooting problems you describe and couldn’t figure out why.
 

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Keep practicing, that’s the best way to beat a slump. Make sure you have consistent gun mount. If you’ve grown a lot, and the gun is too short, that could be contributing to inconsistent mounting. So, maybe some spacers are needed. Most importantly, be confident and anticipate smoke balling every target you call for. Trying not to miss is the best way to drop one. Good luck and keep at it!
 

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You wouldn't happen to be diabetic, or borderline diabetic, would you? That can play hell with the eyesight , even at your age.
I coach high school shooters, and I find (especially with boys) they rush things, particularly mounting and calling pull when not ready.
Establish a pre-shot routine. Be sure your mount is the same every time. Once you plant your feet when taking a station, do not move them. Have a focusing phrase, and think it to yourself just before calling pull. That's for mental focusing. For physical focusing, mount the gun, be sure your sight picture (how the barrel appears in your sight as you focus on something other than the barrel.) allows you to pick up the bird easily.
Have someone who knows about it check your mount for any adjustments needed.
When my scores drop, I first concentrate on the basics, then tweak one thing at a time. Saturday I found out I shoot better when I keep my left eye partially open.
 

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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
If you figure it out, I’m in the same boat. I’m pretty sure with me that my eyesight is the challenge . But I can’t use that as an excuse. I shoot with a guy that has macular degeneration. He has blind spots in his field of view . The guy still shoots 23-24 everytime out.

Do you wear corrective lenses? Sometimes they can create a shift of the image and the target isn’t where your eyes are telling your brain. I switched to contacts and that helped. But I’ve hit another slump since .

The other question is , do you tend to miss more from A particular station?
 

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Sometimes in the past with new shooters that were having problems i would set the trap on stright aways and shoot from the 16 yard on post 3 until they were getting consistent breaks then move to post 4 then 5 and so on with the trap still throwing a stright away from post 3. Sometimes this can help you figure out things that you are doing different. And sometimes it's something as simple as your stance. The main thing is to not get frustrated. You will figure it out
 

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What squad am I on?
Lots of different guns...
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What does your coach think?
Rather than trying to figure out what you're doing wrong, focus on what you're doing right.
Here's what I do if I feel myself slipping into a rut...
Back to basics. Take a split second to ensure your stance isn't limiting range of motion on any given post.
Pick a definitive and repeatable soft focus spot before calling your target. Do this based on visual acuity as it relates to target trajectory. This will also help mitigate hold point necessity and increase consistency from one location to the next. Trap is a game of variable elimination, the more you eliminate, the better.
Watch at least the two targets prior to yours. Visualize the shot as if it were yours.
Be ready when you call your target. No skimping on this one, you must be ready or it's a loss, every time. Don't dilly around but let things settle into place so your eyes are ready to tell your brain what to do, hence the soft focus mentioned above.
Watch the break. This will help keep you in the gun through the shot vs some over exaggerated attempt at proper follow through that we all recognize when someone does it.
Let the loss go. It's gone. Can't get it back. Move on and smoke the next one all the harder.

And if all else fails, get a new gun 😁
 

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Most likely poor gun fit. You need to make some changes to adjust for your growth.
 

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Browning 725 trap combo
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When in doubt hit the patterning board. It will tell you if your gun fit has changed or most likely what else is to blame.
 

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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
The bolded part makes it sound like you are lifting your head. Make sure you are pulling the gun in tight and keep your face tight on the stock. Every shot.
 

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CLINIC with a PRO. Money for sure but they can find your problem and save you time and money.
By time I mean a year or two expirmentation on your own. They will pin point things like bad habits, bad gun fit, that you may have and need to correct. After that, they will help you with your mental game.
Money now.....well spent.
 

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When in doubt hit the patterning board. It will tell you if your gun fit has changed or most likely what else is to blame.
Patterning boards tend to cause more confusion than any other tool available and often lead to false conclusions. It needs to be used properly. I’ve seen bunches of top shooters that can’t hit a patterning board for their life, but take that same gun set up and run 100 straights. Target perception is something that a patterning board can’t account for.
 

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Listen to WadHopper, great advice. All I can add is are you moving the gun before you see the target whole and clear. Are you looking at the front of the target and are you watching the target break.
 

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What does your coach think?
Rather than trying to figure out what you're doing wrong, focus on what you're doing right.
Here's what I do if I feel myself slipping into a rut...
Back to basics. Take a split second to ensure your stance isn't limiting range of motion on any given post.
Pick a definitive and repeatable soft focus spot before calling your target. Do this based on visual acuity as it relates to target trajectory. This will also help mitigate hold point necessity and increase consistency from one location to the next. Trap is a game of variable elimination, the more you eliminate, the better.
Watch at least the two targets prior to yours. Visualize the shot as if it were yours.
Be ready when you call your target. No skimping on this one, you must be ready or it's a loss, every time. Don't dilly around but let things settle into place so your eyes are ready to tell your brain what to do, hence the soft focus mentioned above.
Watch the break. This will help keep you in the gun through the shot vs some over exaggerated attempt at proper follow through that we all recognize when someone does it.
Let the loss go. It's gone. Can't get it back. Move on and smoke the next one all the harder.

And if all else fails, get a new gun 😁
Well, you sure know about the last one. ;)

Great advice, all of it.
 

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Do you have thyroid problems? Some medical problems can cause issues that none of us would think would affect your shooting.
 

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Score your birds by how many pieces you break it into, this helps my concentration:

2 pieces = 1 point
3 pieces = 2
4 pieces = 3
5 pieces = 4
dusting = 5 (Max)
Missed bird = -10

Simple, not precise, but increases focus.

I have also shot to the right of folks who are having issues and tell them (threaten) I will take their bird if they miss it - Amazing how many more birds they hit because they concentrate more.
Mind drift is a big culprit.
 

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Do you have thyroid problems? Some medical problems can cause issues that none of us would think would affect your shooting.
Believe me thyroid problems can cause many many different issues and disguised as depression, fatigue, eyesight, all kinds of things even in young people. And if you have Hashimoto disease, your thyroid works some days and not some days. One of my daughters had that and was mis-diagnosed for several years starting in high school.

But check things like your dominant eye and gun fit. If you are left eye dominant and shooting right handed you would have to shoot one eyed, tape over a lens, switch to left handed, or something (quite common issue). Since you are growing, hopefully it is just gun fit.
 

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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
When I am seriously pressing for a good score. My shooting suffers to the point of I should have stayed home. When I am just out to have fun ? I generally have better scores. The bad scores don't hurt as bad and great scores have been known to sneak up on me. Shooting for fun also takes the grind out of trap shooting.

Al
 

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I’ve been shooting for about 4 years on a youth team and have gotten decent scores averaging 22-23’s but this year I can’t seem to shoot very well at all with an average of about 19. I’ve been missing birds every where from infront (mostly in front), behind and some I felt and seemed right on. All the birds that I do hit are turned into near dust balls. I don’t know whats going on. I just feel really inconsistent on my ability to break birds. Could it be swing? Bad fitting gun since I’ve grown? Bad gun mounting? Bad focusing?
It sounds like you need to develop your shooting style/system. Some major elements of your system are: Vision, Gun fit, Mount, Stance, Set-up, and swing/follow-through. These elements are interrelated and a change in one can affect another. Bad gun fit, or an inconsistent mount can cause issues in dominant eye crossover for example. I see people make drastic changes, perhaps unnecessarily, in one area to compensate for deficiencies in another rather than correcting the root cause.

I agree with Jim Porter when he recommends a clinic from a "Pro". I took a clinic from both Kay Ohye and Frank Hoppe and had a private lesson with Leo Harrison a few years later. I believe the fasted way to success is to mimic the style of one of the accomplished shooters and attempt to master it. When you are averaging in the mid to high 90's then you can make refinements as needed to get to your maximum potential.

If you cannot make it to a clinic in the near future you could get the video lessons from one of the top shooters and commit to mastering their style and recommendations.

I would recommend getting your shotgun fitted. If a custom stock is not in your budget then an adjustable comb and recoil pad is a starting place. You can use spacers and pitch spacers to adjust LOP and pitch.

Best of luck
 
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