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Coach's Corner Lesson 1

Click here for Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Coach's Corner

Sunday Trap Philosophy:

Since the inception of the Sunday Trap League (STL) by Chuck Weatherington I personally have enjoyed watching an idea develop to provide a fun shooting environment that does not exclude anyone, unless they do not enjoy having fun.  With that premises, Ken Cheney, our first President began to invite anyone to come join in the fun, rent or borrow a gun and you were fully qualified to become a member of the STL.  The only Rules for the shooters: 1-Be SAFE; 2- Have FUN!   This philosophy has found a home at the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds with the support coming from Luke Deshotels and his staff going out of their way to make each Sunday a fun day to shoot Trap. Just now entering our second growth phase the STL is welcoming new members weekly and has more families and ladies participating each week; however winter has cost  the ST L some of our afternoon tailgating activities and a few wonderful friends who needed a break from the weather or to meet obligations that business and family demand. The very positive side for the STL are the new faces each week and the enjoyment of learning the art of shooting Trap in weather that Winnie the Pooh would call "blustery!" 

How to Evaluate:

In the spirit of assisting others to learn the skills of Trap shooting I have taken some very basic ideas that are fundamental to shooting shotguns and attempted to communicate each idea in a manner that will apply to anyone.  Such a gross over statement would suggest that the "one size fits all" is the way to go; however in my professional life, the complexity of the person seldom allows such simplistic answers and athletic endeavors are very complex.  Thus, one of the cautions that will appear more than once:  Every technique may not work for you; you may have to invest in an Instructor to assist in helping you modify your current style to adapt a technique to work for you. The test that you should always apply is "Does this (item, technique, etc.) give me more gun control?"   If it does not provide more control for the intended purpose, the n it m ay not be for you, at your current level of shooting.  Thus, it can be filed away until you deem their to be a sufficient reason to see if it deserves another try.

Lesson ONE:

Since this sport is a EYE-HAND coordination game I will cover the most fundamental problem in all shotgun shooting.  You can not shoot any better than you can see!  This statement has many different ways to be applied to shooting; however for brevity this review has the primary focus (pun intended) of what must be mastered to shoot shotguns.  I have a 100% proof positive test of the validity of this test that you can conduct for yourself, simply try to shoot with your eyes closed!  This is first and foremost a visually controlled sport your total concentration must be to visually lock on the target, all else will just clutter up the game.  US Army Marksmanship Unit member, USA Shooting Team m ember and holder of numerous world titles and an Olympic Medalist would often comment that this sport is really simple, just "see the target and shoot the target."  Never allow anyone to complicate that statement by applying the test about improved gun control to what item/idea they are selling.

Shotguns do require fitting to the shooter and this task has taken on a reputation of being a "mystical art."  In the most basic form, a shotgun that has been correctly fitted to the shooter will shoot where the shooter has their visual focus.  The usual method applied to shotgun fit is for the shooter to contort their body in such a way that allows the gun to be aimed at where you are looking for the shot to impact.  Sadly in this most common style of fitting a shot gun, the targets that are to be engaged  are moving and do not allow the luxury of that technique to be . In Olympic Trap the target is within shotgun range for a gracious 2/5's of a second, allows the use of two shots at the same target, but none for aiming.  The shooter does not know what target might appear and thus must totally focus on locking their e yes up on the target, fire the first barrel, continue to remain totally focused on t he target or it's pieces and fire the second barrel.  None of these shooters would allow anyone to change their gun fit unless it can be proven to improve gun control as defined by shooting more perfectly to where their eyes are focused/locked.

To distort the late Johnny Cochran's most famous court room quote "If the gun doesn't fit you might as well quit!"  The levels of frustration in shotgun shooting are raised to a level that many Instructors constantly are amazed by what their students have been subjected to before they sought help.

My mantra is borrowed from one of my friends and is shared here to help you master shooting shotguns.  "LOOK at the BIRD!  LOOK at the BIRD!  LOOK at the (use your own adjective) BIRD!"   Notice that there is no comment or even suggestion of looking at the barrel; however if you wish to check the barrel you will almost be guaranteed to hear the word LOST.  The gun that fits will shoot where you are looking and if you are looking at the target you should hear the word 'DEAD.'  Quite often I will muse to my fellow shooters that you need to check your Bird, Bead, Barrel relationship to make the perfect shot!  Anything that distracts you from eye contact with the target will almost always result in a missed target so my advice is true; however it may not have been offered as an aid to better scores.  The statement is very true, but requires gun fi t, not visual conformation of the fact that the 3 B's are aligned, if your shotgun shoots where you are looking then you have 2/3's of the formula mastered and need to only visually focus on the target. 

Shoot with safety first and foremost as your goal.  Keep the game simple, the world is full of instant cures for everything but few really provide the enhanced performance they promise.  Invest wisely in yourself, "It is always the singer and never the song!"