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Coach's Corner Lesson 3

Click here for Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Coach's Corner

This week the Coach’s Corner and the Forum are combined as one of our Sunday Trap League (STL) members asked a very good question that leads into a natural segue into both areas of discussion.  The question was “How do you shoot targets in the wind?”   Since we appear to have a great amount of our shooting time in the wind I thought the answer might surprise you.

You should use the exact same technique that you would use when shooting in the most favorable weather you can imagine.  The fundamentals never change, you should be aware of your hold point and have the gun in that general area, and when you can clearly see the target emerge from the trap house and have established the line of flight the target then, and only then, you can quickly (and very smoothly) feed the end of the barrel into the target and smoke the bird.  Any other technique will involve ‘thinking’ and thus you are not concentrating on the target with visual concentration necessary.  Remember the mantra “Look at the bird, Look at the bird, Look at the STUPID Bird!”   You can think as much as you want, but when it is time to say “Pull” your focus must be visual (pun intended!)

What happens to most shooters in the wind is they begin to change their hold points “in hopes to hit more targets!”  These random changes in techniques are seldom helpful because they are not following the rule about “gun control.”  The change that should be tried is adjusting your hold point to give you a smooth movement of the gun directly to the target.   The Wind is really more of a mental distraction and all of the helpful shooting tips given to you by others are usually a much greater mental distraction.  Mental distractions like wind, your bills, job, etc. must be put out of your mind and the focus of your attention  brought back to seeing the target, establishing the line of the target and then move the gun smoothly to the target. Visual input is the master that controls the coordination of any eye-hand coordination situation and it is a very complex operation; however  any thinking or mental input that did not originate from visual input  will interfere in a negative way. 

When you are focused on the fundamental elements described above you will not have to be concerned with the wind, rain or other distractions.  You will begin to really become intensely focused on the action and find your eyes locked on the target.

The hold point for your initial set up should be in a general area where you know that you can see the target when it emerges and can move the gun smoothly onto the target with out feeling rushed, surprised or guessing the line.  If the wind is blowing fairly stiff or hard you either need to move your hold point higher over the house or deeper into the house depending on where you feel it gives you the “most gun control” for your style of shooting.   There is no perfect style for you or a perfect hold point; however  it should be a ‘work in progress’ every time you call for the target.  You should see the target clearly, see the line and begin to move the gun smoothly into the target and fire.  The barrel should stay perfectly still until you have seen the line of the target and then it should move with the target just as if you were connected to the target.  When you do this correctly you will feel like the gun ‘just appeared and went BANG with almost no effort on your part.’

The effect of the wind is two fold, the killer is the psychological aspect and the more subtle hindrance comes from lack of experience shooting in conditions when others stay home.   Shooting in less than desirable conditions really can help you focus and refine your game.