important shooting fundamentals
Proper Gun Mount - This is necessary for the gun to shoot where you intend it to shoot. Your head must be down so your shooting eye is lined up with the muzzle. Keep your head forward on the stock and get the recoil pad in the pocket of your shoulder. If you are shooting un-mounted or from a low gun make sure both hands come up together so there is no dip in the muzzle. If un-mounted the front hand starts or leads the gun mount and the back hand follows the front hand. Keep the gun loose against your body with a relaxed grip so the gun can slide to the pocket of your shoulder. The stock needs to end up under your cheek bone and against your face. Turn you nose toward the stock if you are having trouble getting your eyes level. Practice your gun mount at home in front of a mirror. Your head and eyes should all be level. Practice this until it becomes natural and second nature.
Stance – Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Right-handed shooters will point their left foot roughly toward the break point. Left-handed shooters will point right foot roughly toward the break point. Bend the front knee slightly keeping 60% of your weight forward. Keep your upper body loose to help you move the gun. Shoulders must stay level.
Break Point/Zone – You will plan to shoot the target where you see it best or clearest.
Hold Point – Hold the muzzle on targets path or line. Come back roughly 1/3 to 1/2 way from the break point toward the trap. Your eyes will be back toward the trap to see the bird come out. The target should not get in front of your barrel.
Control / Connect - You need to learn how to get control of the target through a mechanism of consistently merging the gun and bird together. When done properly the speed of the bird and the speed of the gun will have synced up. If you have matched the gun speed with the bird speed you will have been able to “connect” with the target. You will need to learn how to get the gun “inserted” and moving with the target to accomplish this. You should think of this in the same way that you merge your car with traffic. You are simply learning how to merge the gun and the bird together.
Soft FOCUS - You will want to see the target come out of the trap if possible, but do not look directly at the trap. You are really just looking for motion or the flash of the target so you can get in sync with the target. Do not try to get a hard focus until the target is entering the break point or break zone.
FOCUS - You must pick a part of the clay that you plan to lock your eye on. Shooting a shotgun is about pointing, not aiming. In general, try to look at the front edge, or a specific part of the clay. The idea is that you will learn to see the gun in your peripheral vision much like you see the hood of your car. Your focus should peak or the target should be the clearest as the gun enters the break point. This is very difficult to do each time. You need to consciously do it as part of a routine both in practice and in competition.