Clay Pigeon Lessons: Kent & Sussex

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Focus on the basics

 When shooting with a shotgun the analysis of what went wrong causing you to miss is often seen as a dark art but there are many who often wait behind you on a stand offering words of wisdom which are often sadly offer no value. In order, to fully analyse what went wrong you really need a good coach standing behind you looking over your shoulder focusing on the shot string to offer any form of guidance.

As a BASC and APSI shotgun coach and having successfully ‘re-taught’ many experienced clay pigeon shooters I find it always best to start at the beginning with eye dominance, gun fit and how to adopt the correct shooting stance, etc. It has become obvious to me over the years that the main reason for failing to hit a target is because the basics are forgotten or ignored and if your starting position is wrong then everything else that you do is made slightly more difficult especially if you wish to become a consistent shooter. Once you really focus on the basics you will be able to start to self analyse what the issue is and more importantly the remedial action. 


The 'Pick Up' Point

You will often hear successful coaches discussing how to address your target ‘pick-up’ point, the correct shooting technique or method for the target, lead and when to take the shot, etc. But before we can consider the above we need to start with the feet, are they in the right position and are you standing safe and comfortably. I have witnessed so many shooters who with the shotgun in their shoulder are tracking the target from right to left but due to poor feet position and a solid shooting stance they as they turn towards the target that the natural rotation of their body causes their right shoulder to drop resulting in them shooting over the top of the target. It is vitally important that your coach and that you yourself remedy one thing at a time and analyse the results as this will find the root cause of why you are missing a particular type of target. 

Some basic tips for elimination of an issue are:

Clay pigeon lessons and how to improve your clay shooting


1. Check your stance.   

2. Double check your ‘pick-up’ point, as it may have changed following your changing your stance.   

3. Where were the muzzles of your shotgun? Where they too far away from the ‘pick-up’ point meaning that you had to chase the target, or were you too close resulting in the clay target beating you?   

4. Review your ‘break point’ and confirm that it is in the right place, if not then then change your break point and both your stance and ‘pick-up’ point again.   

5. If you are still missing, then it is time to check your lead on the target and the shooting technique applied. Remember to get onto the target and move with it as this will set up not only your speed but also confirm the direction of the target. Keep adjusting the lead until you start breaking the target.   

6. This process of elimination and review has been used for many years and is the right process as 99% root causes can be rectified if the above is correctly followed. 


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