Rhys turns to his coach for help before tackling some tricky presentations at the Churchill Challenge
Ihad a lesson with my coach, Ed Solomons, last week – which I found very helpful as we approach the busy competition season. We headed up to Sporting Targets in Bedfordshire and shot some of the targets that I am currently having trouble with. With Ed’s guidance I made some adjustments to my timings on certain shots.
We often shoot at Sporting Targets, purely because of the variety of targets that they have on offer. We were able to move around the ground, focusing mainly on battues. Initially I was concerned that my kill point was not consistent enough. Sometimes I was letting the bird roll over, whereas I wanted to be shooting the bird a second earlier.
Ed identified that my gun speed was the issue. On the first couple of pairs my gun speed was perfect, resulting in two broken clays. As I got more comfortable with the target, on the final few pairs, my gun speed would ease off and I would end up shooting the target later and over the top. After shooting the target correctly at about 30 yards, we moved back 5 yards with each successful shot, until my timing was perfect at about 55 yards. Being able to shoot plenty of that specific target is great, as it means that they should no longer be a worry for me. It was another positive session with Ed, who I cannot recommend enough.
Last month, I also shot the Churchill Challenge at EJ Churchill, which presented multiple complex and well-thought-out targets – and the scores reflected the difficulty of the course. Hard it might be, but the targets were just something a little different, making it a challenge that required a lot of thinking.
The competition is nine stands that make up the 100-bird course. Eight out of the nine stands each have three traps, which are shot as on-report pairs and then simultaneous pairs. The team at EJ Churchill have really gone to town on the final stand, which has six machines. Each target is shot as a single, then on-report pairs, and finally as sim pairs.
This was the most difficult stand of all. You had to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and think hard about the targets and how they should be shot.
I haven’t shot much at EJ Churchill in practice before, but will definitely be returning in the near future to shoot some more of these treacherous targets. All in all, this was a fantastic experience that I will definitely be shooting again next year.
Ed Solomons helped Rhys with his problem with battues
Rhys enjoyed shooting the set-up at EJ Churchill