TECH­NIQUE: Want a great sum­mer on the clays? Start pre­par­ing now!

Im­prove your hit rate on the clays in 2018 with Don Brunt’s pre-sea­son tips, which in­clude up­dat­ing kit, book­ing com­pe­ti­tions and plan­ning prac­tice ses­sions early to give you the edge

Sporting Shooter - - Contents -

As the ex­cesses of Christ­mas be­come a fad­ing mem­ory and the game sea­son draws to a close, it’s time to look for­ward to the clay sea­son. If you want to im­prove your shoot­ing dur­ing those glo­ri­ous days of sum­mer, act now – this is the time to con­sider some of the key as­pects of the way you ap­proach your sport.

New broom?

If you have been con­sid­er­ing a new gun, this is a great time to make a switch. By chang­ing now you have the whole of the spring to get used to it be­fore the sum­mer ar­rives. Chang­ing guns in the mid­dle of the sea­son is rarely a good move if you are try­ing to build con­sis­tency into your game.

When choos­ing your new steed, try to look past the qual­ity of the wood and the in­tri­cacy of the en­grav­ing; make it your num­ber one pri­or­ity to make sure that it fits you. One of the key in­di­ca­tors will be the height of the comb on the top of the stock. If, when your cheek­bone is locked down onto the top of the stock, you can see lit­tle more than the back of the ac­tion, then dis­card the gun from your short­list and move on. Such ‘low’ guns in­vari­ably cause head lift­ing in order to see the tar­get prop­erly, and that, in turn, in­vari­ably leads to miss­ing over the top. The rib should al­ways be clearly vis­i­ble when look­ing down the gun – if it looks like a steep ski jump stretch­ing away in front of you it might be too high, but that’s a far less likely prob­lem than the ‘low’ gun which is re­spon­si­ble for a high per­cent­age of ill-fit­ting guns.

Also, bear in mind that when it comes to de­pre­ci­a­tion, a good se­cond-hand gun is of­ten a bet­ter bet than a new gun at a bar­gain low price, and if you want to re­sell a used Beretta, Brown­ing or Miroku then chances are that you won’t lose a great deal of money on it.

When try­ing a new gun in the colder months, al­ways make sure that your ini­tial test­ing for fit is car­ried out wear­ing light­weight cloth­ing. There is no point be­ing stood in a gun shop try­ing guns while wear­ing thick jumpers and coats, when much of your shoot­ing is go­ing to take place in the sum­mer. It’s easy to buy a gun dur­ing the win­ter that’s ac­tu­ally too short for you, an is­sue that doesn’t rear its head un­til the lay­ers start com­ing off in the warmer weather.

For­ward plan­ning

It is also a good time of year to plan any big events that you want to at­tend. The more pop­u­lar events sell out very quickly now, some­times in hours, so it’s worth iden­ti­fy­ing those ma­jors you

‘In­vest­ing in a les­son or two al­lows your prac­tice to be far more pro­duc­tive than just blaz­ing away at tar­gets you al­ready know you can hit’

want to at­tend and com­ing up with a plan to make sure you can get booked in as soon as the dates are re­leased. Book­ing in early also means that if you need to get a room for the night it can work out cheaper than if you try and book just be­fore you travel.

If you weren’t happy with how you per­formed last year, then per­haps it’s time to come up with a way to get more ‘kills’ on your score­card. Sen­si­ble tar­geted prac­tice can be very pro­duc­tive, so long as you have pre­cise goals in the sense of which is­sues you want to ad­dress and are able to ac­cu­rately di­ag­nose what your prob­lems are.

If you aren’t sure what’s caus­ing you to miss, per­haps it’s worth in­vest­ing in a les­son or two to give your train­ing some di­rec­tion. Ask around for rec­om­men­da­tions as that’s usu­ally a good way to find a coach who has a good track record. It can be very easy for a coach to iden­tify sim­ple things that you can change which may dras­ti­cally im­prove your hit rate. If you do go to a coach, make sure to go with an open mind – he knows what he is do­ing so try to soak up as much in­for­ma­tion as you can.

Don’t be afraid to make notes at the end of each ses­sion, es­pe­cially if he gives you some things to go away and work on. This al­lows your prac­tice to be far more pro­duc­tive than just blaz­ing away at tar­gets you know you can hit, rather than at­tempt­ing to con­quer those that cause you a prob­lem or two.

The clay sea­son may still be a few months away, but by act­ing now and start­ing to get your equip­ment and your skills in order, you can have a smash­ing time this sum­mer.

Us­ing the next few months to prac­tise will give you the op­por­tu­nity to con­cen­trate on your shoot­ing with­out the dis­trac­tion of com­pe­ti­tions or score­cards.

Don’t be dis­tracted by pretty wood­work and fancy en­grav­ing – make sure your new gun fits you!

If you are think­ing of shoot­ing a ma­jor, you need to book in early as spa­ces fill up quickly

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