Consistency – On The Line
In the last article, I touched on the issue of consistency. That was the consistency that must be maintained before you shoot. Now we’ll discuss the consistency you must have while you shoot.
If you’re going to build a house that lasts, you need a strong foundation. A crack in the foundation could give you an unstable house. A shooter’s technique is no different. Generally speaking, you want to allow your hips and upper body to move freely. This can be attained by matching your bodies’ range of motion to the possible target angles that will appear on each station. These two things begin with your foot position. I can’t draw the proper foot positions in an email, but just know that you should stand the same on post 1 each time you shoot. However you stand on post 2, do it the same each time. So on and so forth for the remaining posts. Are you having trouble swinging to the left angle on post 1? Maybe your body is restricted and you should move your front foot (for righties) to the 11 o’clock or 10 o’clock position.
Front hand – your front hand should be in a comfortable position, ideally at the balance point of the gun. Find what is comfortable and gives you a smooth swing, then do it every time.
Cheek – the cheek should always be in the SAME spot on the stock. If you take away nothing else from this article, understand that this is critical. Try an experiment. Put your face on the very front of the comb (towards the top lever). What does the sight picture look like? Ok, now slide your face to the very back of the comb (near the recoil pad). Now what does the sight picture look like? Notice the change? Your gun will shoot completely different, depending where your cheek sits. If your cheek is in a different place on two consecutive birds – say two straight-aways – you may miss one despite pointing in the same spot. Why? Now your gun doesn’t shoot the same. One sight picture gives you a higher shot pattern, one gives you a lower pattern.
Gun placement – some place their gun in the “pocket” between the ball of the shoulder and the pectoral muscle. Others move it a bit inside or even out on the arm. Choose something comfortable, ideally in the pocket, but do it every time you mount the gun. If it isn’t correct, don’t hesitate to put the gun down and re-mount the gun. It may slow down the squad, but those are YOUR targets and you want to break them all!
Hold point – I won’t tell you where to hold on the traphouse because it is different for one-eyed shooters and two-eyed shooters. That is a hotly debated issue and can take pages to fully address. I will tell you though, you need to do this consistently as well.
Next week, I will touch on line etiquette and proper behavior.
Best of luck as you prepare this spring!