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I had the pleasure of having Matt Rutherford from ShootClay visit Barbury Shooting School and join me for a shooting lesson. (You can enjoy his review the ‘Beginners Clay Shooting Lesson’.at www.shootclay.co.uk)
Some Background: Matt had told me prior to his visit that he was a recent newcomer to clay shooting and that he had never previously experienced a shooting lesson; although he was already achieving a 60/65%.success rate, which for someone just starting out is very good. After the normal ‘first lesson’ safety brief and equipment check, and making it clear to Matt that I just wanted him to relax and enjoy himself; I showed him a straightforward incoming right to left crossing standard clay. Matt quickly demonstrated that he was a perfectly safe and competent shot and was killing some of the targets. However like many shooters that have not been taught the basics, he clearly did not have a simple enough system; so it was the perfect time to introduce him to the Method (Which anyone who has read my book or watched my DVD knows I am a total convert to).
I took Matt through the four preparatory stages for shooting with a gun premounted of ‘The method’: I find this shooting method extremely useful when practicing clay shooting (also mentioned in my ‘Learning to Clay Shoot’ article). There are a number of advantages over other approaches: Firstly; the method utilises the humans natural ability and desire to point. Right handers learn to point their left hand; left handers learn to point their right when clay shooting. Matt understood the concept of pushing away from the bird to simply make the kill picture and squeeze the trigger. Matt quickly grasped the concept of the method and was soon relating to it’s simplicity.
I next introduced Matt to starting his mount from a ‘gun down’ ready position. Reminding him that I had remembered that he had commented that he did not fully understand why in my book I had stated that right handed shooters should be using their left hand. I showed him how his left hand should move the barrels towards the target as he picked it up; there by starting the movements of the gun mount. After a few minutes ‘dry mounting’ practice I put Matt back onto the right to left target; having also showing him how his head had been lifting off his stock regularly as he was squeezing the trigger. ( He now knows that head lifting is the common reason for every one to miss their targets)
Within seconds Matt looked like a different shooter; his kills were consistent and he looked so much more relaxed and confident. This ‘left hand’ movement was quite a revelation to Matt . He has since confided in me;
“ I went away from that lesson thinking about how I could improve the reaction and feel of my left hand ( it has always been a useless limb) One technique has been to move my computer mouse to my left hand....... my motor skills on my left side have improved significantly in the week since my lesson.”
Matt had also told me prior to his visit that ‘Loopers’ were real ‘Bogey’ targets for him, so I moved him to a clay shooter's stand that consisted of a right to left looper and quartering away left to right target. I showed him how to ‘take the loop’ out of the equation By choosing a pick up point about half way along the flight path of the looper. Then to draw himself an imaginary straight line to a kill picture the had the looping clay at the center of a clock face with his barrels a foot away at twenty to eight. I explained the process and demonstrated the straight line principle and two dimensional kill picture a few times; before setting matt his shooting task.
He did miss the first few loopers, but once he killed his first one; he was up and running and soon achieving consistent “ Pair Killed “ when both the targets were presented to him as ‘On Report’ Doubles. Matt was a quick to learn pupil who finished his lesson as a much more confident shooter with many more new found skills. I am looking forward to giving him his next lesson.
“John King has been a good friend to ShootClay since we started – his shooting DVD and Book package was one of the first things that we reviewed – he has a wealth of experience and is an ideal candidate for a coach. His guide to choosing a shooting coach is an excellent starting point if you are trying to find someone local to you. My lesson was at the fantastic Barbury Shooting School - you can read our review of the facilities here.”