Aligning Expectations with Goals

by: Paul Giambrone, III

I see it all too often where these two ideas are not aligned for the average shooter.  When I am coaching someone, we talk about goals in the beginning of the lesson (short and long term).  Throughout the lesson, I am working on several things with my clients and one of the things I work with them on is this topic.  I see shooters get so bent out of shape when they miss to the point where they are throwing hulls, slamming their heads back and looking up to the sky like they can’t believe they just missed a target and sometimes colorful metaphors follow!  Hey, we are all guilty of this and quite frankly, none of us should show such frustration and disgust in their games on the field.  However, all too often, I see this out of shooters that think they should be World Champions or even State Champions and shoot only 4 boxes of practice each week.

Hey, there is nothing wrong with setting high goals.  After all, the old saying of aim for the stars and if you fall short, you are still at the tree tops applies here.  However, make no mistake, if you want to chase these higher goals, you have to put in a lot of time, effort and dedicate yourself to this sport for a minimum of 5 years to reach any high goals.  One of the best shooters in Louisiana told my father that in order to get to AA across the board (back when my father started AA was the highest class), he had to shoot a minimum of 5,000 registered targets, shoot 3 times that in practice, and have a reliable coach for 5 straight years to achieve the consistency he needed to reach this goal!  WOW!

Don’t feel left out if this isn’t your mindset.  I have several shooters that want to just feel “competitive” or “not embarrass themselves” when they go shoot with their buddies.  Nothing wrong with these goals either!  Realize, you still need good sound coaching in order to understand the fundamentals of skeet shooting and work those fundamentals in several practice sessions to get them engrained.  This doesn’t mean you have to take multiple lessons and shoot as much as the guy in the previous paragraph, but you still have to work at it.  This game is built around the need to have solid fundamentals and the ability to have the mental control to execute those fundamentals with minimal flaws to get the results each of these shooters want.

There are several types of shooters between these two extremes as well.  I feel that no matter what your overall goal is about your shooting, there is one goal that can be universal. I set this goal each year and is applicable to all of the different types of shooters out there.  My one and only goal is to take the best possible shot at the next target at that given moment in time.  Just literally give that next target your absolute best, 100% of your attention, focus and let what happens happen.  Nothing more, nothing less.