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By: Paul Giambrone III

Do you ever find yourself shooting you get to the end of the round and realize all of the targets that you missed you pull the trigger just because it was time to pull the trigger not because it looked or felt right? Yep, me too! It happens to me all of the time. Have you ever noticed that there are certain shooters that can hold off pulling the trigger, wait until everything looks correct before they actually pull the trigger? I have seen less than a handful of my lifetime that can do it really really well and that is what I called the art of trigger control.

For us skeet shooters, when we first learn the game, everyone wants to talk to us about leads. Then we learn that’s it’s really not about leads…. It’s about how to go to consistent hold points and look points along with a good start that sets up the shot. Meaning, when you go to the correct whole point, look in the correct area with a soft focus along with a good stance and a good gun mount… Now we are actually ready for the shot. Once you have completed your set up, you now need a good start.

Let us define what a good start is… A good start is that you start your rotation as soon as you see that flash, blur, or that streak of the target in your peripheral vision. That is the when of when you start. There is another key element to a good start… It is not just the when you start, but how fast you rotate. The goal is to rotate your body at the speed of that flash so you match your speed with the flash speed. When you do this successfully, you build in your required lead in the very beginning of the shot. All that is left at this point is to keep your eyes on the target and shoot the target when it becomes clear or when you have a hard focus.

Once you have done this a number of times, about 10,000 times, your brain now knows what it is looking for from the beginning until the end, and there is a sense of timing that… From when you say pole to see in the flash to the hard focus to when you pull the trigger. The only downside of this is that once you do this so many times in your brain gets a feel of this timing. It’s going to want to pull the trigger no matter what, even if you don’t see the bird well. For example, if I set up in some thing, it’s just a little off in the beginning, causing a bad start, most of the time I am able to keep my eyes on the target my body can recover, and I will end up, shooting the target a little later than normal. If I am lucky, I can do this about 70 to 80% of the time. The other 20 to 30% of the time, my brain is just going to send a signal to my trigger finger to pull the trigger because it is “time“ to pull the trigger.

Tip of the month: be honest with yourself. Once you get to the end of the round, see how many times you pulled the trigger just because it was time to pull the trigger versus when everything felt and looked correct. Try not to be too hard on yourself… Most people do not have the art of trigger control. Therefore, it is something that you can work on and practice that when you shoot make sure that not only the shot feels right, but everything looks correct when you pull the trigger.