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Skeet Shooting - Skeet Season Wrap-up

Skeet Shooting - Skeet Season Wrap-up:  by Russ Naples, JCTS Skeet Chairman 
 
As we approach the end of the year it is also generally the end of the Skeet season from a tournament perspective.  Even if you are not shooting many or any tournaments, it is still likely a time of the year where you may be shooting less and taking a break, in favor of the various holiday events and travel.  As such this month’s article will focus on some of the items that are involved with wrapping up the skeet season allowing you to rest, review and renew.  

As we continue this article, we do it with a mindset of being grateful for our participation as well as our interactions with friends and competitors, new and old, all through the past year. 
Skeet Season Wrap-Up:
 
Clean and Service your Equipment: Now is a good time to thoroughly clean your equipment which includes all your eye and ear protection, leather pouches, shooting vests and towels.  It is also potentially time to have your gun serviced depending upon the amount of shooting you did since your last service date. At the very least, chokes can be removed and cleaned as well as the barrel threads.  When reinstalling chokes use a drop of oil on the threads. (For questions and scheduling, please contact Gunsmiths Inc. onsite at Jacksonville Clay Target Sports, (904) 757-4584)

Review your scores and notes:  For those that shot a few tournaments, you should be able to go online and review your scores across the year by the event and by gauge. If you also kept a journal you can look back across that as well to match your notes and analysis to your scores by time period.  This may provide some insight as to what habits or practice routines to continue and which to change.  If you did not shoot any tournaments and did not keep a journal, you may be able to take some time to think about when you believe that you shot better than at other times during the year and figure out why this occurred. You may also consider keeping a journal for the upcoming year so as to maximize the value of analyzing your next year of shooting.

Review of Skeet Shooting Materials: For those looking to broaden and tune their technical skills it is a good time to review books and DVDs on skeet shooting.  Several are available on the sport including from some of the top shooters in the sport such as Paul Giambrone and Todd Bender.

Consider the Mental Aspect: Throughout this past year, my articles have focused on the technical skills of Skeet shooting.  After learning the rules of the game, the technical skills of foot position, gun mount, hold point, look point, break point for each station are the next set of skills that the skeet shooter builds.  If you have been shooting consistently for at least a year; you have built a basic foundation of these technical skills and are probably starting to turn in some improved scores on a per round basis but may be experiencing inconsistency issues. Inconsistency at this stage is defined as while I have some number of misses per round, the misses are at different stations from round to round.  This inconsistency is usually attributed to two areas technical (lack of being precise with your setup) and mental (not being able to stay focused through the round on the process of shooting each target at each station).   While you work to improve your technical skills, you may consider exploring the mental aspect of the game in terms of improving focus during the preparation, execution, and reinforcement of your shots.  While there are several providers of this kind of information, I would recommend you have a look at what Lanny Bassham and his company, Mental Management Systems. 
 

 
Shoot for fun!: Enough said, just go out shoot some of the sports for fun!  This includes Skeet, Sporting Clays, Trap and if your club has it - 5-stand.  Just have fun!

Physical Fitness:  If you thought that your physical fitness impeded your ability to progress in your shooting, you may consider some stretching, exercises and light aerobics that would improve your strength (to turn with your legs and hold the gun), flexibility (to turn smoothly with your weight forward) and endurance (to be able shoot all through the day with no drop off in your scores.)  Please consult your physician for guidance as to the level of physical fitness that is best for you to pursue.

Consider Equipment Changes: After reviewing the year, consider if you will make any changes to your equipment and if so, order it or schedule it to be done during your offseason. This can include new equipment such as additional lenses for your eyewear, new molded ear plugs as well as modifications to your gun such as an adjustable butt plate and or comb. When changing the setup on your gun, it is helpful to engage the support of a gunsmith and or instructor so as to assure you have a good gun fit and mount.

Consider Equipment Changes: If you are shooting just for fun and reached this far in the article, there may be no more you wish to do.  However, if you are looking to improve your scores and potentially shoot in some local tournaments in the upcoming year then here is where you make a list of what you will do differently next year to prepare, practice and keep records.  If you have not in the past, consider keeping a journal of your shooting activities: which includes shooting for fun, tournament conditions and scores as well as outlining your practice efforts.  Thoughts on what went well, what you learned and what issues you had that you need solutions to all to belong in your journal.  

2019 Tournament Schedule: By now the tournament schedule should be available for your state.  Floridians can visit https://floridaskeet.com/  to find the calendar, shoot flyers and registration page for the first few shots of the year.  If you are a registered NSSA member with dues up to date you have access to their website and are also receiving the NSSA-NSCA Target Talk magazine both of which list tournaments planned across the United States.  Now is a good time to consider what tournaments you plan to shoot and get them into your 2019 calendar which will then help you align a practice schedule which we will discuss in next month’s article.  
Take some time off to review, rest and rejuvenate!
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
 
Russ Naples
JCTS Skeet Chairman
NSSA Certified Instructor
Four-time NSSA First Team All American


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