Clay target championships are often decided by a single target, and that pressure can cause shooters to melt down. The very best shooters, however, understand that the right mindset can make the difference between a top finish and totally falling apart. To achieve complete control, says shooting instructor Gil Ash, you must first clear space in your mind to focus on the target. And that means stance, mount, and movement have to become automatic.
“Gun mount and movement should be second nature,” says Ash, a top clinician and one of the shooting editors of Sporting Clays magazine (his wife, Vicki, also a professional shooter, is the other). With more than 40 years of experience, Ash is one of the top shotgun coaches in the nation. His Optimum Shotgun Performance shotgun school helps improve the skills of more than 2.000 students annually, and Ash was instrumental in the design of Mossberg’s new 930 Pro-Series sporting clays semi-auto shotgun. According to him, the key to winning is committing the essential elements of shooting—gun mount, stance, swing, and so forth—to memory. Practice these key elements enough, he says, and you’ll improve your scores and be less distracted. Why? Because you remain target-focused, and a target-focused approach helps reduce stress and allows you to break more birds.