Mental Training - Deliberate Practice, Deliberate Play

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Karl Marx (among a whole host of others)

Recently I spoke to a high school shotgun team and their parents about the value of mental training. During that speech I mentioned practice should not be fun because it is supposed to be hard work. I used the example I mention a lot in this column, that shooting a round of skeet is not practice unless you are trying to learn how to shoot a round of skeet.

SAAMI Setting the Standards

It is a typical Saturday morning at your local gun club, and along with the large gathering of shooters, are shotguns and ammunition from just about every conceivable manufacturer. Today the shooters will give little, if any, thought as to whether the ammunition they have purchased will fit and fire safely in their favorite shotgun. For that, they can thank the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the industry-sponsored institute commonly known as SAAMI.

Gun Test - Fabarm Axis Allsport

At the recent 2017 SHOT Show, Fabarm, the Italian gunmaker known for their unique flair in the design and appearance of their firearms, debuted a new model over/under shotgun that is gathering considerable attention. Officially, the full moniker of this new model is the Fabarm Axis Allsport QRR (Quick Release Rib). However, for the sake of saving ink, in this review we will call it the Axis Allsport.

Mental Training > Pre-Shot Rituals

If you have been competing for any time, you probably have a pre-shot ritual. For most shooters, it consists of lining up your feet, choosing the start and end point for the shot, visualizing the path of the target, making a pass along the line of flight with an unloaded gun, loading and taking a deep breath just before calling for the shot — just like your coach taught you.

Gun TEST - Mossberg International SA-20

Probably the one question I have been asked more than any other has to do with what design and gauge of shotgun I would recommend when trying to get someone started in shotgun shooting, in particular, a young person with little or no experience in shotgunning. Better than 80% of the time, my suggestion is a soft-shooting, semi-automatic in 20 gauge. The rest of that response normally includes the names of Beretta, Winchester, Remington or Benelli as the gunmakers who can help you along your way if you follow my suggestion.

Hold Points

Writing articles for Shotgun Sports has made me pretty introspective about my own shooting. I started off my 2014 Skeet Shooting season in San Antonio at The Blaser Skeet Classic. Unlike years past, I did not shoot well, and I struggled to figure out why. I began to try to put together the rationale for my poor performance.

Mental Training > Visualization

“I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.” —Jack Nicklaus

We all know competition shooting consists of the good, the bad and the ugly. And, if you are having one of those days in which everything seems to go wrong, the good is not very obvious. Match stress messes everything up, and it will do it every time if we don’t prepare for it. But even if we do, there is the potential for disaster.

1894 Remington: The Forgotten Classic

Like most boys my age in the early 1950’s, my first gun was a single-shot .410. It didn’t take very long for me to find out it wasn’t much good on flying targets or even running rabbits for that matter. My only source of income was a paper route, so funds were pretty scarce. A new Model 870 or a Model 12 was just a dream.

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