Dav id R. Vaught, Ph.D.
Life is all about learning. The sport of clay shooting is all about learning. No one I have ever met knows it all from the start so along the way they learn a ton of things that ultimately help them shoot better.
One thing a teacher knows is kids learn in different ways and absorb knowledge in ways that best suit their needs. Most all teachers learned something call Bloom’s Taxonomy in Education 101. The idea in a simplified mode is that all learning begins with the ability to remember ideas, thoughts, and instruction and being able to recall that mass of information quickly. In shooting there are times all shooters need to recall from our long-term memory things they have been taught to better their chances of winning.
The idea of remembering is the basic foundation of learning. Once a youth shooter aligns their memory with pertinent information, they need to interpret that data and construct a message their minds can understand. The third step requires the application of the remembrance and understanding towards a form of execution. In other words, it is now decision time. Let’s backup and apply what I am writing to shooting. Each shooter walks to the line and begins to absorb data – windage, temperature, background, target flight patterns, angles, elevations, and then their social setting. From this point their time to call a target is a combination of the above as all they have been taught is coming into focus for this moment. Pull is called and the target exits the house and the shooter now has to once again backtrack to remember, then understand what to do, but now they also need to apply that knowledge to pulling the trigger at the right time and place. Yes, so much happening is just a few seconds.
Whatever happens next requires some analyzing. The act of breaking the first three constructs into meaningful pieces. How did one remember, understand and apply what they have learned? Give this a thought as you watch youth shooters learn. Eventually, this all becomes instinctual, but until then make sure the learning process is sequential enough for your shooter to learn. To say, “Keep your head down and squeeze the trigger” leaves a lot of steps out. Without those additional bits of information there is nothing to recall.
As learners move up the idea of Bloom’s Taxonomy keep in mind not all advance to each level at the same time. In fact, some never advance all the way and that is not an issue. Learn to recognize this. Assuming a youth shooter has accomplished the early steps, they have to be able to next evaluate the decisions and judgements they made prior. Here we can all help by offering constructive support and knowledge for later recall. Why am I pulling the trigger before getting ahead of the target? Maybe you don’t have an answer but take a look at the reading list I have provided here and to coaches. Again, each shooter needs good, rememberable, understandable, and applicable knowledge to move forward and evaluate their shooting.
Finally, each shooter eventually has to take all of this and create a plan of attack. They have to put it all sequentially together in a very short period of time between shots and between stations. In a matter of seconds and very few minutes all the information they need to recall has to be sorted, understood and applied. It is not like golf where a long walk to think about it might occur – this sport is so much quicker. Keep these steps in mind and ask you youth shooter to read this to see if they agree of have suggestions as to ways to learn and become better clay target shooters.
Book reading list
Russell, James, Trap shooting secrets
Russell, James, Trap shooters bible, precision shooting
Clyde Martz, Trapshooting Techniques
Trap Shooting Coach Notebook: Blank Lined Trap Shooting Journal For Coach and Trap Shooter
Ohye, Kaye, You and The Target
Basham, Lanny, With Winning in Mind
Little, Frank, The little book of trapshooting
Martin, Wayne, An insight into sports
Winchester Press, Score better at trap
Missldine, Fred, Shoot Better At trap
Braun, D. Lee, Trapshooting with D.Lee Braun and The Remington Pros
Fish, Joel, 101 Ways to be a Terrific Sports Parent