I took a day of sporting clays instruction the other day, from Paragon School of Sporting and boy am I glad I did. I had a different instructor for the morning and the afternoon. Each one told me that there was nothing they would change in my basic style, that they would/could only tweak and refine some minor points, but the fundamentally I was good to go. It was a terrific boost in confidence in hearing that. Dan Schindler, my instructor/coach for the afternoon, made it his teaching point to get me to understand and see my “insertion point,” where the muzzle of the shotgun first merges with the flight of the target. Once I understood what my insertion point was, it was my job to duplicate that for every shot, to be a more consistent shooter.

At the first station in the afternoon I shot a bunch of A and B targets at Dan’s direction. When Dan asked me where my insertion point was, I didn’t know. First I had to understand the term, but after we agreed on the definition of the term, I still couldn’t tell him where my insertion point was. I he told me I was inserting behind the target, and pulling through and shooting. That I was a pull through shooter. I told him I really didn’t know. After I paid more attention to what I was actually doing, I thought I was more of a pull away shooter, that I was inserting at the target and pulling away. At least that’s the way it looked to me. Dan said it didn’t matter, as his perspective and mine can differ, but what matters is whatever I see, I must be able to see it and duplicate it to have greater consistency.

Now that I was aware of the importance of the insertion point, I concentrated on setting up, seeing it and duplicating it for every shot. Boy did it make things seem easier.

The point of this piece is not to focus on what Dan Schindler did for me, but what good instruction/coaching might be able to do for you. If you want to be as good as you can be, with the physical tools nature has put in your body, you have to be willing to practice or work at your game and continually learn from others. If learning from others means paying and taking instruction from a place like Paragon School of Sporting, then that’s what you must do. I was shooting with two other shooters who were excellent shooters, but who wanted to get better. They both said that their money was well spent.

So while you are at home wondering why you can’t beat these guys, these guys are out taking lessons and practicing, just to make sure you stay beaten.

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9 Responses to Lessons

  1. P.S. There is not a shooter out there that was born. They all worked their butts off with plenty of trigger time to get where they are. Any shooter that is a good shooter has paid his or her dues with money, shells, targets and instruction. Believe me, they were not just born to shoot, and that really is a disservice to every shooter that has worked hard to obtain their class, weather it be d or master. It takes work, not heredity.


    • Ted Cherry says:

      Cannot completely agree with you on this. There are some natural instincts that go hand in hand with great shooting. Proper leads, proper timing, and other important factors are there for some and not there for others. Some folks, regardless of how many lessons from how many different instructors are just never going to be great shooters. This holds true for golfers, baseball players, brain surgeons, etc., etc. You are correct when you say it takes money, shells, targets, some instruction, and a good amount of natural ability which all of us do not have. If you prefer to call it heredity, that is okay, but some factors to great shooting are instinctual without any doubt whatsoever. The common saying ‘that you can be anything you want to be’ is not true at all. But, you can be as good as your abilities will allow you to be, if you apply yourself! Good shooting!!!


  2. Mr. Cherry………………”They became good/great SHOOTERS strictly through………..etc. They did not become GREAT instructors that way. To be a COMPETENT instructor you need much more than be a great shooter. People skills, personality, proper methods, ability to match method to shooter, depth of knowledge, patience, etc, etc etc go into being a great instructor. Being a good/great shooter helps lots, IF, the other things are present. An instructor can be the greatest on earth…….if you don’t click with that person………..keep your money in the bank, as you are wasting it. That said……….COMPETENT INSTRUCTION is the fastest way to go anywhere in this sport, if you practice, and are committed to learning. If you are happy with the way you are shoot, FANTASTIC. This game is all about fun and entertainment. If you are doing that….you have hit the mark square on the head weather you break 20 or 90. Does not make a difference. If you are a dedicated shooter, and want to go from D to M…………….good instruction saves, targets, shells, and lost of frustration. And yes……..many many shooters improve through just working at it, but it takes a long time with tons of experimentation. Every professional golfer has a coach. Someone who honed their skills. If you want to improve, and quickly. Get competent instruction. If it is not for you…………….just have fun, and that is great too. More importantly….get out and pull the trigger……for whatever reason. We need all the shooters, young and old we can get enjoying our sport.


  3. Mr. Cherry…………..you are 100% correct that some instructors have never had any formal training or certifications. That said, none of that makes them good or bad. Good shooters who are not teachers can teach you, “what they do, and what they have learned over the years”. If you can do what they do………great, If not, well I guess you are in trouble. A good instructor is first and foremost a good teacher. They know how to help you, within what you do, what you can accomplish and your personal goals. Does it help if they have been trained in many different styles, and can help you if you only shoot sustained lead, and they shoot pull away……….YES IT DOES. Like anything else in this world, there are instructors that will bend over backwards to make sure you get every dime you pay for, and teach because they love what they are doing, and those you look at you as the next checkbook to get out of the car.
    A great shooter can be a great instructor, just like a good shooter can be a great instructor. How they pull the trigger does not determine how good of a teacher they are. It certainly helps, but it is not the only factor. If you are looking for an instructor……find one you click with, can afford, and have trust and faith in. If you do…….you will be fine.


    • Ted Cherry says:

      Have faith in your shot plan and in your abilities.

      This pointer came from the DVD “Don Currie’s Focus-Movement-Faith, Instinctive Shotgunning for Sporting Clays.”


  4. I don’t know how anyone could possibly know unless they polled those individuals. I’m not quite seeing the point you are trying to make.


    • Ted Cherry says:

      Some of the ‘point’ is that a lot of top notch shooters are born and not made. Lessons are not necessarily always a good thing for everyone. A lot of quality shooting takes natural ability which not everyone has. Some good/great shooters are naturals. And, in contrast, some will never be good shooters with or without lessons.


      • I don’t agree with your first sentence, but I agree with everything else. Having said that, if people are satisfied with how they are shooting, there is no point in doing anything to improve.


  5. Ted Cherry says:

    Would it be correct to believe that some of the top instructors, both local and national, may have never received personal instruction from anyone? They became good/great shooters strictly through a lot of practice and experimentation with variations of gun mounting, stance, POI’s, break points, etc., etc.


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