You can often learn more from misses than hits. When you miss a clay, take a moment to reflect on the entire shot from the moment you called for the target to the point of squeezing the trigger. Think about your foot position, gun mount, hold point, forward allowance, visual focus and breakpoint.
Although your shooting friends and even coaches can be helpful, each person has their own way of seeing the target. (And remember that women frequently have different eye-dominance issues than men.) Yes, you may have been behind it as they have told you, but to truly calibrate a miss you have to rely on your own self-analysis as well.
Likewise, when you hit a target you should also remain in the stand to relive those successful shots in your mind’s eye, to fully understand everything you did correctly and to celebrate the hit.
Once you can reliably diagnose your own results you’ve made great strides in becoming a consistent and confident shotgun enthusiast.
Deborah McKown is the Editor of Shotgun Life and an NSCA Level I instructor. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.