Practice ‘Leaditation’: Balancing Life, Play & Clay

There is a simpler way to keep your schedule balanced and enjoy shedding some of the stress in our lives. It’s “leaditation.” Yes, you guessed it. Get out to the course and get that gun barrel moving. But with such hectic lives full of commitments, how is it remotely possible to find the time to enjoy pulling the trigger?

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After all, all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. Please excuse the gender liberties that I took with the rather famous line from “The Shining.” The visual in that movie of Jack Nicholson – with his wild-eyed, even wilder hair and clearly not even close to the realm of reality or sanity – is pretty powerful. There are certainly days that I myself feel that flustered, exhausted and at my wit’s end. I know that I am not alone with that sentiment. But why? Why do so many of us feel so … aaagggghhh!

Simple. Overscheduled. There are way too many things to pull our attention and not always in a good way. Social media, as much as I love it for my own business, Virginia Shooting Sports, and keeping tabs on the fun things going on with friends and family, it is a huge time suck. Besides a heavy schedule of lessons and events, my hubby and I also have a small farm with a menagerie of animals that require care and attention. Plus, bird dogs that need training, dinner apparently doesn’t make itself and sometimes, just sometimes, I like to feel pretty and treat myself to a mani-pedi. All of us are overscheduled. And for many of us, we wish we could just hit mute, sit on the sofa and breath for a few minutes. 

Kate Tempio leaditation

Schedule Time for ‘Leaditation’

Everything in life is a balance. There is a way to create synergy in your schedule and actually have time to do what you love! Become a dedicated scheduler. This doesn’t mean you have to chart every little minute thing occurring in your life, but it does mean that you need to stop allowing yourself to be pulled in so many different directions all willy-nilly. I am at the clay course five days a week, but if I don’t schedule an hour for shooting, it never happens. I equate it to the old saying that the shoemaker’s kids never have shoes. Well, the shooting instructor never gets to shoot, if she doesn’t schedule it. Make a date with yourself for “leaditation.” Pick out some “you” time and go pull the trigger.

LG Syren demo leaditation

Find a Shooting Buddy

Not a fan of going by yourself? No problem. Just like a gym membership always works better when you enlist the support of a buddy, so does shooting practice. I have several students that have found a buddy and it works great. I love seeing the girls out there with each other, taking time for a little aromatherapy. Don’t have a gal pal with whom to go shooting? Then try joining an organization or club that specifically supports female shooters. Some are dedicated to the shotgun sports, while others dabble in full array of firearms. [Editor’s note: See the drop-down banner at the top of this site for a comprehensive list of women’s and girls’ outdoor organizations.] The important part is that you are getting out there and will find someone that you are comfortable with and able to sync schedules. 

Kristi D2 leaditation

Find an Organization or Event

A Girl and A Gun is an example of comprehensive firearms groups for ladies; groups such as GRITS and Honeybelles concentrate specifically on clay target shooting. For those seeking bigger adventures in the outdoors, the Sisterhood of the Outdoors and American Daughters of Conservation both offer excellent events and trips for hunters and anglers, even those with zero experience! For a fairly extensive listing of different disciplines and opportunities, Syren offers a great info page as a resource.

Check with your local professionals for opportunities. My sporting clay school offers monthly ladies-only practices where I have personally seen friendships blossom and grow among the girls. We also host several fun events such as Shotguns & Saddles, Shoot & Sip and Christmas Clays & Crafts. I can almost guarantee you that there is a professional instructor or clay course near you that has something exciting on its calendar. And, if you’re having trouble finding a clay course, then check out for all things clay across the country.

Bailey waterfowler

Host a Fundraiser

The days of golf charity events and bake sales are being left in the dust by sporting clay fundraisers. Keep tabs with your favorite charities to see if they are hosting a fundraiser soon and get involved or at least sign-up to shoot. These people already share similar viewpoints and chances are you will know at least a handful of the people in attendance. 

Don’t Forget the Kids!

Finally, the absolute best way to make sure that you get to the clay course? Get the kids involved. Seriously. Studies have been done on the dynamics of a family that shoots together. These studies show that if dad shoots or hunts, then typically a male child will follow him. However, if mom shoots or hunts, then the entire family will become engaged in those activities. The role of the family matriarch is quite powerful. She is the one that controls the flow of the family and their schedule and their list of activities. Now, just gotta get her to schedule some time for the family to get outdoors and crush some of those pesky clay targets.

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  • About Kate Ahnstrom

    Kate Ahnstrom, owner of Virginia Shooting Sports, is a certified, professional instructor of the Paragon School of Sporting. She has dedicated her life to sharing her passion for the outdoors and diversifying the dynamics on the clay course and the hunt field. Her tireless dedication to her students’ success is obvious in each and every lesson. Kate is on the pro staff for Syren, the resident pro at Orapax Hunting Preserve and the Preserve at Dundee, department editor for “Woods and Waters” magazine and field staff member of the Sisterhood of the Outdoors. She and her husband, Mike, enjoy their small farm in central Virginia where they have a menagerie of animals and plenty of room to train and work their beloved GSPs. Kate loves getting behind the barrel of her Syren Tempio Sporting in 20 gauge for all things clay and feathered.