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I have heard in many podcasts Sporting clay coaches state one of the first things they teach their students is how to properly look at and see the target. Can someone please explain what exactly they mean and how is one to go about in accomplishing this?
 

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Not sure but maybe to hard focus on the target which is sort of like getting tunnel vision on the target as opposed to seeing the target in the air with an open focus in which you see lots of things as well as the target, This is a little hard to explain. Another thing in focusing hard on the target includes seeing maybe the rings on the target, a shiny spot on the back of a black target that is showing you the back, the front edge of the target or the color where the black and the orange paint in the target meet. All are an attempt to narrow your focus down to being on the target. Another thing is soft focus versus hard focus. You have soft focus until the target starts coming into the point where you mount the gun to start leading it before you pull the trigger. That's about all I got.

Rocky
 

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I have heard in many podcasts Sporting clay coaches state one of the first things they teach their students is how to properly look at and see the target. Can someone please explain what exactly they mean and how is one to go about in accomplishing this?
me my experience when you get the connection between eyes and target trust the eyes, forward allowance and squeeze. Find your spot where you see the target the clearest and pick your kill zone and execute. Before you shoot tell yourself see the target.I do that quite a bit. It works.Joe Mez 519873
 

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I have heard in many podcasts Sporting clay coaches state one of the first things they teach their students is how to properly look at and see the target. Can someone please explain what exactly they mean and how is one to go about in accomplishing this?
Think of the target as a clock face.

Incoming and outgoing targets generally look at 6.
Right to left crossers look at 9,8 or 7 depending on the arc or change from the line.
Left to right crossers look at 3,4, or 5 depending on the arc or change from the line.


This is a simplistic answer as there are always slight derivations to an outgoer or incomer. Sometimes if there is a curl to either one you may have to look at 5,6 or7.

The main goal in using the clock is to focus on a small part of the clay rather than the entire clay and focus on that part that is the forward part. Narrowing your focus is the key Looking at the bottom numbers will help you stay below the line.

A good example would be a looping chandelle left to right. In using a move mount shoot and intercept, you would look at the 4 or 5 and intercept the target in the 4 or 5 flightpath.

Making sure you watch a "Show" target all the way to the ground will also let you see what a target setter is trying to hide from you (hopefully). They are tricky devils and many times even an experienced shooter can't pick up the changes they throw. Find out where machines are before you see a "show" target if you can.

Don
 

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I have heard in many podcasts Sporting clay coaches state one of the first things they teach their students is how to properly look at and see the target. Can someone please explain what exactly they mean and how is one to go about in accomplishing this?
Get a tennis ball. Make some marks with a sharpie. Throw it into the corner (walls) from a good distance and throw it hard , let it make a bounce from 2 surfaces and catch it. (or ask someone to bounce a ball of the ground, but not directly at you. sideways. And try to catch-intercept it)

Every time you catch it - you'll see some details on a ball (even hairs. Yeah, hairy ball...) or it's rotation. Will not feel rush or anything. It will feel like it flies 5 seconds.
Every time you miss it - it will look like a lemon-greenish color blob without any details. And it will "feel" much faster.

Clay target is same. It just flies faster, but you have a shotgun instead of your hands.


Later you'll figure out that this moment of high visual attention (focus) is some kind of a "magic" one. It does not come immediately - it takes time from eyes to do it (faster - harder, further - harder). And you can't hold it for too long (1.2-2 seconds, no more - that's how we humans are wired). And it does not mean "crystal clear picture".
 

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Get a tennis ball. Make some marks with a sharpie. Throw it into the corner (walls) from a good distance and throw it hard , let it make a bounce from 2 surfaces and catch it. (or ask someone to bounce a ball of the ground, but not directly at you. sideways. And try to catch-intercept it)

Every time you catch it - you'll see some details on a ball (even hairs. Yeah, hairy ball...) or it's rotation. Will not feel rush or anything. It will feel like it flies 5 seconds.
Every time you miss it - it will look like a lemon-greenish color blob without any details. And it will "feel" much faster.

Clay target is same. It just flies faster, but you have a shotgun instead of your hands.


Later you'll figure out that this moment of high visual attention (focus) is some kind of a "magic" one. It does not come immediately - it takes time from eyes to do it (faster - harder, further - harder). And you can't hold it for too long (1.2-2 seconds, no more - that's how we humans are wired). And it does not mean "crystal clear picture".
Haven't tried the tennis ball practice but it sounds like a good idea.

I would say the last paragraph is pretty well spot on, at least for shorter window targets.

The sight picture (for want of a better name) happens in the brain and is formed from constantly changing input from the eyes. A said above, the eyes can only hold max focus on a single small object such as the clay for maybe 1 second. After that time the brain has to compensate and override the data stream from the eyes which is why short window targets are often easier to break more consistently than long window ones. The point is that our eyes know how to focus and don't need any special conscious effort, therefore my advice on longer window targets is don't try to achieve max focus too early. With short window targets it's often little more than throw the gun up and shoot, but on long window where the clay is visible for more than a second - and sometimes much more - planning the break point that suits your chosen method is crucial and that needs experience and practice.
 

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Where you first pick it up, and then how you titrate focus —meaning ramp it up to intense— on the target through the point of trigger.
 
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Get a tennis ball. Make some marks with a sharpie. Throw it into the corner (walls) from a good distance and throw it hard , let it make a bounce from 2 surfaces and catch it. (or ask someone to bounce a ball of the ground, but not directly at you. sideways. And try to catch-intercept it)

Every time you catch it - you'll see some details on a ball (even hairs. Yeah, hairy ball...) or it's rotation. Will not feel rush or anything. It will feel like it flies 5 seconds.
Every time you miss it - it will look like a lemon-greenish color blob without any details. And it will "feel" much faster.

Clay target is same. It just flies faster, but you have a shotgun instead of your hands.


Later you'll figure out that this moment of high visual attention (focus) is some kind of a "magic" one. It does not come immediately - it takes time from eyes to do it (faster - harder, further - harder). And you can't hold it for too long (1.2-2 seconds, no more - that's how we humans are wired). And it does not mean "crystal clear picture".
I liked this idea at first, then I realised you are not seeing an object at the distance we look for clays
 

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Hard focus really works. It takes a bit of effort on every target. When I get lazy and start missing, I start focusing on the clay And I’m hitting again. I don’t have the eyesight to see clay detail, but I just look “really hard at the clay” and insert my lead.
 

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Know the birds line. Establish a soft focus point looking into the distance on this line. Acquire the bird with your peripheal vision amping up into hard focus on a specific spot of the bird into your breakzone watching the bird as it breaks.
 
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