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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been shooting sporting clays for about three months now and my scores have ranged from 32-40 out of 50 targets. Sunday was a disaster with only 24 out of 50. I have developed a nasty case of flinching. What are some tips or techniques to overcome this problem?
 

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Shoot lighter loads and make sure the gun fits you properly. One ounce target load will take some of the bite out of your gun. What kind of shotgun are you shooting?

APEXDUCK
 

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I agree completely that you should use the lightest load that will do the job. When I shoot clays, I carry a handful of 1-1/8 oz 1300 fps loads for the LONG birds; everything else is 1 oz at 1180 fps. As a wise old friend of mine once said, "If you can miss with an ounce, you can miss with an ounce and an eighth."

Also, get some snap caps, and start shooting the TV, or, like my old buddy did, mount a laser pointer on an oscillating fan and shoot the red dot moving along the wall. Mount, swing shoot, follow through; again and again and again....Pretty soon your body will do it automatically and you'll lose the flinch.
 

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If you will use the Move, Mount, Shoot method of shooting, your flinching will be reduced considerably. It is when you have the gun on your shoulder for several seconds and riding the target and measuring the lead that you are most likely to flinch. The less time you have to think about the sight picture, the less likely you are to flinch. At least, that is the way it seems to work for me. YMMV.
 

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Use really heavy loads in a gun with a steel butt plate.

Oh! You wanted tips for not flinching. I get it now. :)

Some people find a release trigger helps. I don't think I could get used to it.

-- Sam
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't know whether you will buy into this or not, but the primary reason for flinching is poor visual contact with the target. If something-and this can be anything from worrying about missing, eye strain, poor light conditions, sloppy gun mount, etc, etc-causes you to lose your sharp focus on the target your subconscious tells you not to shoot. Shooting heavy loads certainly plays into this, too, as your mind goes to thinking about the recoil you are about to get hit with when you pull the trigger and you can't make yourself do it. The next time you shoot review in your mind what you saw before you squeezed off your last shot. Do this for every shot, and if a flinch occurs you will probably find that you don't remember where the target was in relation to the barrel. My recomendation is to concentrate hard on the leading edge of the target, and if your gun fit and mount is correct you may just eleminate the flinch. Too, consider that if you have a vision problem or the light is poor for the type of glasses (lens) that you are wearing you may still have a problem that concentration alone will not help. And also realize that stress can often play a huge part in flinching. Problems at home can easily take your mind off the business at hand-crushing targets.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Im currently learning skeet shooting, and have only had 3 sessions.

The first session I had, the instructor said I should keep both eyes open, and I blew the first 5 skeet out of the sky without even thinking! As I moved around the course I missed a few, but overall i hit about 80%.

2nd lesson, with different instructor. He said shut left eye, and stand with legs appart rather than pointing left foot at the shooting point. I didnt do too badly, got 10/10 at one stage and over all did similar to previously.

3rd lesson, with same instructor as the 2nd. And boy did I struggle to hit anything. I kept flinching like mad. My mount is now good and I have an excellent swing until I go to fire, then I tense and stop for a second. If I do it without thinking I can blast the clay out of the sky. It was so frustrating at keep missing.

Thinking about it, and testing myself, both of my eyes are dominant, and I reckon if I keep both open next time i`ll be better. Now my mount is sorted, i just need to make sure I get a good look at the clay, and just automatically shoot it, without worrying about trying to workout lead and all that stuff.

Im shooting a 391 with 2 3/4 shells. But, in my first lesson I used a Browning O/U which had much more kick to it.

I may go shooting tonight, so will try my theory out.
 

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full disclosure here - I am British CPSA certified coach working in Central Florida, BUT this is not a puff for my lessons

JRG

What you have seen posted here are some of the many reasons for flinching and the multiple ways of fixing the problem. The difficulty is in working out which one to apply. I would suggest a session with a coach who can determine the problem and suggest a solution. 2-3 sessions should get you sorted out.

Turbonuttter

Why did you change coaches so quickly? I would suggest that if you start with a coach you should stay with them for 2-3 sessions unless there is something way off between you? You have to get on well with your coach.

Did the No2 coach explain why he asked you to shoot with one eye? Did he find cross dominanace the first guy missed?

There are many ways to deal with cross dominance and closing one eye is only one of them.

Roger
 

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I am by no means an expert nor am I an instructor. I grew up on a farm and I have been shooting and hunting since I was 8-9 years old. Here are some of the things I have noticed about myself and what I did to correct it. Most of my shooting has been with rifles and pistols with shotguns off and on my whole life. I actually started with shotguns as a kid mainly for the enjoyment of hunting and bringing meat home to the table. I was taught if I killed an animal that I always had to clean it and prepare it for a meal.
Usually when you flinch panic has set in and you are losing focus of the target and even worse you are losing focus of what you are doing with the gun...with panic you just want to get the shot over with and hope no one notices how poorly you did. I have noticed that when panic sets in you are actually closing your eyes and just blindly pulling the trigger hoping something good is going to come out of this hysteria. Unfortunately, it never does.
I learned the following from a police pistol instructor and a lot of reading about shooting.
One key phrase that has helped me the most is "riding through the shot". You need to start with both eyes open when shooting, closing one eye while shooting will tend to make you tense and possibly lead to flinching. You need to focus on the target so instense that your mind becomes the target and the gun is just an extention of you towards the target. When I say you need to ride thru the shot, you should be so absorbed with the target that as you pull the trigger you are still staying with the target and trying to maintain on the target after the trigger is pulled. By riding through the shot you should be able to call your shot and where you think you hit. This is something an old country boy has learned along the way to help me be just a little bit better shooter. Where I grew up there was a country store that would sell a few 22 bullets at a time or a couple of shotgun shells at a time depending on how much money you had. So for me and my brother each shot had to count when we were growing up. I hope some of this might be helpful and I only mentioned it because it helped me in the past. Good hunting and shooting to everyone.
 

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Hey guys-
Great site! This is my first post, but I've been "lurking" for a while. A guy I used to shoot skeet with developed a flinch. He'd be fine for the first three or four rounds(21-22/25). On the forth or fifth box of shells he'd drop down to the mid teens. We figured he had a tender shoulder. Not the case at all- ear protection. The muzzle blast was making him flinch. Needless to say, I don't hit the range without my muffs now. It's definatley worth a try, worst case-you'llsave your hearing.--Fin
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think ear protection does have a lot to do with it. I shot off 75 shells last night at the skeet range and noticed that my sonic ear plugs seemed to be working much better than before and I wasnt flinching.

Before I even got to the range, i had a quick practise at swinging the gun, and as I was driving there I just felt extreemly confident that I was going to do well. I was relaxed & confident.

I was going to try keeping 2 eyes open, then try a few with 1 eye. But, all that went out the window. I called pull and blew the first clay to pieces without even thinking, and then realised it was actually only 1/2 a clay and not a full one even!. I then tried each stand in turn and found id miss the first 1 or 2 pulls, but then would blast the following 6 or 7 into pieces in a row. This was the same for all the stands.

The middle stand with the clay coming from the taller tower threw me first time I shouted pull. It seemed a very quick bird. But, I called pull again and just blew it out the sky.

I wasnt doing a "proper" scored round of skeet, just practising. But, both myself & the instructor were well impressed.

I found the secret for me is to not hang onto the bird for long. Sight it, swing and when you get to the point where you are just about to start thinking "should i pull the trigger or not", then IMMEDIATELY pull that trigger. If I let my brain start to think about the shot then i miss. Even now I dont know if I was using 2 eyes or 1. I think I used just one eye to line up, then after i pulled the trigger i open the other one to watch the kill.

Roger - I changed instructors purely because I found a better & cheaper skeet range to use. Testing at home, both my eyes are as dominant as each other. If i point at something with my right hand, my right eye seems dominant, and if i point at something with my left hand, my left eye is dominant.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Roger - I changed instructors purely because I found a better & cheaper skeet range to use. Testing at home, both my eyes are as dominant as each other. If i point at something with my right hand, my right eye seems dominant, and if i point at something with my left hand, my left eye is dominant.[/quote]

Roger,
PLEASE...tell Turbonutter that which hand you "point" has nothing to do with eye dominance. I have to question if his instructor actually asked him to do this to determine which eye was dominant.
I have been struggling recently with my "off" (left) eye taking over or at least somewhat affecting what I see. I noticed this first as an occasional glimpse of the left side of my barrels. Too, I was flinching a handful of times during a 100 target round. This past weekend was our state sporting clays championship, and I sucked-some of the worst scores I have ever posted. Afterwards, I was reviewing what had contributed to this. There was a lot of stress involved as well as some poor light conditions, but mostly it was the fact that I have been suffering from seasonal allergies and my face is puffed up just under my eyes. This changed the amount of cast necessary for my eye to be aligned with the rib causing me to shoot left (verified by patterning) and also caused me to look through my prescription lens where the optical focal area was not centered for my right eye. The left eye was still centered (verified by checking in a mirror and by my wife). After marking where all the adjustments were set on my adjustable stock I then made new adjustments to accomodate my facial changes. Guess what? No more flinching as I can see the target/barrel relationship as it actually exists. Too, I have gone back to my Decot Hywydes instead of my regular glasses which have the progressive bifocal lens. I had been shooting much better with the bifocals as I am so conditioned to moving my head to focus at the varying distances, but they require me to face everything exactly perpendicular and have a much smaller area where things remain clearly in focus. As I said, the facial puffiness changed how everything fit.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"PLEASE...tell Turbonutter that which hand you "point" has nothing to do with eye dominance. I have to question if his instructor actually asked him to do this to determine which eye was dominant. "

My instructor didnt tell me to do this. I had just been reading on the net how to tell which eye is your most dominant one. They suggested pointing at something in the distance then closing each eye in turn and see which eye still showed the finger as pointing directly at the object. If the object was lined up when you shut your left eye then you were right eye dominant. and vice versa.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Some results:

I had the opportunity to shoot last night, at a new course, a course that was much, much more difficult than my home course (more longer/crossing/speed demon targets) - and I did very well (32/50). More important than my score, is that I felt great about my shooting. My flinching is not completely gone; I believe it will take some time to fully control/eliminate. Here is what I discovered and/or tried:

Muzzle blast - I was using ear plugs with minimal protection (Sonic II 6.0db protection) in order to more easily interact with other shooters - used better ear protection (foam plugs 30 db - so what if I can't hear my buddies making fun of me)

Fear of failure - I was worried about "my score" compared to others, this lead to lost confidence, once my confidence was gone terrible shooting resulted! (Did not look at my score, or others', until the round was over.)

Attitude adjustment - the purpose of sporting clays is not for a career change, it is for fun, enjoyment, and to sharpen my shooting skills - so what if I miss some birds

Visual contact - SEE THE BIRD, concentrate on the leading edge. (Before each shot I took a deep breath and opened my eyes wider than normal before calling. I believe this helped me pick up the targets quicker. I tried to keep my eyes open through the shot, but that did not happen every time.)

Employed more of a See, Move, Mount, Shoot method - the day I had the severe problems I started many stations with the gun mounted prior to calling for the targets which was not how I had shot previously.

Again, thanks to those that responded to my request. As Roger mentioned, "there are many reasons for flinching and the multiple ways of fixing the problem." Hopefully this dialog will help others as well.

jrg
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i have a possible solution to your flinching problem. Do you by any chance do any rifle shooting as well as your claybird shooting? If so, remember that with rifle shooting you're concentrating on the sights [crosshairs] and target at the same time as you are sqeezing the trigger. It's happened to me that going from rifle shooting a fair amount during that week to trapshooting that my flinching was the result of slowly squeezing the trigger as i lined up the beads on the bird, when the gun didn't fire immediately i would flinch anticipating the bang and recoil instead of pulling in the usual way.It's 2 different shooting styles and 2 different types of trigger pulls and i was mixing them up if i was doing too much of both prior to each other. Hope this may help.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Every once in a while I'll detect a slight flinch...I simply move my trigger finger to rest on the trigger guard and just slap the trigger when I see the right picture. ALWAYS seems to work for me...but I can't say why!
 
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