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Why does skeet get harder at age 70+?

Complaining again about my doggy-bag skeet score in my recent Combo Shoot, my wife said, "Well you are older, with a bad knee. What do you expect?"

Hmmmm? Why? Yes there are those that shoot good well into their 70s, but look at their averages. For nearly all, their averages go down. Why does skeet get harder at age 70+?

Because of Covid, surgery, and a slow recovery from surgery, I was away from skeet for a year+. Totally....no registered, no practice, no league. Total withdrawal. I've never recovered from that.

For a couple decades I pretty much did a winter skeet hibernation, but I always recovered in the spring. Not this time. Not after a yearlong break. Skeet practice is not convenient. It's an onerous drive with too much traffic I've been avoiding.

But even if I made the drive and had a genuine spring training I doubt I would recover. Mostly I've lost my mental game. My 'killer instinct' was always directed at me not the other shooters. That was always my trump suit. It's gone.

For me the mental game was always inextricably intertwined with the physical game. It's hard to keep the mental game going when the scores droop and crash. And without a strong mental game my scores will droop and crash.
 

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Our brains "discard" things/information/etc. that it doesn't need to keep our systems going. Laying off for a year with all the medical things you experienced caused your brain to eliminate skeet from its repertoire. When this happens we need to reestablish the connections (some call this Muscle memory). I experience this every spring and it seems to take longer every year.
 

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Not speaking from 70+ years old…but would assume as mentioned above muscle reflex deteriorates if not kept up. Skeet is all about the connection between eyes, brain and muscles. Eye hand coordination can be improved at any age. Find some exercises to do daily for the eyes and for eye hand coordination. Practice indoors with your gun mount and swing technique, focus on making them perfect and then work for speed.
Lastly don’t beat yourself up about score and focus on the fun aspect of shooting, relish in the ones you pulverize and forget the ones you missed.
 

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I turn 65 today. I am now officially OLD!! My left knee gave out during the Armed Forces Shoot last month and had to pull out. Never had knee problems before. Today I'm going to pick up a gun for the 1st time since and I will be wearing a Neenca knee compression sleeve and plan on wearing one every time I shoot from here on out, and that's either until I wear out or my ammo runs out!

Good article in Clay Target Nation magazine a couple of months ago by John Shima on coping with change as we get older. Page 54

Clay Target Nation : March 2022 (claytargetnation-digital.com)

One thing I've noticed that older shooters I shoot with don't do and also mentioned in this article is pay more attention to lens colors. Our eyes are probably the most important thing we have and being able to see the targets clearly always helps. If you wear prescription glasses make sure they are up to date.
 
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Here in Europe, where we only shoot ISSF skeet, it usually works that when you are too old and slow to shoot skeet anymore, you retire to the trap stand to shoot with the other old men. Screw in a modified choke on the lower barrel, full on the top, and head over to the trap stand and see what happens.
 
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You GOTTA stay in shape. As we age it gets harder to retain muscle. (FYI...I'm 62 and have worked out almost every day since I was 14). The core goes soft. If you're overweight, your back is going to suffer and then you REALLY go downhill. 99% of every 70 yr old I see has chicken legs. Spindly little chicken legs. You gotta fight that. As hard as you can. Keep your legs.....you keep your mobility.....and everything that comes with it. Wanna keep swinging a shotgun into your late 80's, you gotta want to and you gotta work at it to keep your body going. It may not workout as I am planning....but at least I have a plan.
 

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Vision loss and slower reflexes play a big part in my opinion. I am 74 and closing in on 75 fast. My vision has deteriorated greatly in the last 10 years and has played a big part in much lower scores than 15 years ago. You can't beat youth.
No such things as 70 year old baseball pitchers, basketball players or any other pro sports players either.
Old is old so I just do the best I can and enjoy what is left. Sad but true.
 

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You GOTTA stay in shape. As we age it gets harder to retain muscle. (FYI...I'm 62 and have worked out almost every day since I was 14). The core goes soft. If you're overweight, your back is going to suffer and then you REALLY go downhill. 99% of every 70 yr old I see has chicken legs. Spindly little chicken legs. You gotta fight that. As hard as you can. Keep your legs.....you keep your mobility.....and everything that comes with it. Wanna keep swinging a shotgun into your late 80's, you gotta want to and you gotta work at it to keep your body going. It may not workout as I am planning....but at least I have a plan.
62 huh? Spindly little chicken legs? That's OK, I understand the mindset. I'll keep the chicken legs. I remember when I was in my early 60's. That's about time that the "gravel" in my knees ground itself into sand. There is not much that can about without knee replacements. I'd prefer to have aches than be on blood thinners the rest of my life.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention one minor detail. Two cracked lumbar vertbrae and ruptured discs left me with 2 options. I had the option of spinal surgery, which would have left me unable to do any twisting, or bending, of my lower back, or learn to live with it.

The body deteriorates, that's just a fact. It happens more for folks that actually work for a living. For all of those folks, that sat at a desk, or walked around telling others what to do. Sooner or later, IT WILL GET YOU. I don't care how much you attempt to fight it off. Yeah, the docs, or one of those ad channels on TV will give you ideas on miracle cures. Go, ahead, try them. Watch your liver enzymes go through the roof.

I am in my mid 70's. 6' 3" and 190 lbs. I get more exercise going to my mailbox than some 60 year olds do in an excercise session. I swim several hours a day. Swimming seems to keep things loosend up and stretched out. Not to mention, swimming keeps Mean Mr. Gravity from playing with my supporting joints.
 

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62 huh? Spindly little chicken legs? That's OK, I understand the mindset. I'll keep the chicken legs. I remember when I was in my early 60's. That's about time that the "gravel" in my knees ground itself into sand. There is not much that can about without knee replacements. I'd prefer to have aches than be on blood thinners the rest of my life.

Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention one minor detail. Two cracked lumbar vertbrae and ruptured discs left me with 2 options. I had the option of spinal surgery, which would have left me unable to do any twisting, or bending, of my lower back, or learn to live with it.

The body deteriorates, that's just a fact. It happens more for folks that actually work for a living. For all of those folks, that sat at a desk, or walked around telling others what to do. Sooner or later, IT WILL GET YOU. I don't care how much you attempt to fight it off. Yeah, the docs, or one of those ad channels on TV will give you ideas on miracle cures. Go, ahead, try them. Watch your liver enzymes go through the roof.

I am in my mid 70's. 6' 3" and 190 lbs. I get more exercise going to my mailbox than some 60 year olds do in an excercise session. I swim several hours a day. Swimming seems to keep things loosend up and stretched out. Not to mention, swimming keeps Mean Mr. Gravity from playing with my supporting joints.
Oh I get it. I have 3 herniated discs. Had fusion surgery at C7/T1 a few years ago. No meniscus in my right knee. But I won't go down without a fight. Most aren't even in the game.

One can make excuses, or one can figure out a plan to keep pushing forward.
 
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