It was the beginning of the summer holidays and my grandpa decided he would teach us how to shoot. He set up the step ladder for us to balance dad’s old shotgun on (it was a bit too heavy for us seven year olds to hold) then placed an old can of woodpecker on a bench further up the hill towards the orchard and taught us patiently how to load, aim and shoot.
25 years on you could say I was a bit out of practice! So one weekend we threw on our boots, jackets and popped over to a shooting range near the house. When I say shooting range – its more like an assault course for clays. Various different traps release the clays at various different angles from straight up into the air or diagonally to scuttling along the ground. No still targets here, and certainly no woodpecker cans!
We popped into the office come café, and got kitted out with the right size and weight gun … (bringing a step ladder wasn’t an option) and headed over to our first trap. If you are doing it for the first time its 100% worth taking someone with you just to go through the ropes and make sure you feel comfortable with everything (we took dad 🙂 )
Taking it in turns to load we wandered around the various traps. When the shooter is ready targets are thrown either as singles or doubles from the traps which are normally around 15 m in front. The targets go at varying speeds, angles and elevations, sometimes there is just one, other times two or more. None of them are impossible – but it is a challenge to effectively learn when to fire to get a hit.
If you aim directly at the target you are going to miss (unless it is fixed!) so you need to figure roughly whereabouts to aim the front sight so that it is going to be in the trajectory of the clay at the right time. Effectively the clay falls into your shot.
Shooting is similar to archery in terms of the same concentration, calculation and focus – everything else in your mind just quietens as you focus on your one target.
Its funny how it takes being in the middle of the countryside with nothing but your tools and your goal to get that kind of laser focus and concentration.
No distractions, just pure strategy and execution.
There’s a lot to learn from those moments to bring back into everyday life – replicating that mind-set in other avenues of life could achieve amazing things.