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Ask The Instructor: Practice

Question: What is the best way for a C, D or E class shooter to practice?

Answer: A beginning shooter should concentrate on getting your eyes, hands and gun working together to break some easy targets. Start on going-away and incoming targets, then gradually introduce more angle: quartering targets, then crossing targets, followed by specialty targets. More experienced competitors who find themselves frustrated and stalled in C or D class probably haven’t developed an effective practice strategy. Here are some tips for enhancing your game:

Increase your target database. Become proficient at breaking a wider variety of targets by exposing yourself to different clubs and different target setters. If you can, plan to travel to some bigger shoots out of your home area like a state championship, regional championship, or the National Championship. The larger the variety of targets you are exposed to, and the more difficult they are, the less likely it is that a particular target presentation will stump you come competition day.

Compete, don’t just practice. The psychological conditions of a tournament are hard to replicate, so compete regularly. Just as you have to be in good technical shape to break tougher targets consistently in competition, you also have to be in tough mental shape. Regular competition yields mental toughness.

Practice to a standard. Hold yourself accountable to achieve specific standards in practice, like breaking five straight pairs before moving to the next station. While you can’t replicate the mental conditions of competition, you can get close. Compete against a buddy who is of equal or higher skill level.

Practice repetition. It’s the easy targets we missed that haunt us most. For honing your mental game, practice high reps on a skeet field or on targets of only moderate difficulty. Concentrate on flawlessly executing your pre-shot routine. Repetition is the key.

Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at

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