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FT Blog: Missing the Point?

FT Blog: Missing the Point?

There are 50 ways to leave your lover, according to Paul Simon that is. Now I have no plans in that direction but I have been wondering over the last few weeks just how many ways there are to miss a target. Why? Well apart from being shallow and thinking of little else other than shooting, it does seem that every time I address a particular issue with my shooting I let another aspect ruin my game. I feel a bit like Homer Simpson, whenever I learn something new I have to make room for it in my head by forgetting something else, wedding anniversary, day of the week, I think you get the picture.

I believe it is considered bad practice to focus on the negative aspects of our shooting technique as it serves to reinforce bad habits. What we should be doing is concentrating on the positive aspects, thinking about how we hit a particular target so that we can repeat it, rather than why we missed.

BAD DAY BLUES

Now that is fine inside your own head and possibly to be encouraged from a self improvement point of view. But if you’ve just had a bad day at the range do you want to listen to someone tell you how their perfect shot took down that tricky target? Possibly not. Let’s stick with the negative for a time then as I think back over my 2014 FT year and where I went wrong, hopefully it will be more fun (and be a longer article) than talking about my good shots!

My standing shooting, I feel, has always been of a reasonable standard. In my youth I did a little 10m shooting and that has stood me in good stead. Unfortunately that was a long time ago and distances have increased. This has had the unfortunate consequence of more misses on standers. Most FT targets that are taken from this position aren’t far enough to be a worry from a rangefinding, or for that matter, a wind point of view. On the whole we are talking about marksmanship. During the early part of the year I was missing too many standing shots and I think basically I wasn’t trying hard enough, snatching at the trigger when I was somewhere close to the target rather than aiming properly. A little concentration and things started to improve over the summer only to be replaced by a new ineptitude, the inability to hit 15mm targets.

RELAX

I have mentioned these problems in recent articles, so you can see how much it bothers me but the 15mm targets we shoot are close range so you can see why. In the end I discovered that my left hand which supports the forend was tensing up with the effect of pushing the shot high and right as I released the trigger. It only took five months of the Grand Prix series to figure that one out! Once I started to make sure I was relaxed before taking these shots I have started to hit them. So with my standers improving and the little targets no longer so frightening there should have been no stopping me towards the end of the summer and the big end of season events.

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The European Championship held each year at The Midland Game Fair is definitely one to win. There have always been substantial (in FT terms) cash prizes up for grabs and this year Air Arms gave the winner an FTP900, not bad! Day one of the two day comp went well for me, I finished in the chasing pack and didn’t have the pressure of expectation to contend with on day two. Still I proceeded to make a right old mess of it finishing out of the top ten and well down the leader board, so no presents for the family this Christmas.

FRUSTRATION = MISSES

The reasons behind this performance on day two? My ability to stand up and take a shot left me and a couple of poor shots on relatively simple targets led to frustration. This in turn led to more misses which was particularly apparent on kneeling and at 25mm where you need to be on top of things. If those simple shots had been caused by a freak gust of wind I would have been alright. But it was me aiming and thinking ‘something isn’t quite right here, the crosshair is in the picture, so is the target, it isn’t that far, I know I’m not comfortable but it isn’t that far. So I’ll not bother setting up the shot again, I’m good at FT so I’ll just pull at the trigger and…’ DINK a miss. No great surprise, I have done the same thing time and time again, you’d have thought I’d have learnt by now.

I gave myself a good talking to on the drive home, well wept a little actually as I was on my own and no one would know, and at the first MFTA winter league shoot scored 39 ex 40, better!

PERFECTLY WRONG

The following weekend at the British Masters I managed to miss-dial my scope for a target, something I haven’t done in a long, long, time. That target and yet more poor standing cost me dear. Once more I pulled myself together for the Showdown on the following day managing to beat FT star Jack Harris in the first round. Pity then that I didn’t follow that up in the second as I was beaten fairly and squarely by Scott Robinson. He gave me ample opportunity to take the lead but among my misses I made the classic FT mistake of aiming just outside the kill on a target that I wasn’t certain there was wind rather than just inside the kill. Sure enough a perfect shot landing right on the crosshair, just where I shouldn’t have been aiming.

I have suffered from other more general causes of misses this year too. My trigger technique is shocking at the moment leading to snatched shots. This hasn’t been helped by the fact I am too lazy to set it properly on the rifle too. At times I have tried too hard, others not hard enough. My concentration has also been elsewhere too. Still all of this is why I love shooting FT, I’m sure it would be boring hitting all the targets all of the time.

Ending on a more positive note my equipment has performed flawlessly. A good job, I have enough problems of my own without worrying about my rifle and scope!

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  • FT Blog: Missing the Point? - image {image:count}

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  • FT Blog: Missing the Point? - image {image:count}

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  • FT Blog: Missing the Point? - image {image:count}

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  • FT Blog: Missing the Point? - image {image:count}

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