Recently, I wrote The Rookie’s Introduction to Clay Shooting to help new folks get a handle on what the various clay shooting sports are all about.
Now, let’s get serious and take a look at how to get started.
Although you can start your clay target shooting career in any of the primary disciplines – trap, skeet or sporting clays, I might encourage new shotgun shooters to take a run at trap shooting first. It’s not a hard and fast rule, just an opinion from some guy on the internet. (That would be me.)
Here’s why I tend to favor starting with trap shooting first. Because I did. But seriously, while my first foray into the shotgun sports was on the trap field, it was by pure coincidence and not a result of deliberate effort. That turned out to be a good thing.
In American Trap, you shoot at targets moving away from you at predictable angles. This means they’re easier to hit – especially for beginners. In the singles version of trap, you only get one shot at each target.
At the big regional and national competitions, you will see top shooters hit several hundred targets without a single miss. The competition might only be 200 targets total, but when the tie breakers start, competitors might shoot hundreds more targets before someone misses.
Lest you think becoming a trap shooting expert is easy, think about the mental voodoo games your brain does when you’ve hit 20, 50 or even 100 targets in a row. There’s some serious jinxing going on about hitting the next one. The top trap shooters are absolute masters when it comes to handling pressure and keeping focus on one thing only – the next target. People describe a trap competition as 200 consecutive one-shot competitions.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves talking about serious trap competition, but I only mention that as an illustration. It’s easy to get “sorta good” quickly. After a couple of rounds, with some basic instruction, you’ll be breaking more targets than you miss. That’s satisfying and will keep you coming back for more.
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