The Wing and Clay Flyer:  Spring 2005
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Feature Article

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In the last issue we took a look at goal setting and an improvement program for the average wingshooter.  This issue we will continue by looking at how the average competitive shooter can improve through setting goals and having a plan for success.  As we discussed in the last issue, goal setting and an improvement program may not be required for you if you are satisfied with your current level of performance.

There are many similarities in goal setting for the wingshooter/hunter and the competitive clay shooter.  The primary difference is the level of commitment and dedication is much, much higher for the aspiring clay shooter.  Due to this commitment level, it also makes sense for the clay shooter to start out in goal setting by looking at the non-shooting parts of his or her life, asking questions of oneself, and providing honest answers.  Competitive clay shooting requires significant amounts of both time and money.  If your spouse/significant other/family also shoot, time away from home may not be an issue (however this can also increase the amount of money spent on entry fees! J).  Travel out of state may also be required, so be prepared to spend extra on fuel, lodging, meals, etc. in addition to tournament entry fees.  It would be difficult to become “world-champion” if you cannot afford to travel to the world shoot!  Having a clear picture of time and money allocation from shooting season to shooting season helps shooters be much more realistic of what goals can be accomplished in a given season.

As a competitive shooter, you should decide which shoots you will attend during the pre-season months.  The number of shoots (and targets shot) may depend on your individual aspirations.  For example, if you would like to make an all-state, or all-American team, there will be minimum target requirements that need to be met.  Picking shoots at the beginning of the season also helps you establish specific, long-term goals, such as moving up in class, earning punches, etc.  It is very helpful to look through the “Ranges and Tournaments” sections in the back of shooting magazines to align your personal calendar with your shoot calendar.

Once time and money limits have been established, and your shoot schedule is set, we can get on with the business of goal setting.  When I am helping my competitive clay-shooting students with goal setting, I try to avoid setting single event, outcome-oriented goals and instead focus on internal goals (things the student can control) and cumulative-effort goals (where success is measured over many outings). Single event, outcome-oriented goals, such as winning the state shoot, or becoming world champion can be self-defeating.  Winning a single event not only requires a perfect execution of individual effort, it also requires some degree of luck (good pulls, good weather, good lighting conditions, performance of other competitors, etc.).  Internal goals can be defined from the things that need to be done to consistently break targets.  Here are a

(Continued on page 4)

Goal Setting Part II:  Clayshooting Success