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“Helpful Squadmate” Etiquette

By February 19, 2020 No Comments

Question:

I am very new to this sport. I’ve abandoned golf and am hooked on Sporting Clays. I recently shot at my first registered Sporting Clays event. I was placed in a squad with total strangers (nice guys). I was shooting poorly (I’ll admit I was nervous). In the middle of shooting, I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard, “You’re not following through.” A few stations later I feel another “tap tap” and hear, “You need to get in front of that bird two more feet.” Later, while I was standing in the box shooting, I was surprised to hear a lot of chatter and conversations from other squads waiting to shoot. What is the etiquette for offering unsolicited advice? And, as a former golfer, is the shooting stage like a putting green where silence should be the rule?

Answer: 

There is nothing more annoying than unsolicited and especially unwanted advise while in the shooting stand.

For NSCA registered events, coaching someone while in the stand is not specifically prohibited by NSCA rules, but interrupting the harmony and flow of the shooting process, is. More often than not, the advice from these well-meaning squad-mates is incorrect anyway.

Within your question, lies a classic example. It is a common misconception that the cure for inadequate “follow-through” is to “keep swinging the gun!” That is patently false. The primary cause of a shooter’s shotgun slowing down or stopping during execution is lack of “visual follow-through,” not physical follow-through. In other words, the gun will continue to move to and through the breakpoint as long as the shooter’s acute focus remains on the target.

The best advise to give a shooter while in the stand is no advice at all unless the shooter specifically asks for it. And even then, advice should be rendered only in subtle ways so as to maintain the natural flow of the event. In FITASC, a judge may actually call the “helpful coach” for interference.

Bottom line: save the advice for the clubhouse, not the shooting stand. And while everyone around the shooting stand should be mindful of creating a distraction for a shooter in the shooting stand, not everyone is unfortunately.

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