I hear certain instructors talk about commitment to breakpoints. I also see articles written about it. My breakpoints tend to vary a bit. I usually break the targets in the same general area but I tend to pull the trigger when everything feels and looks right? Is that OK? Shouldn’t I put more emphasis on focusing on the target rather than breaking the target in a certain place?
Commitment to breakpoint is one of the essential requirements of consistency in sporting clays. If, at a particular sporting clays station, you break the first target of a pair in a different place each time, then you are shooting a different target each time. If your breakpoints are inconsistent and random, the target will likely be at a different angle, different distance, different trajectory or possibly at a different speed when you pull the trigger. As such, you will need to change another aspect of your move to compensate for the different breakpoint.
Additionally, your timing and move to the second target will be affected, forcing you to shoot the second target differently. The key to consistency in sporting clays is to break all target pairs at a given station the same way and in the same place every time. Committing to your chosen break points starts with sound breakpoint selection. Develop your plan for engaging the targets as you always do, ensuring that you landmark your breakpoint. As you visualize the flight of the target, select a point along the flight line, just before the break point, at which you will apply acute focus to the target. Consistent timing of your focus is another essential element of consistency. Make sure that your interval of intense focus is relatively short (no more that 1 to 1.5 seconds) and that you can maintain sharp visual focus through the break point and shot execution.
On targets with a longer flight time, timing your focus becomes an important factor in ensuring that your eyes don’t relax or “give up” on the target by the time it reaches the breakpoint. “Dragging” the barrel past your break point or “riding the target” in an effort to measure and make the shot look perfect, will weaken your commitment to breakpoints and detract from your consistency.