Bust More Clays – Tips from a 5-Time Olympic Medalist, Kim Rhode
Some people can lay claim to competing among the best, Kim Rhode has the hardware to prove she is the best. The only person in any sport to ever medal in five consecutive Olympic games, Rhode set another record shooting at the London Olympics in 2012 crushing 99 out of 100 clays during the competition. And she shows no signs of slowing down, maintaining an aggressive appearance and competitive schedule (and she’s a new mom giving birth to son Carter earlier this year), you have to wonder if she will break her own record and pull off medaling in six consecutive Olympics when they are held in Brazil in 2016. Our money is on Rhode!
In the meantime, with the dove opener quickly approaching and the coming autumn promising cooler days for the range and the field, the Olympian offers these tips to improve your wingshooting by hitting the range and busting more clays.
1. Check to See Which Eye is Dominant — Before ever picking up a firearm, determine whether you are left- or right-eye dominant. You can do this by overlapping your hands, thumbs extended, to form a small opening. Look at a distant object through the opening with both eyes open, and continuing to focus on that object, draw your hands slowly toward your face. If you keep focused on the object, your hands will soon rest over your dominant eye. If you are left-eye dominant, it’s best to learn to shoot left-handed even if you are right-handed. Since many people reading this have probably already learned to shoot and just may be discovering that they’ve been aiming from the wrong eye their entire lives, Rhode suggests placing a piece of scotch tape vertically on the left lens of your shooting glasses directly over the pupil of your eye. This forces the right eye to take over when aiming without blocking the necessary peripheral vision need to pick up flying targets. If you are right handed and right-eye dominant, you’re good to go!
2. Ensure Proper Gun Fit — When you shoulder a shotgun, it should come up smoothly and fit into the pocket of your shoulder the same place every time. If you have to wiggle your head around to get the proper sight picture, go to a gun shop that specializes in shotguns and have a proper fitting performed or talk to a qualified gunsmith about possible modifications to your gun’s stock.
3. Properly Align Your Eyes — The pupil of your eye should be directly centered over the rib of the barrel, and the back bead should appear just under the front bead to form a figure 8. You may need to put an adjustable comb on your stock so that you can get the right height and the right offset (left and right) to place your eye reliably in the right spot.
4. Take Lessons — To learn to fly a plane or play an instrument or any other number of activities, most people take lessons. Even golfers often take lessons from a pro. So should shooters. Shooting lessons from a qualified instructor are worth every penny, especially if you’re new to shooting clay targets.
5. Pick a Point — Rhode tries to pick a point on whatever she’s shooting, whether it’s the front edge of the target or a bright spot, and she focuses at the target and not the end of her barrel. She keeps her finger pointed on the forend parallel to the barrel and uses that finger to guide her aim.
6. Build Muscle Memory — “Practice makes perfect” may be a cliché, but it is true, particularly with shooting. Build muscle memory through repetitive practice so that you can replicate those shots every time you step into the box ready to shoot.
7. Use the Right Ammunition — You and your gun are only as good as your ammo and it’s important that you shoot the best. Rhode has been shooting Winchester shotshells since she was 10.
Winchester Ammunition, The American Legend. The global leader in sporting, law enforcement, military, and personal defense ammunition.
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