Kim Rhode

Bust More Clays – Tips from a 6-Time Olympic Medalist, Kim Rhode

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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.

Kim Rhode and AA TrAAcker5. 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.

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