Pro Tips for Sporting Clays: Episode 1

Pro Tips for Sporting Clays: Episode 1

Emily is accompanied by guests Brad Kidd, Jr. (National Champion), and David Radulovich (FITASC World Champion), who will be going over basic fundamentals and tips that every shooter should know.  

David and Brad are both asked to shoot the same hard crossing clay, and they talk us through their individual focal points, hold points, break points, and how they each approach this particular shot.

Tips from David Radulovich

David's chosen break point is right before the bird starts to fall. Once he's established his break point, he then chooses his hold point. To do this, David comes back 65% of the way on his line (comes back towards the trap), so he's not too close to where he gets beat by the target, but not too far out that he has to wait for it - David wants to make sure that he has enough time to establish a connection and maintain a consistent lead for a moment. His focal point will be as far back on the line as possible while still being able to see the bird. For this shot, David's eyes will be right on the trap.

Pro tip from David: "If your eyes don't work this fast, then don't use the trap as your focal point. Instead, put your eyes in a spot where you can see the bird. Ensure that this is a spot where your eyes are comfortable picking up the target, so it does not go past." Upon review of his ShotKam video, we can see that David maintains the same lead throughout the whole shot (sustained lead). 

Setup from Brad Kidd, Jr.

In comparison, Brad's focal point is further out from the trap, and his hold point is slightly closer to the trap because he likes to spend more time in the gun and with the bird. Brad's technique is based more on feel, so he chooses his break point by watching the bird and finding the spot where he feels as though the target slows down. Upon review of Brad's ShotKam video, we see that he matches the speed of the bird, and when the target feels slow to him, he "pulls away" and takes his shot. This all happens because he maintains "soft hands" with no tension in his move.

Pro tips from Brad: "Set up your feet, stance, and ankle/toe line to the break point, and unwind during the shot. Keep your hands soft, and keep your eyes out in the field and on the bird (not on the gun)."

Summary and Highlights

Even though different methods of shooting were used by David and Brad (sustained lead and the pull away method, respectively), we are able to see that they both had the same exact lead at the time that their shots were taken. 

More pro tips:

  • To setup your gun mount, place the gun into the pocket of your shoulder at a 45 degree angle, then bend down at your central point of balance. 
  • Keep your non-trigger hand "neutral" and directly under the forend when holding your gun. Having your hand directly underneath the forend will ensure that you are not "steering" the gun left or right when taking your shot, increasing your accuracy and precision.
  • Don't let your hands be responsible for putting the gun where it needs to be. Instead, use all parts of your body together cohesively to make the big moves to the bird. Leave your hands with the job of making the small, precise motions.
  • In regards to weight distribution in your stance, your weight should be 50/50 between your left and right foot. Additionally, your weight should be disbursed 50/50 between the front and back of each foot as well. 

In the next episode of "Pro Tips for Sporting Clays," David and Brad will cover which chokes they use, how guns pattern and why that is important, and more. Episode 2 will be coming to your inbox next Thursday at 4:00 PM.


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David Radulovich: 


Brad Kidd Jr.: