"Youíve got to get your mind right, Luke."
The first thing weíre going
to work on is your attitude toward this station because lots of shooters
head to Station 2 more worried about avoiding a miss than about hitting
the target. You will always miss birds at high 2, but hereís a news
flash for you Ė sooner or later, youíre going to miss them at every
other station, too.
In spite of what you think,
this station is no harder than any other; you just think it is, and
you think itís harder because you havenít got the right combination
of stance, hold point, eye position, break point, and focus. This bird
goes racing past. You toss your gun barrel out there into the unknown
somewhere ahead of the bird, and the referee calls "lost."
Well, weíre about to fix
CHAPTER 2: "Make a new plan,
Letís first go back to a
basic that all great shooters seem to have Ė they have a "shot plan."
Donít know what weíre talking about? Okay, go watch Tiger Woods, Phil
Mickelson, Davis Love, or any other professional golfer make a shot.
They do the same thing every single time; they never vary Ė same set-up,
same number of practice swings Ė and if anything interrupts them and
their routine, they start over again from scratch.
You need to have the same
approach to shoot skeet, especially Station 2. A shot plan doesnít have
to be fancy. Look at this example:
Step 1 Ė Be confident;
Step 2 Ė Establish break
Step 3 Ė Take a good stance;
And you donít have to recite
these steps each time you shoot, but you do have to follow them until
they become ingrained Ė until theyíre automatic, silent, quick, and
This is your first step
in successfully shooting Station 2.
CHAPTER 3: "So Bob short
strokes in skeet, too?"
The second step in conquering
Station 2 is nailing the low house (not a major problem for most shooters)
so that your confidence is already on the upswing because you already
KNOW youíre going to slaughter this bird.
The general consensus seems
to be to shoot the single low bird exactly where you shoot the double,
which is about one-third of the way from the center stake towards the
high house. If it works for you, donít change. If itís not working,
then shoot it at or slightly before the center stake.
Think about it. At or before
the center stake gives you a wider shot pattern because itís a little
further away and also gives you slightly less angle on the shot, so
lead becomes less critical. Also, the bird has not yet started to change
its trajectory as it does after the center stake when it starts to slow
down and drop.
You could also consider
the Bob Myers "short-stroke" system. Watch Bob sometime; he holds closer
to the center than you do on the incomers like low 2, and, although
he watches the bird as it emerges from the house, he doesnít move the
gun as quickly as you do because the bird takes longer to get to his
gun. When the bird gets to his gun Ė and as soon as he gets the first
instant of the proper sight picture Ė he fires. The gun doesnít move
far, which decreases his margin of error.
Lastly as to the low house,
if youíre still missing it, then you may want to want to patch your
off eye or adjust your patch if you already use one. Sometimes that
miss is caused by your eyes switching off, that is, by an erratic eye
dominance. Your dominant eye isnít necessarily dominant all the time,
depending on how tired you are or the sun or lots of other factors.
If that happens, you may see the same lead but itís from your other
eye, and it wonít be the lead you need to break the bird.
Even people with patches
sometimes donít have them in the right place, either. Remember, all
youíre trying to do is cloud the vision of your off eye from the mid-bead
to the front sight. You really want the off eye to see Ė just not help
sight the gun, so blocking it off completely with too big or too solid
a patch takes away that eye entirely, and you may as well be shooting
with one eye shut.
CHAPTER 4: "Sure, you can
read the directions, but thatís not very manly."
Ready to kick butt on the
high house? Iíve got the answer Ė guaranteed! Sharpen those No.2 pencils
and get out that legal pad, Ďcause here it comes. Ready? GO READ TODD
BENDERíS ARTICLE IN THE OCTOBER 2000 SKEET SHOOTING REVIEW. This kid
Bender probably wonít amount to much in the skeet world, but he sure
has written a nice article on high 2. In fact, in two pages, he has
written the DEFINITIVE article on high 2.
In summary, hereís what
he says: Foot position Ė right-hand shooter, face the low house; left-
hand shooter, face the high house. Hold point Ė three feet out from
straight to the baseline; HOLD LOW; Eye position Ė just off the barrel
back towards the house; Break point Ė anywhere from 15 feet before the
center stake to the center stake.
If you arenít shooting high
two like this and youíre hitting the bird, then, once again, donít change
anything. If, on the other hand, you arenít shooting high two like this,
and you arenít hitting the bird, then why donít you change?
By the way, this is a good
time to bring up a wonderful little gem. Sometimes, we have a shooter
who tries something new a total of about three shots, doesnít break
the bird, and then abandons the new idea, dismissing it, and us, as
stupid. Well, realize that this might not be your only shooting flaw
and that you might still miss the target because you have thirty-eleven
other little flaws to overcome as well.
Correcting problem #1 wonít
make you hit the target when problems #2, 3, 4, 5, Ö are also making
you miss. In other words, donít chuck a new idea quite so fast. Give
it four or five OR FIVE HUNDRED shots before you decide it doesnít work.
Also, Bender stresses a
very important point: Lots of misses occur at high 2 because you hold
too high. Get somebody to stand behind you and make sure youíre holding
at the bottom of the door. Most shooters seem to find it easier to go
up than down anyway. A high hold frequently makes you slide over the
top of the bird, plus, as Todd says, the lower hold ensures that you
have a clear and unobstructed view of the target the entire way, even
if it drops on you.
CHAPTER 5: "But you said
Iíd shoot 100. Did the referee miscount?"
Okay, youíre doing all of
the above according to Bender, you have a positive attitude, and you
still canít hit high 2. Letís look at four final thoughts.
First, consider customizing
Toddís comments to your individual style. You may find, for example,
that the bird still beats you, so experiment with moving the hold point
a little further out or the eye position a little further back towards
the house rather than "just off the barrel." In short, you may have
to customize your mechanics slightly to meet your needs, but donít vary
them too much because, quite frankly, his method is proven, and youíre
missing because youíre not following it.
Second, are you keeping
the Bermuda Triangle intact? Extend your arms full length in front of
you and put your palms together. See the triangle formed by your shoulders
and your arms? Now, rotate your body left or right by moving your legs,
not your arms, and notice that the triangle doesnít change itís shape.
Go stand on Station 2 and do the same thing. If you keep that triangle
consistent by moving your legs, youíll be able to focus on that target
better. It wonít seem as jerky or fast. If you push the gun left or
right by moving the arm holding the fore-stock without swiveling your
body, youíre changing the triangle, and the gun is no longer shooting
where youíre looking.
Third, are you "leaving
home" on this shot? Since the timing is probably more important on this
shot and low 6 than any other place on the field (with the possible
exception of Station 8), jumping out in front of the bird and then having
to wait for it gets you nothing but "O" on the score sheet. With your
mechanics correct, thereís a lot more time to smash this target than
you were accustomed to having, so wait until you see the little sucker
before you do anything. Get your buddies to give you an erratic or slow
pull now and then to see if you start moving the gun too early.
Lastly, are you really sure
youíre focused on the bird? After youíve incorporated the "Bender Basics"
above, this is the single biggest reason for missing high 2. You think
youíre focused, but youíre not. You have got to stare holes in that
bird. Look for the rotation; look for the ribs or edges; look for the
line where the orange meets the black; look for anything to keep you
focused on the target and make sure you maintain the focus from the
point when you first see the bird until after it flies into little birdy
Imagine a big yardstick
starting at the door of the high house and stretching along the flight
of the bird out past the center stake. When you watch that target fly,
itís like trying to read each number on that yardstick as you move your
head left to right. If you canít read those imaginary numbers, you ainít
Now weíre back to Step
1 on everybodyís shot plan Ė BE CONFIDENT. So go do it.
and Randy Lindsay