Training yourself to see the shot coming from the muzzle is a great way of offering better shooting advice to your friends, as Edward Watson explains.

Seeing the shot is one of the most important parts of any shooting instructor’s armoury when giving shooting advice. If you can’t see the shot then I believe it’s very difficult to teach properly. The good news is you can teach people to see the shot, but sadly this often takes more than a day.

So what do you actually see? It’s a grey mass about one to two metres long and your eyes pick it up about midway between the end of the muzzle and the target. You have to focus as hard as you would if you were shooting the targets yourself. You may be lucky and see it the odd time. The maximum distance you will see it is 60 to 70 yards before it disappears.

Get your shooting advice right

When and if you see the shot, it can be a great help to your friends. If they are behind the clay you can advise this and help them give more lead to improve their shooting. However, it’s very important not to put too much emphasis on where they miss, but why they are missing.

You can help your friends to get on the clays at the right point in the sky, which will then help with the timing of the shot. I call this: finding the connection point with the clay, and it’s possible to be both too early and too late. However, when you get it right, you know and you have time on the shot to make a good kill.

When you stand behind your friends loading and helping, you will see this better because you don’t have the gun in your hand and you see things in real time. Many of you will know the feeling of having someone on the peg with you, telling you to get on the bird earlier, and the annoying truth is they are probably right.

If you are lucky you may see the shot and that’s great, but make sure you think before you say those awful words: “You’re behind it I think.” Is that actually what you saw? You’re better off saying nothing than giving bad shooting advice.