Dr Malcolm Plant, chairman of the Institute of Clay Shooting Instructors, gives a masterclass in target practice


Right-handed shooters should pay particular attention to possible target areas out to the right because this gun movement is rather more awkward. As such it will help to slightly favour this target with your foot positioning. The reverse applies for lefties.

A slightly weight-forward stance with a little more weight on the front foot (left foot for right-handers) is generally preferred by competent trap shooters. Adopting this posture helps greatly with our basic building block, particularly gun-mount and head position. The shotgun should place the shot pattern where you are looking, with your line of sight just grazing the rib of the gun. The key point here is that you must keep that head position throughout the shot. If you should lift your head from the gun “to look for the target”, you will surely shoot over the top because your brain now lines up your elevated eye with the gun muzzle and the target, placing the shot too high.

Head position

Trap guns are set up to shoot slightly high to cover going-away rising targets, so 
head lifting is a cardinal sin which places the shot even higher. Another bonus with this type of training is that it instills the benefit of keeping both eyes horizontal 
and level in relation to the stock and rib 
– a fundamental foundation where all shotgun shooting is concerned. We don’t attempt any other hand-eye co-ordination sports with our head canted over, do we? Watch our top cricket batsmen in action; even though they are standing side on to the bowler, their eyes always remain horizontal to ensure their view of the fast moving “target” remains true.

So, on the trap range we can hone an awareness of stance and gun-mount and establish an awareness of the gun-stock’s touch position on your cheek. All of which cements the right feel of alignment between your eye and the gun’s rib. After a few rounds, move to the skeet range…

  1. 1. Target practice
  2. 2. Down-the-line
  3. 3. Footwork
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Targets in clayshooting
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Skeet range
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