Bourjaily: Slow Down To Speed Up

Over the weekend I helped out at a Pheasants Forever Mentored Youth Hunt. PF, I should mention here, is my … Continued

Over the weekend I helped out at a Pheasants Forever Mentored Youth Hunt. PF, I should mention here, is my favorite of the single-species groups because they spend all their money locally, do good habitat work, and support youth hunting and shooting of all kinds. Anyway, it was my job to run three groups of kids through some shooting instruction before they went hunting. I’ve done this before, and I learn more from watching the kids shoot than they learn listening to me.

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This weekend’s takeaway: slow down to speed up.

Since the kids were going to shoot flushing birds, I had them start from a safe field carry position, then call pull, and mount and shoot. Naturally, all of them wanted to throw the gun up as fast as possible. The kids would whip the gun up, then have to readust their faces on the stock, then find the target again, and shoot.

Move slowly, I told them. Push the muzzle toward the bird like you’re trying to stick it with a bayonet and raise the gun to your face smoothly.

I expected them to start hitting targets better. What I didn’t expect was that they would start hitting targets faster. But they did. Moving slower got them on target sooner.

Watching over their shoulders, the difference in the speed and quality of their breaks was dramatic. Why? Because the mount was right the first time; because their eye was never pulled off target and onto the gun; because they were moving in synch with the bird. As they smoked birds effortlessly, the kids looked at me like I had taught them a magic trick, which, in a way, I had: our eye to hand coordination is capable of miraculous feats, if we just let it work.

Try it yourself: slow down, you’ll shoot faster.