Does your shooting run hot and cold? I have always maintained that people who say they are streaky are, in fact, just bad shots. However, after starting out 2 for 21 in the dove field the other day, then finishing by killing eight with eight shells, including a double, I have to rethink that. After all, 2 for 21, then 8 for 8 would have to be the very definition of streaky shooting.

Usually, I’m not that way. I’m consistent. Most days I’m pretty good, and I should be, after all these years of shooting. Other times, though, I’m consistently not on target. It happens.

The worst thing you can do when you’re missing, and I have learned this the hard way, is get down on yourself. Miss a few, start kicking yourself, and you risk spiraling downwards into misery, despair, self-pity and lots more misses. Never mind about your birds to shells ratio, or that you’re making a fool out of yourself in front of the whole dove field. Just think about the next shot, and sooner or later, the birds will start to fall. When they do, shooting a shotgun seems ridiculously easy. That’s when you go on those long runs that make up for previous misses.

Sportscasters always point out that great scorers in basketball keep shooting even when the ball isn’t going in. They know it will, and the really great ones are great because they don’t dwell on what’s already happened. They let go of the misses and keep shooting. That’s the attitude to take in the field, too. The commentators also often mention that even making an easy shot like a layup or a free throw boosts a shooter’s confidence and can get him or her back on track. If you’re missing, don’t despair. That easy shot will come along. You’ll make it, and you’ll be back to hitting again.