Analysis Paralysis: Why You Should Never Think While Shooting

I’m indebted to my friend John Thomas for this one. John is a retiree who teaches rich people how to shoot a shotgun, and we were talking the other day about a client of his who couldn’t hit a crossing target.

“His problem,” said John, “is he thinks about it. It’s a clear case of analysis paralysis.”

Truer words were never spoken. If you want to miss with a shotgun, or a rifle in most cases, just think about what you’re doing. Gene Hill used to say that the ideal trapshooter would be a gorilla who knew how to handle a gun; he’d be too dumb to analyze, and recoil wouldn’t bother him.

A classic case; I’ve been shooting in a summer trap league, and when I stand on Station 5 I stand almost square to the target to give myself a better swing at the hard right angle bird. As I called pull during one shoot, I realized that my feets were in the wrong position, and was thinking about that instead of thinking about nothing. Did I miss? Is a pig’s ass pork? I felt a little better because one of the geezers on the squad completely lost track of what he was doing, thought we had finished, and racked his gun—until we called his attention to it.

A couple of other things: Can rich people shoot, you ask? By and large, no. Can John Thomas shoot? Oh boy.