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Learn to Miss

By: Paul Giambrone, III

Say what?  Learn to miss?  Are you serious?  Just take a moment and think of all of the countless hours, ammo, and time we have spent learning how to break targets.  Could you add them up?  I know, speaking from experience, that there is no way I could count the hours I have spent learning how to break targets and how much ammo I have gone through the past 20 years.  Most shooters see me being 27 think I have natural talent in this game, but the truth is, it is learned ability over 20 years.  I can say this, I can’t even imagine how many YEARS, that’s right years, I have spent learning how to shoot the way that I do and how to do it consistently.  Sure, I know how to break targets, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I learned how to properly deal with a miss when it occurs.  Most of the time we know when we are going to miss which infuriates us even more or we simply do not let it go, which generally leads to another miss. 

Speaking with my trainer, Bob Palmer, and a good friend of mine from Katy, TX, the same topic came up this week and both involved how to deal with a miss or adversity.  Strange thing, I have been coaching a lot of repeat clients and the topic in my clinics with these shooters has been on how to deal with adversity when it strikes.  The simple answer is simply move on after a miss.  We can’t do anything about the shot once it has been fired, we do not get a mulligan or two, although that would be nice if we hit so many in a row we could have the option to buy a mulligan…  Anyways, once the shot is fired, we can’t get it back, so what exactly is the point in dwelling on the miss?  I think it’s a good idea to dwell on the miss if you would like to proceed and miss another one because you haven’t let the first one go.  Attention to my young shooters out there, move on to the next target!  In my teen years, I cannot tell you how many targets I sacrificed just off this one principle of not letting the first miss go.  Also, my Italian and Irish buddies, same applies to you as well!  Just kidding, it really applies to everyone and we are all guilty of one miss bothering us leading to another miss.  By the way, I am not just talking about temper tantrums; I am also speaking to the shooters who are constantly trying to figure out what they did “wrong” in order to miss the shot.

Well, what is the solution besides saying “move on?”  I like to have a quick review of the previous shot, and let me stress the word QUICK.  I have 3 things that I review in order to see if I took my best shot or not:

1)      Was I ready for the shot?

2)      Did I move on the flash or initial streak of the target?

3)      Did I stare at the target as I pulled the trigger?

First off, notice that 2 of the 3 questions that I ask myself involve the start.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to be ready and set at the start and move as soon as you see the flash (the flash being the initial streak or blur of the target when you first see it after calling for the target).  I would say that almost 90% (or more) of misses or bad shots involve a bad start.  So, before calling for the target be sure that you are set and ready that way you can get off to a good start.  Lastly, assuming you got off to a good start, did you finish strongly by starring at the target or were you looking at the gun barrel to get a precise “measurement” on the target?  By the way, if you ask yourself and you think “well I thought I got a good look…”  that means you didn’t get a good look at the target.  You know when you get a good look at the target.  Now, if you can answer all 3 of these questions and answer them honestly and you did everything you could, you took your best shot possible for that day.  You can’t ask for anything better.  However, if you are consistently taking your “best shot,” and the target isn’t breaking, chances are there is a fundamental or technique problem that you may need a coach to fix.

            Notice how the review is very quick and not very time consuming?  There is a reason I do this and that is to prevent me from dwelling on the miss.  Also, I do not get caught up in the endless debate of “Did I pick up my head, did I leave early, did I set my feet in the right spot, why did I look at the plane flying overhead?”  These type of questions lead down the path that you already know…a train wreck.  These questions put our brains in a frenzy state to the point we become so worried about our techniques and other things that we completely forget to focus on the next target (and we wonder why we can’t get back on track).  Now take that same state of frenzy, after missing a couple more, the brain finally calms down and we go back to focusing on the targets and amazingly they start breaking again.  Imagine that!  When we put our focus back on the target and doing the RIGHT THINGS instead of trying to figure out what we are doing wrong, we start breaking targets again.  This is no coincidence.  All it means is that when you miss, review the shot quickly, and start your normal routine again on how you are going to break the next target, instead of putting your focus on the countless things that COULD be going wrong…

If you have any questions or comments, please email me directly at and visit for more information!  Please check the website for upcoming tournaments and clinics in your area and keep in mind that GSC is now in the DFW area!  GSC will be available to teach in the Dallas/Fort Worth area all year-round!  Please call for lesson availability today! 

Tip of the month:      Always remember, that once the shot is over, there is nothing we can do about it.  Good or bad, the shot is over.  The next shot requires your 100% complete attention on how you are going to break it, not on what went wrong on the previous shot.  Keep your normal routine and break each target one station, one shot at a time. 

This article is copyrighted and the property of Paul Giambrone, III  Any use or reproduction of this article or any content without the written consent of Paul Giambrone, III is prohibited.


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