3 million views. If you type 'world record longest shot at a clay pigeon', you will find George doing his magic and as a result, with 3 million views (and counting) it is still one of the top viral clay shooting videos in history. Digweed kills a 130 yards bird (clay pigeon, for you newbies). And it really makes me wonder if he is an alien. How on earth can someone do that using standard cartridges? I just think this man must have been a shotgun himself in his previous life.
As a recent clay pigeon shooting 'aficionada', I am still working on how to perfect my style when I swing through, and I still work on the mental part of the sport, which is key in competitions, and most importantly, I am still trying to get over the constant fight between my brain and my eyes when I shoot long distance clays: my eyes see the clay and want to "shoot it there" whilst my brain knows the barrel needs to be ahead of it. The result? I shoot behind the bird.
You might (or might not) relate to this, but sometimes I have a great shooting month, in which every single time I shoot, I feel satisfied with my technique and I feel I do improve in each session, but then, there are other times in which I feel I am stuck, and I do not improve at all. Like if I had lost my “shooting mojo”.
This is what I call the 'shooting roller coaster': one month you shoot great, next month you shoot like a newbie, then back to a great shooting and then down again. Those are symptoms of an inconsistent shot.
If you, like myself, find yourself in a ‘shooting roller coaster’, the only prescription is to get a good coach. As expensive as it may sound, get an instructor. And if you can't, then take one of your mates with you, and ask him to film you so you can see for yourself the mistakes you are making.
Apart from my instructions, when I have one of those bad months, I like to spend time watching clay pigeon shooting videos to study what professionals do and how they do it. This is important for me, as I believe the human brain is like a sponge, and just as we can absorb moods from people around us, we can also acquire shooting styles and techniques, so I am very picky with whom I watch on youtube.
Needless to say, one of my favourites is Digweed, because regardless of how many times I see him shooting I always think the same: “HOW DO YOU DO THIS, GEORGE? HOW!?”.
He has the perfect technique and “shoots like an angel”. I watched all his videos in YouTube. I see how everyone admires him, I love the way he explains how he shoots, and seems to have such a strong and yet so humble personality. He knows he is the best and he still seems to be a nice man. I really admire that, and I really hope I meet him soon!.
There is one video, in which he comments on the mental aspect of shooting and he briefly explains what he feels when he is shooting, he doesn’t calculate like us newbies do, he doesn’t think when he shoots, he is steady and ready when he calls for a clay, and above all things, he has the perfect mount and position. So taking his technique into consideration, I always try to copy him, but there is always something I simply cannot get over with, and that is my brain and eyes fighting to decide where I should shoot: is the clay where I see it, or is it really a few meters ahead of where I see it?
For those of you who struggle with this, I can only tell you what I do (and it doesn’t mean it will work for you, but you can try):
Before calling for the clay, visualisation is key it, and imagine the speed it will be thrown at. Then, imagine the line, and when you envision that little orange clay flying across the sky, try to make the barrel become a magnet that sticks to the clay (try to find that connection between the clay and yourself through the barrel).
Then seconds before you call for the clay repeat this to yourself: “It is not where my eyes see it, it is ahead of where I see it”. Call for the clay, and let’s see if your brain is able to manipulate your eyes now, just because it is the last thing you heard before shooting.
The reason why I think this works for me is because I was never used to talk to myself when I shoot as I am very focused on the clays, but if I talk to myself, and I say what I have to do, going through the movements step by step, then this works as a stronger reminder to my eyes, so they don’t decide for my brain and I don't end up shooting slower than I am supposed to.
It is a poor trick but until I become a female version of George Digweed, you will have to take my very humble advice.
Repeat to yourself: "It is not where I see it, it is ahead of where I see it".
All the best,