Thursday, October 14, 2021

Never say, “I wish I had taken Skeet Shooting Lessons”

  Introduction: 50-Second Trailer Video: Never say, “I wish I had taken Skeet Shooting Lessons” 


 My friend Mark invited me to go skeet shooting. My first inclination was to say, “Thank you, but I know little about skeet shooting, I have never shot skeet, and I do not have a shotgun.” Mark’s positive response was, “I will teach you.”  Mark continued with my motivational mantra, “Never say, I wish I had.”  I was forced to concede to his skeet shooting challenge.

 Definition of Skeet Shooting

Skeet shooting is the dynamic sport of shooting at 4 –5” targets (called clay pigeons or birds) thrown in the air, generally with a clay target thrower machine. In my case, a shotgun is used to shoot at the clay targets thrown.  In skeet shooting, targets are launched from two houses in somewhat sideways paths that intersect in front of the shooter. 

An Upper and Lower House Skeet Shooting Range

As I delved into this sport with Mark, I learned Skeet Shooting is an Olympic sport. I watched the 2020 Olympics woman’s and men’s Skeet Shooting events. The 2020 Olympics certainly helped get me excited about learning more about this vibrant sport.

 My first two lessons

 A friend, Al, invited us to use his wooded rural property with a temporary range to expose me to the sport of skeet shooting.  Foremost in learning skeet is to master the rules of gun safety protocol.  Knowing AND practicing gun safety is a MUST.  Skeet shooting is very safe, in that, like learning to fly an airplane, the participant cannot break the safety rules without receiving harsh warnings and possible exclusion from the sport.  Any safety lapse is never taken lightly.

 Mark demonstrated the shooting stance, the technique of melding the shotgun to the cheek, mounting the gun to the shoulder, sighting the target with the gun bead, and other suggestions to prepare me to shoot the flying clay bird. After that, he critiqued each shot I fired.

 I will make this introduction brief. I had two lessons from Mark, firing about 50 rounds at the flying clay targets.  My initial score was hitting ZERO of FIFTY targets.  Mark recommended more intense instruction from Bill Rody of Rody Gun Shop in Newport, New Hampshire.  Bill came highly recommended by Mark as both a master instructor and skeet shooter.

 Skeet Shooting Instructions for a Novice skeet shooter

 The below video of this novice skeet shooter was taken during my third of three lessons with Bill. You can watch the full thirty minute video, or three individual videos.

 One more thing.  At the end of my third lesson, I hit about a third of the targets.

Here is the 30-minute video that covers: Understanding your Shotgun - Right from the box, Snippetts of Steve's range shooting instructions with Bill Rody, and Cleaning the shotgun.

 Enjoy this video.

Here are the individual parts of the 30-minute video:

Part 1: Understanding your shotgun – Right from the box (12 Minutes)

Part 2: Snippets of Steve’s range shooting instruction with Bill Rody (11 minutes) 

Part 3: Cleaning the shotgun (7 minutes) 

 My Novice Perspective

 As you watch the videos, keep in mind the perspective is from a novice  with very little skeet experience. The intent is for you to get a feel for the sport, so you never have to say, "I wish I had…”

Always practice with an experienced skeet shooter – and ALWAYS practice safety protocol.

 Key pointers I learned (as seen from the eyes of a first time skeet shooter:

  •  Begin with the proper stance
  • Bring the gun to your cheek, not your cheek to the gun. Then position the gun tight to your shoulder.
  • At the end of the shotgun barrel use the bead at the end of the barrel as a guide. Better yet, look at the target/clay pigeon
  • My first instruction resulted in a sore shoulder.  I did not hold the gun tight against my shoulder.
  • After my first lesson my cheekbone was sore. I learned I was bringing my cheek to the guy. Bill’s instruction to overcome a sore cheekbone was to get into the proper stance, and then bring the gun tight to just below the cheekbone. Bringing the cheek to the gun, results in my head tilting, often missing the target, and the gun banging against the cheekbone.  

·       I found many of Bill’s instructions referenced in the article, HOW TO SHOOT SKEET – 8 HELPFUL SKEET SHOOTING TIPS. Here is the outline of these 8 Tips. See if you can spot them in my videos.

1.     Know the Rules

2.     Perfect your Stance

3.     Mount Your Gun

4.     Refine the Swing

5.     Fire

6.     Learn Your Weapon

7.     Find Some Friends

8.     Use Proper Equipment

9.     Tip 9 is added by Bill – Above all: Safety, Safety, Safety.


A big "Thank You" to my mentors Mark, Al, and Bill.



Definition of skeet - Merriam-Webster

Skeet definition is a dynamic shooting sport in which a shotgun is used to hit clay pigeons thrown in such a way as to simulate the flight of birds.


 Clay Pigeon Shooting

Mounting to the cheek

Stance and how to mount shotgun

 How to lead a target

Shotgun Bead

 Don't Look Down the Barrel | Shotgun Tips with Gil Ash

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"


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