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Psychological Skills for Shooting by Michael Kruger-Davis

Back when I was started high school, I remember learning about “scientific method”. Basically scientific method meant that you worked out a question you want to answer (hypothesis), and develop an experiment to find out if your answer was right or wrong. At the time it didn’t mean much, but over the years it has stayed with me, primarily because of my work, and I now find that I often use this principle where possible when confronted with a problem. The main benefit is that I do not have to waste time and effort with the more traditional trial and error approach.

I recently bought a new gun and I decided that in order to get it set up right I would use the “scientific method”. I am a regular reader of “Clay Shooting” so when I saw an ad for “Laser Arrow Shot” I thought that this was what I need to help set the gun up right. The ad stated that the Arrow Laser Shot can sooth and perfect your gun mount, improve your gunswing, check your point of impact and gunfit.

The product sounded perfect; just what I needed. I checked the website www.arrowlasershot.com and filled in an order. I personally haven’t had much experience with purchasing over the internet, but I was suitably impressed when after a few hours there were emails notifying me that my order had been received, then dispatched. Within a week I was the proud owner of the Arrow Laser Shot.

So when my new gun arrived, I was able to use the Arrow Laser Shot to help me set up the new gun. First I put together my old 682 and checked the point of impact of both barrels using the Arrow Laser Shot, knowing that this was what I was after. I then used the Arrow Laser Shot to check the point of impact on my new gun. (What was interesting was that I didn’t need to make any adjustments at all: both were pointing in the exact same place) Just to make sure I wasn’t getting a false positive reading and therefore making an assumption that everything was correct even though it was wrong (a type 1 error), I tried it with a gun that I knew didn’t fit me, and it was clearly pointing in a different place. I then patterned each gun on just to substantiate the results from the Arrow Laser Shot. I was surprised and fortunate in that I didn’t have to make any adjustments to my gun and I have shot very well with it since, but even if I did need to make some adjustments the instructions that came with the Arrow Laser Shot were very explicit and easy to follow. The other use for the Arrow Laser Shot is that I can use it every day for ten minutes to dry mount my gun. It shows me instantly if the gun is mounted correctly and I can put it down and start again.
When the Arrow Laser Shot arrived I ran into a shooting friend at the post office and showed him what I had bought. He had problems hitting anything with the top barrel, so he came out home and we looked at were the gun was pointing. What it showed was that the first barrel was flat and that the top barrel was actually lower: not what you want for a gun to shoot DTL targets. Naturally, out first thought was to raise the comb but this didn’t help, so we changed the pitch of the gun and got it to a point where it was pointing above the mark for the first barrel and flat for the second barrel. The following weekend you could see dramatic changes in his scores and the way the targets were hit.
I have been using the Arrow Laser Shot during coaching sessions and take it with me to shoots because I am often get asked by shooters if they can check the point of impact of their guns. I’m sure I could have set up my gun by trying and changing, trying and changing, but the Arrow Laser Shot took most of the guesswork out of the process. Because I have confidence in the process that I adopted, I now have confidence in the gun, which is more important. Most of us are competent shooters; where we fall down in competitions is that we are not as confident in our ability, guns, shells, etc as we should be, or we are not as composed in the competition as we should be.

I don’t want to sound too gushy about the Arrow Laser Shot, but it lived up to all promises and made the task of fitting my gun so much easier. It would be an invaluable tool for a stock fitter, coach or gun retailer because it can let the customer know instantly if the gun they are interested in is at all close to fitting, and if not what they need to do to make it fit. For me I will use to perfect my gun mount, and use it in coaching to help others feel they can use their gun confidently.

With the Nationals now over for another year it will be necessary for most of us to reflect on our performance, evaluate our goals and possibly come up with new goals before we head off to Roma next year. For me the Nationals were a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make some new friends, and enjoy several days of shooting uninterrupted by work. Because both my gun and I performed well (achieved personal bests) I left the Nationals feeling confident and competent in my ability. Again, an unintended outcome of the Nationals was the opportunity to meet up with Jim Shepherd and Brian Rafferty, and enjoy a bottle of “The Balvenie” single malt whiskey again. From it’s humble beginnings four years ago at the Perth Nationals, this has now become a tradition, and this year we took shelter in Ray Mack’s tent during the dust storm to enjoy some great whiskey, good fellowship, and some great stories, all of which I was told were true!


Enjoying a wee dram this year were Dick Aryes, Brian Raffery, Jim Finis, Sergei, Ray Mack, Jin Shepherd, Michael Kruger-Davis, welcomed stranger, Gary MacDonald and Peter Tate.

I have put together all the articles that I have written for the CTSN on CD as word files. These are available for $25.00 (which includes GST and Postage). If you wish to purchase a copy please send cheque or money order to me at the address below.

Michael Kruger-Davis is the Consulting Psychologist for the Southern Sports Academy in NSW and a member of Narrandera Clay Target Club. Questions regarding psychological aspects of sport and shooting can be addressed him at “Gavan” Bassett Rd, Gillenbah Via Narrandera 2700 or on 02 69 592802.