By: Paul Giambrone, III

What are we doing during these unprecedented times?  Personally, my shed, garage and closet have never been so organized and my reloaders are actually setup again and working!  I’m thinking about clearing out and organizing the attic next!  In all seriousness, I know these are some scary times and this new social distancing thing is very foreign to this Italian-Cajun but we are following the rules.  I came home almost 14 days ago now and pretended for that long that I had the virus.  You know how hard it was not kissing my kids or my wife during those days?!  And how many times I had to wash my hands from accidentally touching my mouth or nose?!  Not exactly how I was planning on spending the back half of March, but I do know that God is in charge and has a plan through all of this.  This is the perfect time to come together as families.

What about shooting though? I know, most of us are going through some kind of withdrawal because there are a lot of gun clubs that are closed during this time.  I think that is why my shed, garage, etc. are so clean to keep my mind distracted LOL!  So what can you do during these times to try and stay a little sharp?  I have a few things for you.  First off, the best thing to do would be a few times each week, get your shooting gear together (glasses, gun and your vest if you wear one) and find an area in your home or basement where you can make a 3’X3’ square on the ground.  You just created a station and an imaginary skeet field.  This is what I have been doing.  I am stepping in the box, visualizing my foot position for each station, going to my hold point and getting my eyes to my look point.  Once there, I do my best to turn my body at the speed of that target presentation and see the target explode in my mind.  I don’t actually pull the trigger, but you can if you would like (please make sure the gun is not loaded and no ammo is remotely close to you—safety first!).  I’ll do this a few times for each station just to solidify in my mind all of my setups and work on my body rotation.  If you can do this in front of a mirror, that would be even better!

If you don’t have the ability to make a station and visualize all of the stations, putting on your shooting gear and just mounting your gun will do a lot for you during this time.  Remembering where to put the gun in your shoulder, where your cheek goes and feeling that solid cheek pressure keeping you in the gun will do a ton for you during this rest period.  This is a great way to keep your body familiar with the gun.  With the tournament season being delayed, this will definitely keep you close to where you would normally be!

Finally, eye exercises are HUGE right now.  If you have any eye exercise videos, now would be the time to spend a few days a week doing those.  I have a couple that I like to do when I’m not chasing 4 kids or cleaning out the rafters…  First, I like to find 2 things off in the distance in line with each other.  One item way out, the other at about 15-20 yards out.  When I am sitting on my back porch, I’ll look out into the trees and then find a fence post.  The idea is to have your eyes way out in the distance, but in a soft focus and then bring them into something close and hard focus.  Just like when you shoot!  Your eyes are off in the distance and soft at your look points and then you have to bring them back in to focus on the target hard.  Another great eye exercise that I like is inside.  I will sit down on my bed or couch to where I can see two seams in the corners of the ceiling.  I’ll center my head with that line on the wall and then just move my eyes left to right (corner seam to corner seam) to work on my eye shift for doubles.  The idea is put your eyes to one corner seam and as soon as it comes into focus, shoot your eyes over to the other seam and keep doing that over and over again.  I usually get in at least 20-30 seconds before resting for a moment and then do it again, and again.  These are my two favorite exercises to keep my eyes sharp!

Tip of the month: If you don’t do either of these, visualization is another great tool!  When I visualize, I am doing from start to finish of the shot.  I do NOT visualize walking on the station, the green grass, etc.  I literally see my hold point, my look point, see the flash, see the target come into focus and see it explode.  You don’t want to overdo the visualization exercise because you won’t make it through a full round without getting completely overwhelmed or distracted!   The idea is just to remind your brain of what each shot and presentation looks like!