Everyone has heroes or role models, and if I had to pick a shotgun hero, it would most certainly be Kim Rhode. She began winning Olympic shotgun events in 1996 and hasn’t stopped yet, earning medals at six consecutive Olympic games — including three gold medals.
My affection for her is slightly greater than admiration for her superb shooting skills; after all she did draw my name as a winner of some RE Ranger shooting glasses at the 2007 SHOT Show and a few years later I got her autograph on a photo and a box of Winchester shotgun shells which bears her photo.
Oh, and she let me fondle her medals.
If you are going to take shotgun advice from anyone, Kim Rhode qualifies. So when I saw a recent post at the Winchester ammo blog titled, “Shooting Tips from Kim Rhode,” I knew I needed to share it with y’all.
I’ll just sum up her advice and let you read the full post for more details.
Practice Your Hardest Shot
Chances are, there’s one station in your skeet or trap routine that gives you more trouble than any other. Kim did, and she says you need to figure out which one it is and shoot that station until you can break the clay 10 times in a row — then 25 times in a row. When your hardest station becomes your easiest station, you can maybe start to think you’re a little bit like Kim.
Remember when your mom scolded you to stand up straight? Well, she was only trying to help your shotgun skills. Kim says it’s more tiring to stand with squatting knees & bent waist — so just bend the knees slightly (not locked) and stand tall — like a champion. That way you can swing more smoothly and you won’t get as tired.
Like every other shotgunner who ever lived, I’ve been guilty of stopping my swing as I fire at flying objects — and like all the rest, I learned that is not the way to break clays. You need to keep the gun moving throughout the process.
Kim’s trick to encourage follow-through during practice is to bust the clay, then fire again at a piece of the clay. This practice forces a shooter to keep his or her head down and keep swinging that gun.
If you’re going to compete, you can’t let others (or their scores) get into your head. Kim says to ignore everyone else, set small attainable goals for yourself, and concentrate on doing what you came to do. Don’t worry about beating someone; just concentrate on everything you’ve practiced.
As Kim says: “Most importantly enjoy the competitions, the places, and people.”
And that, my friends, is sound advice. I hope to take it with me to the dove field in a few weeks.