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GUNS Magazine December 2010 - Page 18

BUSTiNG ClAYS The next best thing to being there. ith the current crop of TV shows stressing themes like “A 100 W things I want to do before I marry,” I think as shotgunners one of the personal promises we should make and keep is to “Attend a shooting school before we’re 50.” Why 50? Well, by age 50, we’re honest enough to know we don’t know everything about hitting flying things because we’re still missing, plus we’re mature enough to not be so self-delusional as to deny we have probably acquired some bad gun handling habits along the road and finally, hopefully, we’re financially secure enough to have a well-fitting shotgun or two and the time to enjoy them. Add in a spouse who would like some personal space now and then and the attraction of spending a few days at a shooting school seems foreordained. I say, “Go for it” even if you’re pushing 90. There are a tremendous variety of shooting schools and clinics spread across this great continent. The last “Black’s Wing & Clay” directory I saw listed over 90 schools ranging from classy houses like Holland & Holland and Orvis to NRA’s gender specific “Women on Target” clinics. Some are focused on a specific method of shooting like “E.J. Churchill’s Instinctive Style of Shooting” or a specific shotgun sport like skeet or sporting clays. The courses are presented as one or more days of clinic scheduled throughout the country and calendar year, others as residential resort retreats like programs offered by The Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., or The Cloister at Sea Island, Ga. OSp’ssetofsixDVDscoverthecore materialoftheOSpprogram. Choose Well Finding an instructor whose chemistry and pace matches yours and whose style of presentation is clear and entertaining is the trick. Hanging around with a prima donna or a didactic pedagogue for a day or two is just not fun or productive. It’s a bloody turn-off to the whole idea of personalized instruction. No, this type of decision warrants a personal recommendation from friends who have been there and done that. One of the most intriguing schools I’ve been exposed to is the Optimum Shotgun Performance Shooting School conducted by Gil and Vicki Ash. Their focus is on sporting clays, but the fundamentals they convey are applicable to any of the shooting sports, or “life,” as they like to say. What intrigues me about the OSP Shooting School and what sets it aside from most of the other training institutions is its multi-level delivery of instructional services. Yes, there are 2-day clinics offered across the United States and on a more often basis at the OSP’s home base located at the American Shooting Center in Houston, Texas, but that’s just the beginning of the OSP outreach program. Through a blend of instructional books and DVDs, a monthly, dialin, teleconference coaching program and free online newsletters, articles and video clips, the OSP programs are available to shotgunners at any level of intensity you might wish. Try It Free Holt’sfirstchoice ofOSp’sbook series is if it Ain’t Broke, Fix iT. You can approach and begin to evaluate the personal relevance of OSP program design and delivery by simply tapping into some of their most valuable instruction freely available on the web and through their online newsletter titled “Break Point.” That’s free instruction, but it offers you a 18 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • DECEMBER 2010

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