Q&A With Frank Neumayer
Overcoming Trap Doubles (5/10)
Question: I’ve been Trap shooting for years now and I’m doing OK with singles and handicap, but I just can’t figure out how to shoot well at doubles. How should I approach the doubles game so I won’t feel so anxious or overwhelmed every time I go out on the field?
Answer: The best way to overcome the intimidation of trap doubles is to first, step back and analyze exactly what is going on within the game itself. Once you understand the simple mechanics involved, you can start developing a detailed approach to shooting the game. This will allow you to overcome that feeling of uncertainty and defeat before you even get started. The best approach is to divide and conquer… then in the end you pull all the pieces back together into a success oriented game plan. By first figuring out the basics of what’s actually going on, you can then envision a shooting plan in your mind that will properly address each aspect of the game, post by post. By approaching trap doubles in this manner your confidence can slowly build, your scores will certainly improve, and soon you’ll forget about being overwhelmed or anxious when you challenge the game.
Doubles targets are set to leave the trap house around 39 mph and travel outbound a distance of 44-51 yards. The target height is set at 8-10 feet, measured at a point 10 yards out in front of the trap house. The angle of the target spread is set at not less than 34 degrees, which is 17 degrees right and left of the centerline of the field. Target angles appear to change only because the shooter is moving from post to post. From post 1, the right-hand target will virtually be a straight-away, with the left-hand target angling to the left. The opposite is true from post 5, where the left-hand target is virtually a straight-away, and the right-hand target will be angling off to the right. Keep in mind, whether in practice or competition, shooting doubles targets that are not properly set, will make it difficult to establish or maintain the consistent timing and rhythm needed to post good scores.
First Point: On post 1 and 2, a shooter will usually break the right-hand (straight-away) target first, then swing to break the left-hand (angled) target second. Set-up comfortably where you envision the best possible break-point for the left-hand (angled) target, stay in that set-up position, then swing back and hold your gun over the trap house lid slightly below where you want to break the right-hand (straight-away) target. On post 3, it’s really up to the shooter’s personal preference. As lead-off, I usually stay with breaking the right-hand target first and then swing to break the left-hand target. On post 4 and 5, just reverse your set-up position and break the targets from left to right. When applying this basic set-up technique you’ll find that your swing will become smoother and less constricted, and you’ll become more accurate and successful. Also, try practicing from the 18 yard line. This will help strengthen your focus, accuracy, and confidence.
Second Point: Regardless of which post you’re on, try to be aggressive on breaking that first target. This approach will give you the additional time needed to comfortably break the second target. Here’s where you can apply the 90-10 rule. This means that you apply 90% of your concentration on breaking the first target and only 10% applied to the second target, with your eye focus 25-30 yards out into the breaking zone the whole time. Remember, a big key to doubles is keeping your head down and locked into the gun! Only after the first target is broken, do you shift your eyes to pick-up the leading edge of the second target. At this point, you shift all of your concentration and eye focus to the second target, then swing smoothly through, apply the proper lead, break the target, and follow-through. Again, be aggressive on taking the first target (it may be a blur but be sure to break it)… then quickly shift your entire concentration and eye focus, while being smooth and in control, on breaking the second target.
Third Point: With regard to loads and chokes, there seems to be a tendency to over do it. A reliable 12 gauge with 1oz of #8’s, traveling at 1150-1200 fps, should be more than adequate. With a single barreled auto or pump, a Modified choke should work just fine for both shots. If you have two barrels, you can use an IC or Modified choke for the first shot, and a Modified or IM choke for the second shot. Doubles is a game of accuracy, timing, and rhythm, and you’ll certainly need to apply some dedicated practice time in order to bring all the aspects together. Remember, doubles targets are pre-set at fixed angles, speeds, and heights, so your practice efforts should focus on perfecting this game one post at a time! As you fine-tune your set-up, focus, timing, and rhythm, your confidence will build, your scores will improve, and you’ll start having fun! Soon, doubles will no longer be that intimidating game you thought it was.
If you’d like more information visit my website at www.claybrakn.com, or if you have a specific question send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to get it answered.
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