A Little More About Me

I have proudly represented my county, shooting in both English Sporting and FITASC. I compete both in the U.K. and abroad, shooting all the ‘majors’ such as the British Open, English Open and World Championship’s to name just a few…

Early years

I was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Son to a British father and South African mother. My father ventured out to South Africa in the 60s to play rugby and that is where they met. I was always very much sports orientated and captained the rugby, golf and cricket teams through my schooling life. If I wasn’t fishing or on the boat, I was no doubt out playing sport. My father made the decision to return to the UK in the mid 80s and that’s now home. 

What to wear for Clay Shooting: dress comfortably and wear appropriate protective gear.

Shooting Career

I started my clay shooting journey a couple of decades ago…like most who weren’t fortunate enough to have been born into a shooting environment, my first experience was at a local clay shooting ground on a ‘have a go’ stand. Although I had previously shot rifles, I had no expectations from the day, but I was instantly ‘hooked’ on the challenge and diversity of clay shooting. After shooting my initial box of 25 cartridges, I returned for a further three boxes and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Before leaving the ground I immediately left a deposit on a shotgun and applied for my shotgun certificate a couple of days thereafter.

I spent a few years shooting at my local ground before venturing into the competition scene. With hindsight, I regret that I didn’t do it sooner, it’s far too easy to stay in your comfort zone. I also wished I had taken lessons from a reputable shooting instructor earlier on and ventured out to grounds that posed new challenges that would progress my ability. I’ve heard some shooters say that they can’t afford to have lessons, well trust me, you can’t afford not to. Too much time and money can otherwise be wasted, not to mention the added frustration that comes with missing targets with little understanding of why.

It’s invaluable to build from a solid foundation, with solid fundamentals and a structured approach. Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys missing targets and we all enjoy the day more when we feel we’re shooting well.

Moving on in time, I’ve now been competing in this country and abroad for the past 10 years, regularly shooting CPSA competitions on weekends and shooting major events like the World Championships, British Open, English Open, World FITASC etc. I have very proudly represented my county in both English Sporting and FITASC. 

Shooting advice:

How you approach your trips to your local clay ground will depend entirely on where you want to take your shooting. There is nothing to stop you from having fun while you are there, but the key is to have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and a structured approach. Rather than thinking of it as practise, think of it as training; if you want to make the most of it, you need to take it seriously.

Any shooting you do, whether it is at clays, pigeons or game, will ultimately translate into muscle memory and habit. So practising poor technique will only compound the situation. Therefore, if you are struggling with a particular target, or if you aren’t happy with an aspect of your technique, the first thing you need to do is get some help. Get a lesson booked.

Trying to work out what you are doing wrong on your own can be both frustrating and counterproductive.

Only once you have ironed out any major faults in your technique and/or established how to tackle a particular target that you might be struggling with, should you practise on your own. Having said that, shooting on one’s own can be invaluable because it forces you to think for yourself and self-diagnose your faults when things aren’t going well. The more time you spend with a gun, training, the better you will become.

As already mentioned, you should arrive at the shooting ground with a plan, and that plan will be determined by how long you have. But regardless of whether you will be there for an hour or all morning, starting off with a few of your favourite clays can be a good idea as it will help to build your confidence up. In order to shoot well, you must be assertive and confident.

However there is no point in spending more than 10 minutes shooting clays that you know you can break easily; in order to improve, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone.

You may be having trouble with a particular target, or you may just want to work on your technique in preparation for the shooting season, but whatever your reasons for visiting the shooting ground are, make sure you have a plan, and stick to it.

As a rule of thumb, short, frequent sessions are better than long, infrequent ones. However, the key isn’t the amount of time you spend at the clay ground, but how you use that time. Remain focussed and make each and every shot/clay count.

The length of your session will once again depend on what you want to achieve. If you want to work on three different targets, you will need a minimum of an hour (you should do at least two separate sessions on each target). If you have less than an hour, focus on one or two clays and no more. However, if you stay on one clay for a whole hour, you will get bored, so spend 15 minutes on a target, take a break, do something completely different for 10 minutes, and then come back to it. And make sure you end up/finish off on a positive note; at the end of your session, you should be confident that you have mastered that particular shot or at the very least made considerable progress.

In terms of the number of clays per session, I would suggest a rate of 25 clays per 15-minute session is a good, steady pace (100 per hour) for an intermediate shot. For those more experienced, 125+ per hour is pretty reasonable. What is key is that you are using those clays to put solid building blocks in place.

Also you should try to practise your gun mount, swing and technique at home, using a pair of snap caps. I can’t stress enough how important and beneficial this can be as it helps you to build muscle memory.

Keep your sessions relevant.