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If Only Michael Jordan Had Taken Up Clay Shooting Instead…

| July 26, 2020
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Here is another fantastic article by Daniel Schindler, Master Sporting Clays, Skeet, Trap and Wingshooting Instructor.  If you are interested in winning at anything, this is a must read.


“I couldn’t repair your brakes…

so I made your horn louder.

~ Steven Wright

Here’s a better plan than Steve’s. While this article touches on skill development, the emphasis here is on winning. What it really takes…the no-holds-barred, down and dirty.

To start this discussion, let’s say we have confirmed that our gear, skill level and shooting method(s) have all passed the tests of dependability and trustworthiness. Everything working, scores are “up there” and rightfully so. That’s the good news. Raising our scores further, however, has slowed to a snail’s pace. 

History has shown us there is an estimable limit to what gear and skills alone can accomplish. During intense competition…to raise the performance level and scores even higher…it’s time to add another crucial and decisive element.

“Winning has a cost…

and it belongs only to those who pay it.”

In cases where equipment and skills are relatively equal, what so often separates a very good performance from a winning performance, basically comes down to “attitude.” Here’s a prime example of why I say that. 

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.

I’ve lost almost 300 games.

26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.

And that is why I succeed.”

~ Michael Jordan, NBA legend

Over the last week or so, I’ve been immersed in the series called “The Last Dance.” It’s available on YouTube and Netflix, highlighting the life and sensational sports history of Michael Jordan, arguably the all-time, very best player in the game of basketball. IF you LOVE competing and are serious about taking your performances to the next level…here’s your ticket to an intense, immensely informative, and genuinely inspiring series. With provocative, behind-the-scenes commentary throughout, the central theme is focused around competition and what a winning performance actually takes. And not once or twice…but repeatedly with forethought, thrilling determination and an unyielding, ruthless, sometimes brutal sense of purpose.  

For your consideration, here’s the short list of my “impressions” from the series. Around the world, in sports everywhere, these are some of the hard Truths about winning. 

OK…it’s an old saying but it fits. 

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight…

it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

First…above all else…is the highly personal, unconditional, unrelenting, fierce commitment…not just to excel…but to win. This commitment…an obsession…motivates and drives everything else. At Paragon, it is referred to as our “Reason” for performing. Stepping into the shooting box…it is the answer to Bryan Brueck’s universally relevant question…”Why are you here?” Look deeper…what is it that’s compelling you to compete? It will be that reason, inspiring your performance long before match day…and then today…every single shell…every single target! Are you hoping, waiting for the XX to happen…or making it happen? Intentionally? Calculatedly? On a scale of 1 to 10, is your non-stop, second-by-second commitment to this performance a 12? Because that’s what it takes to move a performance from exceptional to a peak performance…a reality undisputed by the top-ranked in their sport.

There are only two options regarding commitment;

you’re either in or you’re out.

There’s no such thing as life in-between.”

~ Pat Riley, NBA Coach 

Second…those who choose a less committed approach to training…inescapably face their sub-par performance in the competition world. This is where your training / work ethic must surpass those you compete against. Pick your sport or endeavor…the very best are always working longer and harder on their drills than everyone else. When it counts the most…this is where sweat, perfect practice, and empty hulls up to our ears make sure we are fully prepared, supremely confident, and raring to go. Time and time again…competitors who live by this training rule…they don’t win by accident.

Third…speaks to resiliency and tenacity. Over and over again in sports…and in life…Karma has a way of rewarding hard work, integrity, patience, tenacity, and good sportsmanship. But…not always. So, third is the willingness to forgive and forget…quickly and unconditionally. Get ready to accept and work around the unexpected as your next challenge will be arriving shortly via Fed-Ex Overnight. Life happens 24/7. Achieving your objectives won’t always occur on your timetable. And when those setbacks do occur…never allow your pride and ego to fight a battle that ends up costing you dearly on your score card. This is where unexpected, negative experiences can’t be allowed to distract, slow down, impede or detour our unrelenting commitment to win…a sign of a maturing competitor…an omen of inevitable success. 

And when the reward does go to someone else…will this experience defeat or inspire your next performance? Attitude will decide.

“Winning is fun…sure. But winning is not the point.

Wanting to win is the point.

Never giving up is the point.

Never letting up is the point.

Never being satisfied with what you’ve done is the point.”

~ Legend, Pat Summit, Coach of Tennessee Lady Vols

The point here being…attitude is THE indispensable staple in the winning performance formula. Not all competition attitudes will be the same, the difference typically deciding final outcomes. There is no substitute for attitude…nothing of equal consequence, because…when winning is on the line…there’s no greater power…no greater force than an invincible attitude. And this mindset of defiance is available to anyone. It is not, however, free. It takes time, work, and circumstances to season yourself and sharpen it shrewdly to your advantage. There are no shortcuts. Once acquired and in gear, however, it is unstoppable with a long and distinguished record of handing victory to those who embrace its strength…its raw, mental and physical intensity separating the wannabes from the truly determined.  

To conclude and for the record (in fairness to the author) said HUMBLY: the opinions expressed here don’t come from any illusions about his being a scoring threat to George Digweed. A while back, to support his family, a decision was made to pursue a full-time career as an Instructor / Coach. Inspired, he devoted himself to first learning, then teaching what absolutely works…predictably and dependably…where and why…in and out of the shooting box. The invaluable lessons learned and taught were always…and continue to be…hands-on, and not based on unfounded idle talk or hearsay. After working with thousands of students over the decades…including more than 250 Instructor Candidates seeking certification…and sharing in their mutual education and gratification… mission accomplished. When time was available…he competed in well attended, hard-fought clay tournaments…posted HOA scores…won his share of shoot-offs…and has previously been a Team USA All American. While his shooting skills have aged some, his resolve to excel has not…not one iota. He was impressed by Michael Jordan’s honesty, candidly answering the question…”Why are you here?” Because, those who find “that” answer, undeniably hold the advantage. Maybe you know?

As a shooting community, we are blessed with a sport that rewards us with so much. Here’s to our conduct protecting it long term and welcoming each individual who joins us. Thank you again for being here and I look forward to seeing you out on the course.

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About Dan Schindler

Dan Schindler is one of only 60 worldwide members of the Guild of Shooting Instructors (UK) and is one of the most highly respected Sporting Clays and Wingshooting Instructors in the US. Dan is an NSCA Level III Instructor (since 1995) and founded the Paragon School of Sporting with one goal in mind. Whether it be for the advanced competitor or providing the basics to the entry-level shooter, Paragon provides the simplest, most practical and most effective Instruction, Coaching and Mental Training for the Sporting Clays & Wingshooting enthusiast. Dan Schindler helps shooters alleviate a lot of their frustration by taking the mystery out of breaking targets, calling their own misses and make their own corrections. Lessons are fun, enlightening and our clients learn to shoot better in minutes!  

Dan Schindler's Books

 Yes, Dan's books help you take the MYSTERY out of missing targets and help you quickly learn steps to shoot more CONSISTENTLY!  Order Dan's 3 books NOW!

Newest Release...Take Your Best Shot (Book I), 3rd Edition is THE Gold Standard Primer...

and is all about the fundamentals, a requirement for good shooting. This book is used by high school and college shooting teams, recreational and competitive shooters from around the world. Solid, valuable, concise information that has helped thousands of shooters shoot more consistently with higher scores.

To The Target (Book II) Builds on the steps outlined in Book I. Emphasises Gun Management skills when the trap fires, creating a consistent, reliable, trustworthy swing.

Beyond the Target (Book III) is for shooters of all levels, filled with valuable information, clay target truths. Entertaining and a culmination of 3 decades of Dan's life's work as a teacher, competitor, published writer, and much more.

Here's a few Facebook comments on Dan Schindler's and Dan's Books:

Mark Engen, DVM These three books are a must-read for all clay target shooters. They are clear, concise, logical instructions on how to shoot clay targets and how to improve your scores. Taking a lesson from Dan would be very advantageous & help hasten the learning process. He has been my instructor for 15 years. With each lesson, I always come away amazed how much I have learned & how my scores improve. 
He also emphasizes how important it is to practice regularly & stay with his advice & recommendations to really learn new skills to improve your scores. He has helped me tremendously & I highly recommend him.

Don N Lisha Sante Got my three-book set. Read Take Your Best Shot (Book I) and can’t put book II down. Can’t wait to apply all I’ve learned tomorrow now that the rains gone.

Steve Powers I got my copy about a month ago. I’ve read it twice, cover to cover & reviewed the sequence of steps multiple times. Good Book.

Jim Butler I've read my copies twice now and it has absolutely picked up my game. Joined a sporting clays league this spring. Increased my top score by 7. Thought them to be expensive at first, but now find them extremely valuable now. Thank You !!!

Telford Scott Great book !! Simple steps with great results!!

Randall C. Burl Best investment a shooter could make!

David Parks Received mine yesterday and have one chapter left to read. Can’t wait to get to the range and practice the new techniques I have learned. Now I feel like I have a system to work with instead of shoot and hope.

"Called the number on their website, ( leary of ordering through Facebook posts) and Mr. Schlinder himself answered the phone. One of the most pleasant people I have ever talked to about anything. Whenever I get a chance to get down his way, I am going to get in touch with him to shoot. Got my books this weekend, read the first one and it reminded me of the basics. Just started on the second one, going to keep reading them over and over. The best reading you have for shooting clays.

Mike Mickels is President of CochranMickels Retirement Specialists and an avid sporting clay competitor. CochranMickels Retirement Specialists provides personalized planning and investment services to individuals approaching and in retirement. They also provide retirement and benefits training to Federal employees. Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisor. CochranMickels and Cambridge are not affiliated.

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