We’ve reviewed John Kings Book and DVD over the last couple of weeks – and the ShootClay team think he knows a thing or two about Clay Shooting tuition – so we asked him to tell us the essential steps towards finding a good Clay Shooting coach or school – here’s his 10 points to follow:

  1. First Contact. The best first port of call will be somewhere that has been highly recommended by someone whose words you trust. Your next logical option is to search the internet for your Clay Shooting requirements within a suitable geographical area. Any quality Shooting School/Coach will be easy to find electronically; and your first stage of assessment will be when you check out the website: Does it look professionally produced? Is it easy to navigate through? Does it give you all the information that you require ? Most important; are all prices clearly displayed . How do the prices compare with others that you may have looked at? Be very wary about price lists that are much cheaper than the average.
  2. Personal Contact. For your initial enquiry; do make telephone contact ( even if it is only to confirm/query e-mail contact.) What are your immediate feelings about the person that you speak to. Is the person friendly? Do you feel that you are dealing with a professional who is really listening to your questions and requirements? Are your questions answered fully and clearly? Do you feel that the person that you are speaking to is interested in you and makes to feel that your enquiry is welcome ? 
  3. Literature. If you were promised a brochure or other written details; do these arrive with you quickly? Does the literature/brochure impress you as being professionally produced? Most important; are clear concise directions and instructions included?
  4. Arrival. First impressions; as you approach the establishment, does the area look clean and well cared for ? Was the approach road properly maintained, as should be the car parking area ? Is the Clubhouse/Lodge/Reception  clearly signposted and/or easy to locate and get to?
  5. Greeting.  As you enter the Clubhouse etc; how does it look? How does it feel? Do you receive a warm friendly greeting? Are you offered appropriate refreshments; tea/coffee/cold drinks/biscuits FOC ? Are the toilets clearly signed, and are they clean and pleasant?
  6. Coach. Is the Coach there to greet you; and punctual if arriving in from another lesson? Is the coach’s appearance as you expect (clean, tidy and professionally turned out)?  Do you feel that your Coach is making you feel welcome and working to help you feel at ease? Do you feel that your coach is listening to you and making a genuine effort to understand your coaching requirements?
  7. Equipment. Does the Coach ensure that you are provided with all required equipment : Shooting vest, Shooting cap, Shooting safety glasses of an appropriate colour for the light conditions, Hearing protection : a choice of ear muffs and/or plugs?  NB. Children must wear ear muffs.  Of critical importance; has the Coach provided you with a shotgun of a suitable calibre and size to suit your stature?
  8. Safety. Do you feel safe as you walk to your coaching area, are clay fragments falling close to you, are clay fallout areas clearly signed?  Does your Coach give you a very clear briefing on all aspects of safe shotgun handling, and do you feel that you fully understand the all of the clay shooting safety rules?
  9. Comfort. Do you feel that you have been provided with a gun that you feel comfortable with? Have you been provided with low recoil cartridges? Do you feel comfortable with the pace of the lesson, and the presentation of the information that the Coach is giving you ?
  10. Confidence, Enthusiasm, Enjoyment.  Are you quickly succeeding at killing the clay targets being presented for you. Do you feel your confidence growing? Are you feeling confident that when you follow your Coach’s instructions; your successes increase. Is your Coach inspiring and motivating you? Does your Coach appear totally enthusiastic? Do you enjoy your lesson so much; you are very keen to come back and repeat the experience?

If you have answered all of these questions with a yes; then you are in the right place with the right Coach!

Read more from John King – including his excellent gun room column of hints and tips.