Watch Your Gun Speed
Blue-winged teal buzzing the decoys and a mallard circling overhead are obviously moving at two very different speeds. Being able to adjust the speed of your gun to the target is another essential skill Hetrick stresses to his students.
"Much like trying to take a picture of a duck in flight, you have to keep the camera moving at the same speed as the bird to keep it in focus," he says. "We fail to realize the importance of keeping your gun moving at the same speed as the target and, far more important, getting the exact lead."
Going to the range and focusing on these three fundamentals—visualizing the target, following through the shot and gun speed—will provide the essential skills need to consistently shoot well. Hetrick says that although 60 percent of his students are waterfowl hunters, there isn't a specific sporting clays target he focuses on with students.
"There are so many different shots waterfowl hunters face in the field, it's hard to mimic them on the range," Hetrick says. "It's better to diversify your shots, and once you get that target focus and establish the basic fundamentals, your instincts will do the rest."