If you want to succeed at shooting (and why wouldn't you?), footwork is key. Adjusting your stance and getting your feet in the right position makes all the difference to whether you hit or miss. It helps fluidity, and keeps you consistent. The trick is to have your weight slightly on the front foot (left foot for a right-hander and vice versa). When you see the clay pigeon, anticipate the speed, direction and where you will shoot. Then move your front foot to point to where you anticipate shooting the clay before starting the swing.
Guns are pretty heavy, so you can't really wait for the clay pigeon to arc across the sky before effortlessly and fluidly bringing the gun up and nailing it. You'll need your gun pointing safely up in the air in the direction from which the clay is coming. Turn the safety off. Now that your foot's in the right place, start swinging the gun from behind the clay, while bringing it comfortably into your shoulder. Stay in line with the target and, as you mount the gun fully into your shoulder and the stock into your cheek, you should now be ready to pull the trigger. Don't make the common mistake of looking straight down the barrels or the bead at the end of the gun – focus on the clay and imagine the gun as an extension of your arm.
Keeping focusing on the clay should stop you from the aforementioned 'looking down the barrel' slip-up and let you swing effortlessly. Now to the defining moment: with your gun following through the clay, pull the trigger and – most importantly – continue the swing of the gun. This movement will make sure you follow through after the shot's been fired and don't stop as you pull the trigger. Do this and you'll be hitting more than you miss.
Alexander Roupell is managing director of Bisley Shooting Group, which owns two of the finest shooting grounds in Europe.