PRO TIPS with USAMU - The Pre-Shot Routine

USAMU Website

Pro Tip - USAMU Sgt. Vincent Hancock – The Pre-Shot Routine


Great shooters always do the same thing before they pull the trigger.  And they credit having a pre-shot routine to their success.  Olympic gold medalist Sgt. Vincent Hancock of the Army Marksmanship Unit  shows you how to establish your Pre-Shot Routine.




Having an established pre-shot routine is a crucial part to having success in the next level of your game. This part is the key in your mental preparation and it will hold you together in competition. There are several steps in a pre-shot routine and I’ll try to break them down into three stages, lets go over these in more detail.

The first step in your pre-shot routine is actually stepping on to the station. This activates the first station of the zone.



Secondly you want to load your gun, close the gun, and get yourself prepared on the station. This is the second stage of the zone.



Next and finally you want to get your hold point, get your eye hold point, and find a word that helps you focus and concentrate on the target before you call pull. This is the final stage of the zone, and you should have full focus and concentration on the target.

Having a pre-shot routine is absolutely necessary, and this is what makes a top shooter.



Maintaining the same routine is just as important as having a routine.  For me it’s the same every single time, but you can still get out of synch if you let other shooters’ performances affect you.



In this simulated station, Shooter A is taking a long time to shoot his targets.

Shooter B steps to the line and is significantly faster in his routine and timing.




I step to the line paying no attention to the drastically different styles of shooters A and B, and I maintain my pre-shot routine and timing that I have prepared through years of training. 



Having this run smoothly leads to more broken targets. The pre-shot routine and timing in any discipline of clay target shooting are critical. And for me,  they never change, no matter what I’m shooting, or where I am competing around the world. 

Develop a good pre-shot routine for yourself, and comfortable timing, and stick to them in practice and competition.  Until next time stay Army strong. 





©2012, TIER ONE MEDIA, LLC. All Rights Reserved.