In December 2016, West Sussex-based electrician Reece Dunne beat 70 other hopefuls to win Talent Pool™, a ground-breaking new competition to find one lucky person to be fully trained to shoot at a top national competition next year. The competition, sponsored by Zoli shotguns and Nobel Sports Italia cartridges (NSI), was hosted by Southdown Shooting School in Findon, where Reece is being taught by head coach Simon Arbuckle. Here Reece updates us on his progress in his monthly blog.
How are you feeling about your shooting?
Not great this month – I’ve had a few problems, but also an issue with the gun. I managed to catch my sleeve between the wood and the fore-end and damaged the wood, so it’s now at a gunsmith being fixed. My shooting has been frustrating – I don’t feel that I’ve improved consistently. It’s not just that I’ve had to tackle new targets that I’m struggling with, but I’m missing targets that I was hitting with ease a few weeks ago.
Have you competed in any competitions?
A few – though not as many as last month. I competed at Horne Clay Pigeon Club last Sunday, and started with three or four really good stands, where I was shooting well. I then shot badly on two, only getting 2x8 and 3x8, which spoiled my card, and it went downhill from there. In the end I only scored 68x100, which is really frustrating as I was scoring in the high 70s and mid-80s last month. I also shot at a registered shoot at Southdown, where I got 73x100, which was better, but still not as good as I’d hoped for.
What problems have you been trying to iron out?
There have been a lot of problems to try to sort out. I think first and foremost is my concentration. I think it’s also true that I’ve probably been shooting too much, which hasn’t helped the concentration levels – I shot four times last weekend. I’m hungry for it, and I’m not at all bored or unhappy shooting, but I think shooting so much in a short space of time has affected my concentration. I’ve been working on new targets, too, of course. I make a note to myself of which clays I’ve struggled with and then go back to them until I get them right. I’m still very much learning to read what they are doing, and I still get that wrong sometimes.
What’s been the highlight, and what’s been the lowpoint?
It’s hard to choose a highlight really, as I don’t feel as positive as I did last month. Perhaps my top moment was watching George Digweed shooting the same round that I did at Horne and knowing that on one of the stands I beat his score – the rest of the day may have been bad, but that was a nice moment. In terms of lowpoint, I suppose it is learning that you can have a decent score most of the way round a course and then blow it on one or two stands. That’s hard to deal with. That and the fact that I had such high expectations of my shooting this month and I just haven’t met them.
What feedback has coach Simon Arbuckle given you this month?
I haven’t had as many lessons this month, but I did have a really good two-hour session with him last week. We worked on my mental game, and how to approach clays, as well as not dropping my head. I’ve been told a few times I shouldn’t sprint before I can walk, and I think that is true, though it is frustrating. I suppose I felt I was progressing so fast last month that I should be doing the same now.
What’s in store for next month?
There are quite a few specific targets I’d like to work on, ones that I know I’ve had trouble with. I’m doing a few registered shoots, but I’m keen to reduce the number of those and focus on quality rather than quantity. I know I need to build my concentration, and perhaps most importantly, to work on not giving up when I’ve done badly on a stand, to keep trying and to look to the next stand or shoot, rather than looking back at clays I’ve missed.