The Scientific Study of Clay Target Shooting

Case Study #1: Peak Performance Training / SportExcel
  • Findings: Subject Takes the Ignition Clinic (via Skype) and Achieves a "New Normal"
  • Statistical Testing: The New Normal is achieved at the .0036 level of significance.

We looked up Robert's scores at the ShootATA.com web site and plotted them before, during, and after the clinic (see chart above).  These data hit us right between the eyes.  Not only did the scores improve immediately after starting the clinic and persist afterwords, he became much more consistent as illustrated by the blue and green lines.

Statistical Analysis

We analyzed Robert's results via 1-tailed t-test and found the scores prior to the start of the clinic to be significantly different from the scores after the start of the clinic. The finding, was significant at the 0.0036 level.  Well beyond the 0.05 level we generally seek.  


Bob Palmer looks at a chart like this and refers to the pattern displayed in the blue and green lines as the "new normal" to distinguish it from a one time short term event.  We tested for differences in the scores during and after completion of the clinic and they were not significantly different (p=.36).  "New Normal" is supported. 

In 2014, Robert took the "Ignition" clinic from Bob Palmer at Sport.Excel.ca and immediately exceeded his expectations.  He was very enthusiastic.

The chart at the right shows the officially recorded Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) scores for Case Study #1.


Robert started shooting formally at the age of 63 when he retired.  After shooting regularly for 44 months, he suddenly found himself in the zone while shooting alone on station 5.  On that day, he shot his first 50 straight, first 75 straight, and first 100. He missed his 112th bird as he starting planning for 125 straight.  When he let that thought go, he returned to the zone and ended up breaking 124 out 125.  


This was an average of 99.2% shot by a guy who was excited when he shot 23/25 (92%). See the red dot on the chart on the upper right? It was the first time this shooter knew he was definitely in the Zone.


The Zone was wonderful, it was fun, it was almost mystical and he wanted to spend a lot more time there.  But the Zone has a mind of its own it seemed.  It was not so much that Robert found the Zone as the Zone found Robert.  Although he continued to improve his shooting, the Zone remained elusive. 


He started to worry that this might be a one-time thing.