No-one likes to hear a dentist yell “pull” except when Dr Michael Adams of Adams Dental, Adelaide, is clay target shooting.
“I use an over-and-under double-barrel shotgun with one trigger when I’m shooting clay targets. You are required to shoot from various set positions called ‘stations’. At some stations, you try for one target and at other stations, you try for two targets. “It’s important to shoot pretty quickly as the shot spreads over distance. The targets travel at nearly 100 kilometres an hour, so you need to shoot some distance in front of the target. New shooters always have a tendency to shoot at the target but by the time the shot gets there, the target has moved on. “When I was at university, I was a member of the Adelaide University rifle club. My first job was in Alice Springs in 1976 and as they had no rifle club, I joined the clay target club. I’ve been clay target shooting ever since. “Over the years I’ve won state titles in both Northern Territory and South Australia. I still shoot the state titles every year and the next competition takes place in a few months at Virginia [in South Australia]. It’s possible to have a bad day but if everything goes well, I should be near the top of the leader board. “I’m a very structured person and I think that’s the reason why I enjoy this sport. Every target is exactly the same. You might be shooting from a different station but you know its exact flight path and exactly how fast it’s going. You can lie in bed and practise because you can accurately visualise every target. In fact, I make a point of doing that before every competition. “I don’t play golf but I think clay target shooting is probably very similar. It’s all about hand/eye coordination, timing, balance, foot position and lots and lots of training. I shoot a couple of a hundred targets every weekend. “The social side of the sport is very enjoyable. When I used to be a serious competitor, I generally travelled with the same shooting partner. Now I shoot at a club in the country but I can’t hang around and have too many beers because I have to drive home. “I also used to drive Formula 1 race cars. In the 1980 Australian Grand Prix, I was on the starting grid with Alan Jones—but that’s another story for another time.