Improve ESP- English Sporting Shooting

English Sporting Performance

English Sporting is a tough discipline and the most popular in England. 

Everyone is striving for the advantage or just to stop those scores dropping back.

Are you looking to improve

The SP has been the key for lots of shooters who have struggled to be consistent. 

The SP creates a consistent stimulant for the eye which you need to control the shot picture time after time. 

If the eye can see the SP during the set up then it can work for you.

Using the SP to improve your English Sporting Performance

There are two positions for the SP essentially, the gun down position on the side of the gun and the gun up position higher on the top barrels. This is solely to allow the shooter to see the SP at some point during the set or shot, this positioning is curicial dependant on your style of shooting.

The gun down shooter should position the SP on the mid rib position between the two barrels, this will then allow the SP to be visible to the eye during the hold before the shot is started. 

The gun up shooter should place the SP in a higher position to allow the eye to see the SP when the gun is mounted, this is typically on the top barrel or side of the rib – subject to rib height.

Both methods, when used properly, will work equally effectively, simply allow yourself to be aware of the SP and this will ultimately trigger the response needed. The gun down set-up relies on the shooter to be a little more disciplined in the set up to ensure the SP is visible otherwise there is little difference to your normal set up. Focus in both cases must be on the clay.

The SP will be visible throughout the setup and hold before calling “Pull” the focus must be on the clay, the shooter must only be aware of the SP during the setup– its job is to help the eye over the rib to make the shot and to control any dominance issues.

Fitting the SP

The two different positions are to ensure the eye is aware of the SP for some period during the mount/ ready position or the actual shot.

The general fitting guide should be followed for both positions.

The Gun down style allows the SP to be seen from the ready position so lots of time to guide the eye, as the mount is performed it will typically disappear from view (don’t check as you will miss!). This is fine as the gun will have been positioned and the shot will be successful if the lead and technique are correct. The shooter should only make sure they are aware of the SP in their peripheral vision during the ready or hold position then all focus must be on the clay target.

The SP Gun up position must be placed higher to be seen, this should be done when the gun is mounted. The rule is that only the single eye can see it, so right eye for right shoulder and left eye if the left shoulder. This position is consistent for the shooter and the picture repeatable, the shooter should make sure they are aware of the SP in their peripheral vision before calling pull and ensure all focus is on the clay.

Hints and Tips

Have you been occluding vision or closing an eye? hold points will differ potentially once the eye is opened and the target is seen earlier. Ask someone to watch what you are doing and if you are shooting in front.

Full focus must be on the target the SP is simply gaining the attention of the eye to ensure the shot picture is from the correct eye, it is neither a bead or a sight and you should only be aware of it before calling pull – once the bird is called for focus fully on the target

Always ensure you are aware of the SP – shooters often get overconfident and forget to check the SP is in their peripheral vision this will then lead to your problems returning – the fix is easy, simple ensure after loading and setting for the shot the SP is in your peripheral vision – its that simple.

In extreme cases of cross dominance shooters can’t even see the SP even though it’s visible to the eye – in this case, wink the opposite eye briefly before you start the set up (ensuring the SP comes into vision to the eye over the rib) this will allow the eye to see it and this will then mean you can continue two eyes open in your normal set up.



I tried the SP with small expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. It has certainly given me more confidence and consistency in my shooting and scores. With the highlight so far achieving Ladies Silver medal at the ICTSF World Championships in Ireland, July 2019. I have taken on the SP for coaching at ASK Sporting Clays, LLC. and am seeing amazing results.