See the target, shoot the target. That little gem of shotgun wisdom was dropped on me by an instructor years ago and is a mantra I often repeat while busting clays or when anticipating the flush of a wild covey. The saying is a little cheeky, which appeals to my inner scoundrel, but it is also quite helpful.
It drives home two salient points: One for what it says, and the other for what it doesn’t say. First, it puts the correct emphasis on vision when shooting a shotgun. To successfully hit flying targets a shooter needs to home in on the target with laser-like precision. This “hard focus” is what you do when you stare at the leading edge of the clay target, or the beak or eye of a flying bird. Hard focus cannot be maintained indefinitely, but you can do it for the few seconds that your target is in flight. When you go into hard-focus mode, the target will appear to slow down and your ability to hit the target will increase dramatically.