TOP SHOT: Forget Expert Opinion, Do What Works

Editor's Note: Tim Trefren is a hunting guide from Wyoming and a competitor on Top Shot, the History Channel's reality tv show about marksmanship. Each week Tim will blog about the most recent episode offering insight and shooting tips.

Experts are not always experts…

The Top Shot teams were shooting a Kentucky flintlock pistol this week. The experts remained unnamed for reasons I am about to explain. When the teams got to the practice session unnamed expert number one greeted us. The red team started off practice shooting very well. Then the specialist got his hands on us… "Move this -- adjust that -- put your thumb here," was all the "expert" had to share. I figured this guy knows more about the weapon than I do so I should listen, and maybe he could help me with my accuracy. By the time practice was over, I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn.

Lesson #1: Just because someone is an expert in a particular field, doesn't mean what works for them is going to work for you.

The more this authority talked and coached, the more I wanted to punch him. He grated on my nerves to the point of snapping. I attempted to get his advice out of my head, while trying to break the bad habits I had learned from him. When the red team got back to the house I took a hand spring for exercising and taped a wooden spoon to it, and literally sat for hours trying get rid of the flinch I had developed.

The moral of the story is, even though his heart may be in the right place, he didn't have a $100 grand on the line. When preparing for a competition do what works for you, and do not let anyone change what you do. After all, it took years to get as proficient as you are, and you're not going to be able change your technique in an hour-long practice session.

On to expert number two…

Although expert number two was leaps-and-bounds better than expert number one, at the elimination practice he tried to change the way Iggy and I did things. He did make a few suggestions that helped with the firearm, and ran through the unique qualities of the H&K USP TACTICAL, but he still tried changing things when it came to our footwork. Rather than looking at how we moved and making finite adjustments on our existing movements, he tried changing our entire movement.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind the changes both professionals were trying make, but you cannot change the entire way you do something and expect to win a $100,000 prize in one hour. If you watched the show, both Iggy and I struggled with our footwork in the first round of the elimination challenge.

I would say that both he and I were lucky. Even though we struggled, we still managed to tie targets hit and round count. We had to run it again. The second time through, I said, "The hell with the experts and their fancy footwork, I am doing it the way I know how." I broke 18 out of 20 targets, securing the win. I want to take a second to tell you all that Eric Iggy Keyes is one awesome guy and a great competitor. Iggy and I will remain friends for many years to come.

Thanks for reading and remember to tune in next Tuesday at 10/9C on the History Channel for more exciting Top Shot action.