British shooting instructor John Higgens (second from left) and Rhonda Young of Georgia were in Grand Forks conducting a clinic for local instructors on their Coordinated SHooting Method approach to clay target shooting.

Don Dietrich, a longtime shooting instructor, has begun teaching a new curriculum to other instructors called the Controlled Shooting Method, moving away from teaching shooting as a technique and more of a perception-based form of recreation. And no, it has nothing to do with throwing dice.

Dietrich who has been shooting sporting clays competitively for more than 20 years, said existing programs for certifying instructors were falling short in that respect, according to this story from

“We felt it was taking away from the emphasis of youth, beginning shooters, and fun,” Dietrich said. “We said there has to be something more than this.”

After some searching, Dietrich brought British shooting instructor John Higgins, who founded the CSM program, along with Rhonda Young, a Georgia-based expert who also worked not he program, to the Dakota Hunting Club, where Dietrich teaches.

Nine shooting instructors then participated in a three-day CSM course called TRACS, which stands for “Teaching Recreational and Competition Shooting.”

“We try to teach teachers to put the student in charge of their learning,” said Higgins, who moved to the U.S. from Britain in 2001 and now lives in Michigan. “We try to empower. Sometimes, you get a pushback for that because if you’re empowered, suddenly you’re responsible and accountable. But once they get the hang of that, it’s a quicker way to learn. It kind of puts kids on the fast track. “

Higgins said CSM instructors don’t teach technique, but rather a system “based on individual perception, and so we built on that. We like to say it’s a brain-based perspective because our program developed according to the way people learn how to do things.”

For instance, CSM teaches a clock system to help shooters perceive a target’s flight path in relation to the point on the clock where the target is being launched. The middle of the clock represents the target, and shooter then set the second hand on the clock at the point where they perceive they’ll see the target.The key is finding the numbers on the clock that result in breaking the target, and then repeating it.

“Six different people will give you six different numbers, and they’ll break it, so perception is not linear, it’s not geometric,” Higgins said. “And a lot of times, it makes no sense, but if it works, we’ll believe it.”

Read more about the CSM system here.