All shooters have their own shooting style as do all instructors...no style is wrong (unless the shooter can't break the target...then something IS wrong). If you are a new shooter (at least a new SKEET shooter) don't hesitate to ask a veteran shooter to coach you...no doubt he will agree...but be sure to choose a GOOD shooter and remember that his style may be different from your style. It's up to you to find a coach who can help you improve your style as opposed to trying to change your style to his style. You wouldn't want a left-handed shooter to try to change a righty into a lefty would you?
You should also consider that several years ago, NSSA instituted a Certified Instructor Program at several levels. If informal coaching by an experienced veteran shooter doesn't help you, consider finding an NSSA Certified Instructor.
When seeking instruction, be sure that both you and your instructor are using the same basic "methods"
Type of Lead - Sustained Lead OR Swing-Through Lead
RIght-Handed OR Left-Handed Shooting
Once that has been determined, give thought to:
Range Shooting Rules
Each range may have its own set of rules, if you don't KNOW them, ask if there are special rules at the club you are shooting. The Wayside Skeet Club requires: No gauge larger than 12, No shot larger than 8, No load faster than 1200 fps.
This is not the proper place, nor is there room to discuss all safety considerations. Suffice it to say that YOU are responsible to be a SAFE SHOOTER and YOU are also responsible to see that all other shooters observe appropriate safe shooting procedures. SHOOT SAFELY and make sure all other shooters do to!
Gun Fit and Equipment
If your gun doesn't fit you, you will never be a good shooter. If your gun doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Some shooters even have a summer gun and a winter gun. You will notice that most skeet guns don't have a rear sight...your eye IS the rear sight and it must be positioned in the proper place relative to the rest of the gun on every shot. If your gun doesn't fit, your eye won't be in the correct place relative to the gun itself...and it will be especially hard for you to hit the target.
Be sure to wear hearing and eye protection while you are on the skeet field. Another good tip is always to wear a hat, not only for sun protection but especially to protect your head from broken pieces of bird...especially at Stations 1 & 7.
Mounting the Gun - High Gun vs. Dropped Butt vs. Low Gun
Most shooters fully mount the gun to their shoulder and face prior to calling for the bird. Some shooters drop the butt of the stock a little or even hold the stock away from their shoulder and face as they call for the bird. Holding the gun low is only required for International Skeet Shooting. A fully mounted gun leaves one less thing to go wrong at the time the trigger is pulled. If you have a flinching problem, try a slightly unmounted gun when you call for the bird.
Foot Position & Stance
Two of the most important shooting considerations are how you place your feet and how you position your body in preparation for the shot. Always place your feet so that your body is not stressed at the time you pull the trigger...it's OK to twist your body into your hold position so long as you attain a relaxed position at the time of the shot. Generally, if you close your eyes and mount your gun so as to easily point it at the crossing point, placing your feet comfortably, you'll be OK. Your feet should be at shoulder's width and with both feet on the shooting pad...don't put one foot way behind the other...some shooters extend both feet over the FRONT of the shooting pad with one a LITTLE behind the other. Some part of both feet must be touching the shooting pad.
Stand mostly erect...don't crouch to an extreme degree! Bend your front knee a little and keep your "pushing" leg loose but mostly straight. Maybe lean a little forward putting most weight on your front foot. Swing from your chest down, keeping your upper body locked to your gun...swing with your waist, legs and ankles but not your feet...and certainly not your arms. Keep your cheek locked to the comb of the stock.
Position your feet so you can shoot both singles without moving your feet between shots...you'll have to shoot both targets of the double without moving your feet. Shoot all your targets at one station the same way, whether they're singles or doubles...and with the same foot position. Change your foot position only on Station 8...learn to shoot singles on 3, 4 & 5 without moving your feet...hopefully you'll be in a shootoff some day and you'll have to shoot doubles without moving your feet. Learn to shoot all your shots without moving your feet between singles.
Loading One or Two Shells
Some shooters think that it's safer to only load one shell for single shots. In the light of doing everything the same each shot, load two shells whenever you anticipate a second shot, either a low single or the second bird of doubles. Load one shell only for your option and on Station 8. Having two instead of one shell in your gun is not a safety issue.
Attention, Concentration and Breathing
To be a good shooter you have to pay attention...on each and every shot. Hitting a moving target isn't easy. Establish a pattern to follow as you walk onto the shooting station...handle your gun the same way, adjust your hat properly, load the gun the same way each time, take a deep breath, relax and focus your eyes out over the target crossing, load, close and mount your gun properly and clear your mind as you move your gun to your hold point for that station.
Hand, Shoulder and Head Position
Hold the gun comfortably being sure not to copy the way other shooters hold the gun, especially the front hand. Do it the way it is comfortable for YOU. Some shooters point the index finger along the side of the front-end. Don't over extend your arm...be comfortable!
New shooters may push their shoulder forward (perhaps to better absorb recoil) but I let my stock shoulder retract a little so my face is closer to the receiver. Try it both ways to find a position comfortable to you.
No matter where your head is on the stock, back if your shoulder is pushed forward, in the middle if your shoulder is in the middle or if your nose is close to the receiver, be sure your head is in the same place relative to the rib and center line of the gun on every shot. You must be looking down the barrel, not alongside it and certainly not diagonally across it.
Pointing the Gun in the Correct Direction...BEFORE the Call
For NEW skeet shooters, this is the MOST important instruction. NEW skeet shooters must help themselves by POINTING their gun in the direction FROM WHICH to start moving it to catch the bird after they call for it. Most new shooters point their gun in the wrong direction ... more than they do anything else wrong.
As you prepare to call for the bird, point the gun in the most adventageous direction to both SEE the target and MOVE the muzzle toward it as the target flies its path. Generally... except for Station 8...the closer your body is to the TRAP that throws the target you are about to shoot...the farther away from the trap OPENING should be your initial hold (muzzel-point) position.
At High 1, point your gun HIGH over the crossing point (away from the trap opening) because that's where the target is gonna be when you pull the trigger. At Low 1, point directly at the bottom of the low house opening. Your body is as far away from the low house trap as it will ever get so point AT the opening. Try to break the bird well after it passes the crossing point...that is, where you'd break it after your first shot in doubles. For your doubles shot, hold your gun at the same position as High 1...you have to break that target before you even think of the second bird. Shoot it quickly and then look for the low bird coming into view.
At High 2, point your gun a little UNDER the path that you think the bird will travel and between 1/3rd and 1/2 the distance from the high house opening toward the crossing point. Your body is a little farther away from the high trap than it was at high 1 so point a little closer to the opening...break the bird by the time it reaches the crossing point. At Low 2 point directly at the bottom of the low house opening...your body is still pretty far away from that trap. Try to break the bird well after it passes the crossing point...where you'd break it after your first shot in doubles. For your doubles shot, hold your gun at the same position as described for High 2...you have to break that target before you even think of the second bird. Shoot rather quickly and then hit low 2 before it goes out of bounds past the front of the high house.
At High 3, your hold point is a little closer to the high opening than at High 2...but not yet AT it...your body is farther away from the trap than it was at 2. Keep your muzzle a little UNDER the target's flight path. At Low 3, hold a little further out from the opening and again, UNDER the target's flight path. Hit each bird in the area of the crossing point, or the low house a little after it passes the crossing point.
At High 4, hold about 1/4th the distance from the trap to the crossing point and under the flight path. At Low 4, the same...hold about 1/4th the distance from the trap to the crossing point and under the flight path. Both hold points are about the same distance out from the opening and both are below the flight path...the hold for the low house is lower than that for the high house for obvious reasons. Break each in the area of the crossing point.
At High 5, the same rules apply as for Low 3 but in reverse. Hold under the flight path. The same holds true for Low 5.
At High 6 point a little out from the opening and under the flight path. Try to break the bird at the same location as you would for your high doubles bird...well past the crossing point. At Low 6 be sure to hold UNDER the flight path about 1/3rd to 1/2 way from the house to the crossing point. For your doubles shot, hold your gun at the same position as Low 6 and shoot the bird quickly...you have to break that target before you even think of High 6.
At High 7, point at the bottom of the high opening. Try to break the bird well after it passes the crossing point...where you'd break it after your first shot in doubles at 6. At Low 7, the easiest Skeet shot, point directly over the crossing point marker a LITTLE below where you think the bird will fly. Move UP to the bird as it seems to hover over the crossing point. Break it BEFORE it starts to fall. Don't get complacent about how easy this shot is...anybody can miss this shot if they don't pay attention. For your doubles shot, hold your gun at the same position as Low 7, move up to the low bird, shoot and then swing onto the high bird, breaking it as it approaches you. DUCK if you shoot it too early. Watch for peices of the broken high target...wear a hat. Shoot the low bird rather quickly or the second bird will have passed you before you can get to it.
For the trick shots at Station 8, first, attend to your foot position. Hold a little out...maybe at the edge of the house...and a little ABOVE the level of the opening. Try to (visually) touch the bird with the muzzle of your gun and SHOOT well before it reaches the crossing point. For Low 8, attend to your foot position then hold at the edge of the building about AT the opening, call and SHOOT well before the bird gets to the crossing point.
If you've practiced some and have been following all these instructions, Repeat Low 8 for your Option and your 25th Straight bird.
Always hold the muzzle of your gun UNDER the flight path the bird will take so that you never loose sight of the bird after it emerges from the traphouse. If you hold your gun muzzel too high, the bird will appear to fly under your barrel and you will lose sight of it...and then have to find it before you can shoot...bad news on doubles. If you hold TOO FAR under, it's always easier to bring your gun UP to the target rather than to lower your gun to find the target and then bring it UP. This advise holds even for High 1 as High 1 starts high and appears to go up a little and then DOWN. You don't want to be too low so as to go UP and have to change to go DOWN in achieving your lead and GUN MOVEMENT for your follow through. You don't want to shoot at a falling target with a gun that is moving up.
Eye Position - Before the Call...then at the Time of the Shot
Once you've gotten your face/head locked to the stock, i.e., your eyeball in the right spot in relation to the center line of the gun in line with the rib and front sight, you can LOOK in a different direction...you don't have to look down the barrel...and that's good because when you are close to the trap and pointing the gun away from the opening, you don't want to HAVE to look away from the opening from which the bird will emerge...you want to see the bird as soon as possible...as soon as it emerges, not when it flies into your field of vision. After you have mounted the gun and pointed it properly for the station you are shooting...and before you call for the bird, you should move your eyeball(s) to look for the emerging bird as it leaves the window. Some shooters look into the opening and others look out a little to pick up the emerging bird. As you pick the bird up visually and follow it with your eyes and then start to move your gun to CATCH it, you will automatically be looking down the barrel IF your gun fits and you have mounted it properly. From there, once you look down the barrel and achieve the proper lead and shoot, you will break the target. Don't "ride" the target though. Try to break a single bird in the center third of the field...break the second bird of a double in the final third of it's flight...that's the third closest to you.
One Eye or Two
It's best to keep both eyes open as you shoot...BUT be sure to determine which eye is your MASTER EYE. With both eyes open, focus on a distant object and using both hands, encircle that object with your two index fingers and thumbs as you bring your hands together at arms length in front of you. Then, slowly. bring your hands to one of your eyes, keeping that distant object in view. The eye that your hands come to is your Master Eye. If you are a right-shoulder shooter and you have a master left eye, you've got to close it (the left eye) or prevent it from seeing the target in flight...do the latter, not the former. Some shooters place a piece of transluscent tape on their shooting glasses so the wrong eye can't see the bird. Try it. YOU DO WEAR GLASSES DON'T YOU?
You may hear different shooters make different calls...most often "Pull" but sometimes "Mark" for the low house...but WHAT they say doesn't matter. It used to matter but it doesn't any more. What is important is that your call is loud enough and sharp enough so that the puller (or button pusher, as it were) knows when you want him to release the target. A loud, sharp short "Pul" is fine, but even a loud "Puuuuuullllllll" isn't good. It should be loud, sharp and short. A loud, sharp "Yah" is perhaps even better than "Pul" because "Pull" often comes from your chest rather than your throat and mouth. If you call with your chest, you will be using muscles that may hamper your swing. Develop a call that will make it easy for the puller to give you a good target. Help HIM, help YOU.
Timing - Catching the Bird
It's probably not a good thing if you depend only on timing to break a bird...a slow pull will easily throw you off if you depend on timing alone. But timing is important. You will want, ultimately, to try to break the birds on your side of the crossing point...you must on Station 8! On Stations 1, 2, 6 & 7, if you wait until the first bird of doubles passes the crossing point you'll probably be late on the second bird. If you're shooting doubles on 3, 4 & 5 and wait on the first bird, you're dead but the second bird won't be...the second bird will be long gone unless you shoot the first one quickly. Remember, you want to try to shoot all birds the same way. You'll have plenty of time on singles but on doubles you may have to step up your pace a little on the first bird in order to have enough time for the second...and you MAY have to rely on a little timing, on 2 and 6, and PROBABLY more so on doubles at 3, 4 & 5. Practice will help. Foot position for doubles on 3, both 4s, & 5 is critical...and sometimes different than what your singles shooting position is.
Precise Lead vs. Throwing a Shot At the Bird
The Sustained Lead shooter seems to desire a precise lead more than does a Swing-through shooter and that will often cause the Sustained Lead shooter to take a little more time than his counterpart. Sometimes when the Sustained Lead shooter finds himself behind on a shot he should try "throwing" a shot at the bird rather than waiting until he achieves his proper (and precise) sustained lead, especially if he's late on the first bird of doubles. See also "Canting" below.
If you are trying TOO HARD to attain that perfect sight picture, you might be "measuring" your lead. New shooters measure more than more experienced shooters but the longer you shoot, you'll learn to get past that stage. At some time, you just gotta go for it or the bird will be gone. Measuring takes time and it'll run out on you if you measure too long. If you find yourself waiting too long, learn to shoot faster. As you get more shooting under your belt, you'll see that correct lead sooner and won't have to be so precise.
Different Sight Pictures
Here are my descriptions of the SUSTAINED Leads that I want to see as I pull the trigger. If you are a Swing-Through shooter, you will want a swing-through shooter to describe the leads that he sees...'cause they're different! They're typically SHORTER than what I see 'cause he's "swinging through"...i.e., his gun is travelling faster than is mine at the time the shot goes off..
High 1- After pointing your gun muzzel over the crossing point and HIGH, shoot about one foot UNDER the bird while moving your gun muzzel straight down. This bird, even though it's going away from you is GOING DOWN as you pull the trigger. Attend to your hold position before you shoot!
Low 1 and High 7 - About one foot in front of the bird on its flight path AFTER it passes the crossing point and be sure to follow through. The longer you wait, the more probable you are to shoot behind the bird...extend your lead if you're late shooting this bird. Keep your gun moving. If this bird is flying slowly, say into a wind, shorten your lead a little.
High 2 and Low 6 - About two and a half feet in front of the bird, shoot quickly...and follow through.
Low 2 and High 6 - About a foot and a half in front of the bird...wait for it and follow through. Shorten your lead if a strong wind is slowing the bird.
Both birds at 3, 4 and 5 - About four (4) feet in front of the bird and follow through. Try to shoot it AT the crossing point...or before rather than after.
Low 7 - No lead...shoot AT the bird and be sure to follow through even though you won't be moving the gun.
High and Low 8 - No lead...touch the bird (visually) with the muzzle of your gun, shoot and follow through! This could be your only true timing shot.
Most misses are either above (peeking) or behind (no follow-through) the bird.
Don't peek - "shoot 'em in the feet" and follow through.
Using both types of lead
Some stations lend themselves more to one type of lead than the others. The targets that start farther away from your station give you time to sustain a lead. Those to which you are close don't give you time to see the bird, start your gun, catch the bird, get ahead of it and sustain the proper lead for an instant. You "just gotta shoot" those close quick targets, maybe even pulling the trigger as you catch them...i.e., as you swing through. Stations 8 and high 2 and low 6 are swing-through stations and maybe high 3 and low 5 too. On the others you can probably better sustain a lead. Although an instructor would never condone shooting a "dead" gun, a coach might let you shoot a dead gun at low 7 if you had the correct gun point.
Shoot "Single Birds" at the same location that you break "Doubles Birds."
As a general rule, don't shoot single incomers too soon...wait 'em out. Even when you have plenty of time, wait until the incomer is in the same position it is as when you are shooting doubles...especially on 1 and 7. That's important too on 2 and 6 but it won't seem like you're waiting as long. The reason is so that you shoot all birds in relatively the same place and so that you don't have to adjust your leads if you're late. If you shoot Low 1 before it passes the crossing point, your lead is less than when you shoot it just before it goes out of bounds because it's coming at you early then crossing in front of you later. If you learn to shoot the single incomers too soon, you will be making different shots on the second bird of doubles...and the leads are different.
Just as in most movement activities, you should be sure to follow through. If you don't pay attention to your follow through, you will start shooting behind the bird...you'll be stopping (or at least slowing) your gun when your brain signals your finger to pull the trigger but BEFORE the shot leaves the barrel.
Follow through also has implications for how you finish moving your body. If before the shot is fired, you reach the extent of your comfortable body movement (swing/twist) your body will start to lean or tip and so will your gun. If you find yourself tipping or leaning at the end of your shot, try changing your initial foot position...probably toward the direction you're turning when you start to tip. As an example, if you are a right-handed shooter shooting at High 6 and you find yourself tipping to the right as you pull the trigger with the bird about to go out of bounds, turn a little to your right in your initial stance...turn your chest and stance to the right, don't just put your right foot back a little...even if you have to twist toward the high house for your single high bird. You won't have to stress yourself for Low 7 nor for High 7 after you've shot Low 7 and are turning to the right preparing to shoot High 7 as it nears you.
Sustained Lead shooters need more trigger control than do Swing Through leaders. This will be evident when shooting in windy conditions. The Swing Through shooter will usually have shot his bird before the wind has a chance to move it whereas the Sustained Lead shooter will have a tendency to "ride" the bird a little until he sees his proper lead...the wind will have more chance to affect the bird's flight so the Sustained Lead shooter has to be able to NOT shoot and get on the bird again. I've also noticed that most flinchers are Sustained Lead shooters...and they flinch (or balk) most after they've ridden the bird an unusually long time.
Once the shell fires, you don't have much control of what happens EXCEPT that you must follow through by keeping the gun moving. It's what leads up to The Shot and what happens immediately afterward, that determines whether or not the bird breaks. Do know, though, that during its flight, your pellets separate both out from the center (good...a bigger pattern) AND also front to back...some get to the target before others. Your shot string doesn't all get there at the same time...and that's good too...but only if your lead is proper.
Peeking is a type of improper follow through...it's when the shooter wants to see if he breaks the target, and his timing is off, he looks too early, often his movement starts before the shot leaves the barrell...he takes his head off the stock too soon. When you peek, the stock moves down (or the muzzel moves up) and you shoot OVER the bird. The mantra says, "Wood to wood, Knothead." Keep your head DOWN on the stock so the stock will stay UP and you won't shoot over the bird. The extreme of peeking is to shoot from the hip. Try to break 25 straight - from the hip and see how well you do.
Toe Pointing to "Catch the Bird"
If you're a little late on a bird, try extending your BACK foot...pointing your toe. When you do, your swing will be faster and you might catch the bird easier. This can be done no matter in which direction you swing. Try it.
Canting the Gun to "Catch the Bird"
Another trick to use if you're late on a bird is to cant your gun in the direction that you are swinging. There is a built in "high hit" in all shotguns, more so even in trap guns (because most all trap birds are shot as they are going up). If you can remember, you can use the physics of this by twisting the gun in the direction you are swinging, changing the UP into a little MORE LEAD...but you also have to remember the flight of the bird as you cant the gun. If you're late, the bird is probably falling...shoot it in the feet.
Waiting for the Bird
Catching the bird from way behind is always easier than waiting for the bird to catch your gun because it will instantly pass your slow-moving or motionless gun and you'll still have to catch it anyway...all the while as it's getting farther and farther away. The easiest way NOT to have to wait for the bird is NOT to get ahead of it...ever. Especially don't START way ahead of where you should start...or way behind. See "Pointing the Gun in the Proper Direction Before the Call," above.
Recurring Misses and Practice at One Station
After you've shot for a while, you might find yourself missing one particular bird from one station. If you do, ask a good shooter to coach you. Find an empty field and park yourself at that station...shoot that one bird over and over until you learn to hit it and relearn the proper sight picture. An accompished shooter can quickly tell you where you are shooting relative to the bird and usually with that information, you can adjust your lead...OR your stance OR your Muzzle Hold Point OR whatever else you are doing wrong. If you just can't get Station 8, practice High 8 by starting at Station 7. When you hit High 7 move forward three or four steps and shoot Station 7.2 then when you can hit it, move up more and shoot Station 7.5 until you finally can hit this (trick) shot while on 8...but don't stop there, continue moving up, say to station 8.2 or 8.3. You'll be surprised that you can still hit the bird quite close to the high house...then the real Station 8 will be easy. The same goes for Low 8...start at Low 1 and move up to 8.4 or so. A coach behind you is a great help.
NSSA Shooting Rules
The National Skeet Shooting Association is the governing and rulemaking body for American Skeet. Whether or not you shoot competitively, you might want to JOIN NSSA...or at least obtain a SKEET RULE BOOK. Learn at least the basics of NSSA's Skeet rules...you will be expected to know the basics by everyone you shoot with even if it's only practice skeet.
Practice Shooting with Only Two Shooters
When only two shooters are on the skeet field, try changing the button every other station. Shooter #1 shoots Station 1, Shooter #2 shoots Station 1 AND Station 2, then shooter #1shoots Station 2 AND Station 3...etc.
Taking an Extra Bird (...now and then)
On the practice field, no one objects to a shooter taking an extra bird on a "problem station" NOW AND THEN. But don't overdo the PRIVILEGE. Realize that if you shoot at more than 25 legal birds during a round, you are STEALING from the club. If you call for a target and balk, the club still has to pay for that bird. If you're really having trouble at one station, see Recurring Misses and Practice at One Station, above.
Pushing the Button
Eventually, it'll be your responsibility to be the "Puller," the one who pushes the button to release a target. Pay attention and listen for the call. Don't let the shooter's individual habits interfere. If you have to, don't LOOK AT the shooter but rather listen attentively and give him an immediate pull as all American Skeet Shooters expect an immediate target. Push the button firmly and don't hold it down. Pay attention to which bird the shooter anticipates getting...in which direction his gun is pointed...stop him if you don't understand or think he should be shooting a bird from a different house. If you screw up, apologize and move on. Pay attention next time. Be aware to release the button devise if someone tugs on the cord (asking for the button). Offer to "pull" a round or two for another squad if you want some practice at "pulling." A new shooter can learn a lot by watching and paying attention while he pulls for other shooters.
One of my state referees (who is an exceptional shooter) tells me that when he referees, he "visually shoots" each bird that he releases...and that visual practice helps his own shooting techniques. If you aren't doing anything and another squad is on the field, go out and offer to pull for them...and "visually shoot" each bird as you release it.
When a squad member shoots 25 straight, it's appropriate to congratulate him as he leaves the station. A silent fist-to-fist touch is often appropriate. The next shooter won't be distracted if the fist-to-fist touch is silent. When you shoot your first 25 straight, a big grin is appropriate too...and the first time you shoot a 25 Straight, hope that you're wearing an old hat.
Small Gauge Guns
As you get better, you may want to shoot the smaller gauges in addition to the usual big gun. As you shoot smaller and smaller gauges, know that everything except the BANG and the KICK remains the same. The leads are the same and all the other "rules" and tips above remain the same...there's just less shot coming out of your gun...and for that reason, you have to be more exact...there's less room for error. Being a few inches off with the little gun just doesn't get the job done...but it doesn't beat you up as much either.
Doubles at All Stations
As you progress in skeet shooting, shoot a round of all doubles now and then. It's both good practice for shootoffs and it may "loosen" you up a little. You might also want to "open" your stance a little too. Especially for a high-bird-first station...rIght handed shooters might want to address the station turned a little more to the left . The faster timing might help you in regular skeet too.
NSSA Registered Skeet Shooting
"Registered Skeet" is the formalized competitive shooting sanctioned by the National Skeet Shooting Association. You do have to pay to JOIN NSSA and the cost of shooting a 100 registered birds is usually more than practice shooting as there are both state and national fees, usually an experienced referee/scorekeeper and often prizes. Once you can regularily shoot 20 out of 25, you should consider shooting in a few registered shoots. Each gauge has "classes" of shooters and winners in each class. You will be competing against other shooters of your abilitiy...and it's fun...and you get official braggin' rights if you shoot better than your buddy.
Different clubs handle ties (in Registered Shoots) differently, sometimes by long run (from the front or back) and sometimes by "straight skeet" i.e., starting at Station 1 as in a regular round of skeet. MOST OFTEN, shootoffs are "Doubles at 3, 4 & 5." All shooters shoot a pair at 3, then at 4-high house first, then at 5, then back to 4 shooting the low bird first, then 3, then 4, high first and so on. The first to miss when the other(s) breaks looses...no matter how long it takes. The second shooter always has to prove that he can break the same target if the first shooter misses. If the shooter with whom you are tied, misses his first target, BE SURE that you break your FIRST one...even if you miss the second one...if he breaks his first and misses the second, you MUST break the first...and if you break the second, you win! If you miss the second one, the shootoff keeps going.
American Skeet is typically shot only in North America. International Skeet is harder and is shot all over the rest of the World. Basically there are three differences. First, some part of the stock of the gun must be visable below the shooters trigger finger elbow until the target emerges, the release of the target may be immediate or up to three seconds after the call and the target is faster, rather it goes farther and must be initially faster to attain that greater distance, so overall, when it's in range, it's faster. There are a few other procedural rules but nothing drastic (e.g. doubles are shot at 3, 4 and 5 and there is no Low 1 or 2, and no high 5 or 6, nor singles at 7. If you can wait to see the target, mount a low gun and swing faster, you can learn to SHOOT INTERNATIONAL skeet.
Place your feet, point the gun correctly, wood-to-wood, don't peek and follow through!