MUNCY VALLEY - Dylan Craft lowers his gun, takes a slow breath, raises, calls "pull" and a split-second later there's a blast from his shotgun as his shot disintegrates a clay target as it flies through the air.
It all happens in a matter of seconds but, watching Dylan, you'd think he has all the time in the world. It's all done in one smooth, fluid motion.
"I've been shooting since I was 8 or 9," said Craft, a member of the Sullivan County High School Shooting Sports Team.
Craft and other high school shooters from across the area gathered at the North Mountain Sportsman Association lodge on June 20 for the final day in a weeklong camp. It was designed to help the shooters hone and sharpen not only the physical parts of international bunker trap shooting but also the rigorous mental aspects of the sport.
The shooters had no shortage of experience coaching them, as a staff of highly decorated coaches was on hand.
Craig Hancock, the owner of Hancock Shooting Agency and assistant shooting coach at Lindenwood University, which won the National Shotgun Sports Championship from 2004 to 2013; and Lester Greevy, who has coached three double-trap junior world champions and two junior world championship teams, gave shooters tips and pointers to improve their shooting.
"We try to develop an attitude in the kids where all things have a purpose and they have that purpose plus a positive drive," Greevy said. "We practice what I call stealth coaching; they don't even know we are coaching them, we're just talking to them."
Hancock echoes Greevy's sentiment and also emphasizes the importance of the mental aspect of the sport.
"You could be a great practice shooter, but when you get to competition and the pressure is building, that's when it's important to have the mental edge," Hancock said. "Once you learn the basics ... it's 90 percent mental form there."
On June 20, the shooters were taking part in the international bunker trap.
"This is the type of shooting that the rest of the world does and that they have at the Olympic games," Greevy said.
In international bunker trap, Greevy explained, the target can come from 15 different "traps" or throwing devices, at varying angles and at 65 mph.
"We use a flatter, domed target than American-style trap shooting. It also has to be harder to withstand the force of the throw," Greevy said.
This differs from American-style trap shooting where there is one trap that throws at a consistent height but varying angles at 50 mph.
Hancock and Greevy provided the shooters with constructive criticism in regard to their aiming and shooting and also taught them a variety of visual exercises they could perform to keep their mental focus sharp.
"It's all about preparing to see the target well, practicing the movement to the target and visualizing the desired result," Greevy said.
The visual exercises help the shooters develop a trust with their subconscious, Hancock said.
"That's a big key ... learning to trust that your shot will go where your eye goes without having to think about it," Hancock said.
He told the shooters how they can use any number of household items to improve their visual prowess, including an egg crate and a quarter.
"You just try and move the quarter from spot to spot in the egg crate," Craft said, after he completed a round of shooting.
Another exercise the shooters use is the Marsden ball, a red and green ball on a string.
"You try to focus your eye on a number while the ball is swinging from side to side," Craft said.
The practice and exercise is paying off for the shooters who attend the camp. Last year, Craft along with three of his teammates, made the trip the Junior Olympic Scholastic Clay Target Program Games in Colorado Springs, and they plan on returning there this year in July.
The high school senior might be feeling pressured to medal his last year in the sport, but he certainly doesn't show it when he's shooting. He just keeps performing the same routine - breathe, raise, visualize, fire and repeat.
"I can set my watch by him," Greevy said.