One of the most important fundamentals to learn is proper stance—specifically, the correct foot position at each post.
The stance on each post is slightly different, and an important thing to remember is that regardless of what post you are on, you will always need to have proper stance before calling for the target. Let’s focus on a few key things that should allow you to break more targets.
So what is proper stance?
Stance relates to your foot position, the angle of your hips and squaring of the shoulders. If you are not positioned correctly, your body works against itself. The goal is one solid motion while swinging towards and through the target. This can only be done when all parts of the body are balanced and aligned. Remember that in order to break targets, you have to be comfortable and balanced at all times.
When entering into your stance, make sure to have your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed in the same general direction. To give yourself the best opportunity to break the target, you must have your body positioned towards where the target will be traveling.
Next, make sure your body—hips and shoulders—are aligned and facing the house or target flight path. The shoulders should turn with the hips, not break ahead or behind. Standing with your hips and shoulders out of alignment will hinder a shooter’s range of motion. The most commonly missed birds are the
angles, and it’s often because of improper stance. I’ve watched athletes improve their scores by multiple targets just by learning how to stand!
How can I improve?
Now that you understand what a proper stance is, practice it. The best shooters have the same stance every time they shoot, and once their feet are planted, they don’t shift or move through the entire post. While you’re practicing, check the following and make adjustments as needed:
- Are your feet where they need to be?
- Are your knees slightly bent to take the weight off your back?
- Are you placing 60 percent of your weight over your toes?
- Are your hips pointed in the direction where the target could travel?
Practicing and asking yourself these questions will get you into the habit of entering the proper stance before each shot. If you’re uncomfortable, ask yourself these questions and make adjustments. And don’t overlook your feet. Improper footwear can cause joint pain and discomfort that can be a distraction.
With your feet firmly planted, you can now focus your efforts on breaking the target. Stance is one of the basic fundamentals and once mastered will yield incredible results in a hurry.
Practice, practice, practice!