Physical, Shooting Pointers

3 Balance Shooting Drills

Živa Dvoršak

Jan 5, 2024

Imagine your body as a stack of Jenga blocks, each piece carefully placed on top of the other. Unlike the ever-shifting tower in the later stages of the Jenga game, our focus is on establishing a foundation that remains solid and unwavering, much like the initial tower setup. In Olympic shooting, where precision is paramount, stacking body parts for stability is equally crucial. Our stability comes from the correct positioning of our hips and upper body. Recently we shared 3 Balance Exercises you can do off the range to build up your legs for a better balance in your shooting stance. This time, we share 3 balance shooting drills to see how stable your Jenga tower is. Use them at the beginning of your practice for about ten to twenty shots to enhance your stability.

Drill 1: Shooting without a Jacket

In the pursuit of a steady shot, we often seek support in the equipment we wear. However, proper stability comes from within. Shooting without a jacket forces us to rely on our intrinsic strength. As we work on our upper-body stability, holding it together from start to finish, we gain insights into whether we are maintaining position by ourselves or relying too heavily on external supports.

10 m air rifle shooter in full gear but without jacket

By eliminating the jacket, we expose any tendencies to loosen up prematurely. This exercise is an excellent indicator of our body’s ability to stay aligned throughout the shot. It teaches us to place our upper body efficiently on top of the lower body without the crutch of the jacket’s support. The result is a more natural cohesion between the upper and lower halves, fostering stability in our shooting position.

Drill 2: Shooting Barefoot

Shooting barefoot goes beyond removing footwear; it’s about increasing your awareness and training the muscles in your feet. You gain a clearer understanding of your stance without the cushion of shoes, as you can’t lean into the usual support. This exercise encourages a more conscious placement of your feet, helping you determine the optimal distance apart for a better balance.

Additionally, shooting barefoot becomes a workout for the muscles in your feet. The heightened sensitivity to the ground beneath you contributes to improved stability, and the newfound awareness translates into a more grounded shooting position.

10 m air rifle shooter in full gear but barefoot to improve balance

Drill 3: Shooting on Blue Mats

For the ultimate stability challenge, introduce blue mats into your training routine. These mats provide an intentionally unsteady surface and demand a heightened level of awareness and muscle engagement. Shooting on blue mats is a comprehensive workout for the micro-muscles in your legs, enhancing overall stability.

This exercise becomes a valuable tool for perfecting balance not only by revealing any misalignment in your shooting position but also by guiding you in aligning your body parts with precision. The unsteady surface is a great indicator of how often we actually lose stability when we lift our rifles and place them on top of us. This drill forces us to move slowly and eliminate all unnecessary movements. As you master shooting on these mats, you’ll notice an improvement in your ability to balance and maintain a consistent and stable shooting position.

10 m air rifle shooter in full gear and standing on blue stability mats to improve balance

Visualise How You Want It to Be

By incorporating these stability and balance exercises into your training, you’re not just refining your shooting skills but building a foundation of strength and control. However, the journey to stability is not just physical; it’s the mental visualization that helps you find what you seek. Picture the connection between your brain and your feet as a road. When your feet send a signal, it must navigate this road to reach your brain and then return swiftly from your brain to your feet. It’s a communication highway crucial for balance, awareness, and timely response.

Shooting without external support, be it the jacket, shoes, or a stable surface, is like clearing a path through the jungle. The more you train the small muscles in your feet, the more this road transforms into a well-maintained highway. Your brain and feet communicate seamlessly, enhancing reaction times and overall stability. As you stack your body blocks with precision and embrace the challenges of these balancing exercises, imagine the transformation of that road from a tangled jungle path to a high-speed expressway.

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