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Ask The Instructor: Shooting Stance Confusion

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Question: “I see so many different things written and so many differences in opinion regarding proper stance. What’s the formula for a proper stance in sporting clays”?

Answer: Proper shooting stance for a given target begins with a solid shot plan in which you identify and landmark your breakpoint. For a right-handed shooter the left foot, or lead foot, should be generally oriented toward the breakpoint but slightly more oblique. This means that, if we establish the breakpoint as 12 o’clock from your position, the lead (left) foot should be pointed at 1 o’clock (slightly to the right) to the breakpoint. The heels should be approximately eight to twelve inches apart with the right foot at a comfortable angle away from the lead foot, generally oriented to between two and three o’clock of the breakpoint.

The key is to keep the distance between the heels at between eight and twelve inches. The natural tendency is for a shooter’s stance to be too oblique to the breakpoint (lead foot oriented toward three o’clock instead of one o’clock) with the feet spread too far apart.

For the left-handed shooter, everything is a mirror image: right foot (lead foot) oriented at eleven o’clock, assuming the breakpoint is twelve o’clock, with the left foot (trail foot) oriented between nine o’clock and ten o’clock and heels eight to twelve inches apart. Whether left or right-handed, balance should be about 60% forward and 40% back. Generally the balls of the shoulder joints should be oriented in a direct line over the balls of the feet, buttocks (or belt buckle) slightly back and nose over toes.

A good way to check your shooting stance is to imagine a plumb bob, or weight, hanging on a string from the tip of your nose. The plumb bob should touch the ground or your toes and the string should not touch your body. For a pair of targets, the right-handed shooter should orient his or her stance to the left-most breakpoint and the left-handed shooter to the right-most breakpoint. If you follow these simple steps, you will have the least amount of tension or torque at the breakpoints as you execute a single or pair of targets.

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