Your footwork is crucial for you getting more hits, and it can often be neglected as an area to improve upon. Though the shooting season starts again in a few months, you can work on your footwork at home or with clay pigeon shooting. We have put together some tips to get you started.
Having your feet in the right place helps with the movement of the rest of your body, allowing you to rotate your upper body back to the direction the target is coming from, following it with your gun. You want your feet to be firm and stable on the ground, with your weight evenly distributed. Whether left-handed or right-handed, wait in a neutral position before seeing the target or bird, and for straight-driven birds, the lead foot moves forward when you take the shot.
For birds heading towards your left, the left foot should move back, with the right foot moving forward and pointing to where you want to shoot. When birds go to the right, again, the right foot should move to the right where you want to take the shot.
For right-handed shooters, the feet movements work opposite to left-handed shooters. If the bird is going to the left, the left foot moves to left, where you want to take the shot. If the birds are presented to the right, the right foot goes back, with the left moving to point where you want to shoot the target.
Clay shooting targets are released quickly, giving little time to change your stance. When training and improving your footwork, leave a few seconds between targets. This gives you time to shuffle your feet and correct your set up for the next target. Once you have the footwork sorted, speed up the release time between clays until you can start hitting all the targets comfortably. Practising footwork on clay pigeons helps for when you move onto live quarry.
When at your peg, look for a flat, preferably dry area to stand on. When the bird starts to rise, coming towards you, track the line it takes carefully. Be prepared as it might start veering left or right and you need to move your feet as needed, as we have laid out above. When you set your feet on your position, you need to remain balanced when taking the shot. As such, the footwear and ground you are standing on are as important.
Keep in Mind…
• Your feet should be pointing to where you will take the shot, not where the bird is when mounting your gun.
• Adjust your feet for each shot, keeping balance, so as to not limit your upper body movement.
• Hold your gun pointing to the line of the bird, as this helps you make the shot.
Practising your footwork, similar to mounting your gun, means you will develop muscle memory, and finding the right stance will become second nature, allowing you to consistently take good shots.
When out shooting, make sure you have the right gear – and there is plenty of time before the season starts to get sorted. Browse through our shooting jackets, leather cartridge bags and cosy gilets now and choose the right items for you!