Is it OK to lean against the stand when shooting? I like to lean against the stand and, for some targets, it helps me stabilize my body.
There are three basic reasons why “leaning on the stand” is a bad idea.
First, it negatively affects your balance. One of the key principles of good movement is maintaining ones balance throughout a shot pair.
Secondly, when you lean against the stand you are essentially limiting your body’s ability to move above your body’s point-of-contact with the stand. Whether the target is moving horizontally or vertically, your body must be free from any and all encumbrances that limit your movement; from the target’s hold point to the breakpoint. On crossing targets in particular, limiting your rotation could cause a miss behind. Imagine trying to hit a baseball with a bat while leaning against a three-foot fence rail.
Lastly, leaning your thigh or pelvis into the stand often causes a dipping of the shoulders at the left and right extremes of your body’s rotation causing you to spoil the line, occlude the target and miss under the line of the target.
While on the subject of movement, it is always helpful to remember the key principles of good movement when shooting a shotgun:
- Weight of the gun is in the hands
- Front hand (index finger) leads and points
- Head still (oriented on the target, don’t bring head to gun)
- Move at a comfortable pace (don’t rush!)
- Mount to the cheek, not the shoulder
- Establish your muzzle angle at the ready position such that the muzzle and heel move equally as you mount and move to the breakpoint.
Another tip I often give students trying to maintain good balance throughout a given target pair is to keep the weight of the body more on the balls of the feet than the heels. So, unless you have a physical handicap, stand on your own two feet. No leaning!