Martyn Buttery, ELEY test range manager and GB Talent Squad coach, returns in the latest edition of our coaching for accuracy series to provide his tips on how to get match ready by enhancing your endurance.
In the current climate due to COVID-19, shooting training is difficult to do. Whether it’s restrictions on travelling to the range, difficulty sourcing equipment or cancelled competitions, everyone is feeling the strain.
However, there are a few exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home to improve your shooting skills. Martyn notes that not only is physical conditioning important for your overall health and fitness, but it also plays an important, yet often underrated, part in improving your shooting accuracy.
A physical fitness program can mean greater flexibility to improve control over your shooting stance. Strength training allows you to take the weight of the rifle and hold positions for longer. What’s more, fitness contributes to general health and ability to handle stress in competition.
Professional Dutch shooter Jelle Wind comments; “As a professional athlete it’s very important that your body has a certain amount of training load to stay fit and prevent injuries. Also mentally, you want to feel good about your shape. If you get the feeling you are not in the right shape, then you have to train twice as hard.
“Not training is not an option, even in this difficult period. Of course, I know it’s very difficult to train without a shooting range. But you have to invest in yourself now and know this temporary. Try to be as creative as possible.”
With this in mind, Jelle and Martyn have offered up their best exercises to help you improve your fitness and shooting skill at home.
Gain good grip
It goes without saying that having a tight, strong grip is beneficial when handling a rifle or pistol. Better grip, means better control. This is especially crucial for pistol disciplines when it comes to recoil and its impact on accuracy.
By improving your grip, you will have a steady control over your trigger pull, be able to hold the firearm level and keep it steady.
- Use a stress ball – repeatedly squeezing the ball in repetitions of 10 can help to strengthen muscles in the hand and forearm
- Lift heavier items – practice lifting heavier items to improve wrist strength and grip
- Plate pinchers – find some flat plates and grip them either side in both hands, hold this for 30 seconds
Focus on forearms
When striving for accuracy, forearm strength is vital, as forearms do a lot of prolonged, heavy lifting in shooting sport.
- Wrist curls – use a dumbbell or household item for weight resistant and curl your wrist upward while holding your arms out straight
- Wrist rotations – start with wrists parallel to the floor and rotate 90˚. Increase the difficulty by holding a weight
Correct posture and positioning is another aspect of shooting you need to perfect in order to achieve accurate, tight grouping. Especially if you’re shooting for long periods, your shoulders are likely to start slouching if they’re don’t have adequate strength.
- Push-ups and pull-ups – not only are these great for the shoudlers, but pull-ups will also help you to improve your grip strength
- Farmers carry – pick up any object that’s heavy enough to challenge you while walking (water jugs, bags of shopping). Walk as far as you can back and forth. To increase endurance, do sets with less heavy items but walk farther and faster.
Concentrate on your core
Your overall core strength as well as specific targeted areas can affect your accuracy in a big way. This is because your core impacts balance, strength and stamina.
- Sit-ups – these can build stomach muscles used in standing position.
- Plank – this exercise helps improve posture and balance.
- Bridges – again, these are a great way to improve core strength and maintain stability
- Squats – not only do they strengthen legs, but they also work out your core and help you to maintain balance
Improve your shooting and discover more from our coaching for accuracy series: