Air Rifle, Pistol and Archery Training Tips

The Six Fundamentals of Shooting

Shooting Stance 

The feet and body are turned so that the body faces at least 90 degrees
away from the target and the left side is pointed towards the target.
The feet are shoulder width apart. Both legs and knees are straight.
However, the muscles in the legs must be relaxed, not tense.
The left arm must rest on the left side, directly under the rifle. The elbow can rest on the hip, or the arm can rest on the side, but it must always be directly under the rifle. The rifle rests on the left hand. Most
shooters make a fist with their hand and rest the rifle on the fist. There are different support hand positions that are correct for different individuals. The rifle should be placed fairly high in the shoulder so that the head can be kept nearly erect. 

The website Target Techniques explains this further here

Matt Emmons, picture from Normal stance.
Olympic Shooter Ivana Maksimovic

Grip Technique

The first step to the trigger finger being able to properly pull the trigger is to ensure that the grip on the rifle is correct.

For rifles this means that the trigger hand is firmly gripped around the stock applying slight rearward pressure into the shoulder and the support hand is loosely gripping the fore end of the rifle, supporting the rifle.

Breathing Techniques

Important to supply energy to the muscles and refresh the muscles in the eyes
• In-between breaths athletes can make sure they are on the appropriate target
• For maximum stability athletes must stop breathing when taking the shot (called the HOLD)

First breath
– Check Natural Alignment
– Muscles relaxed, sights moving vertically
• Breathe all the way out
– See a perfect sight picture
• Second breath
– Relax, get ready to commit to shot
• Breathe out
– See a perfect sight picture

After the shot is released:
– Breathe the rest of the air in the lungs out
• Breathe in and continue cycle
• HOLD is critical between breathing and releasing shot
– Sights MUST be perfectly still
– The most focus is required at this point


A hold must last no longer than 5 seconds
– Oxygen is lost to eyes
– Muscles in chest tighten
– Movement and usage of the muscles inevitably follows
• Shooters  must breathe OUT prior to hold
– Imagine putting pressure on an inflated balloon
• Less pressure and tension on extremities

Dia-Opter (Closed) Sights 

Sight Alignment is the most critical aspect of
aiming. It is the alignment of the eye, rear sight and front sight. The shooter must have proper sight alignment while centering the target to obtain a proper sight picture.

The eye can only focus on one thing at a time,
the main focal point should be the front sight. The shooter should move their focus in the
sight alignment process
– From front sight to target
– Back to front sight
– To rear sight and
– Back to front sight to squeeze the trigger

Trigger Action

Squeezing the trigger is:
– Constant
– Controlled
– Slow
– Deliberate
It should be done without any movement in the foresight. The trigger goes in front of the first joint
The squeeze takes place at the second joint, like a hinge. This will allows the trigger to come straight backwards.

One Stage Triggers
– One fluid, controlled motion
– Slow, approx 3 seconds to squeeze through
Two Stage Triggers
– Squeeze through the first stage, last breath
– Squeeze through the second stage, 2 seconds.

The Follow Through

Staying in the aim after the shot has been released helps the shooter develop a proper HOLD
– Maintain stability
– Ensure no movement of the rifle as the shot has been fired
– Calling shots
It allows athletes and coaches to correct faults/mistakes
– Improves consistency in routine
– Stable Position = sight picture returns to target after shot

The Follow Through process
The shooter should:
1. Squeeze the trigger, releasing the shot
2. Keep the trigger squeezed back
3. Exhale the rest of the oxygen out
4. Breathe in
5. Breathe out
6. See a perfect sight picture
7. Change diagrams

The basics are the same for pistol as above in rifle: stance, grip, sight alignment, breath control, and trigger control & follow through.

Below is a quick guide to the basic Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting

Stand comfortably and naturally with your feet about shoulder width apart.

Back and neck should be aligned straight. The shoulders should be relaxed.

Your non-shooting hand should be anchored; otherwise, it will swing (moving while shooting is ‘bad’) and throw you off your stance. Place it either in your trouser front pocket or tuck it into your trousers or belt. Don’t stick it in the back pocket or in the back of your trousers as this induces a twist in your spine, throwing you off your natural alignment.
6. The elbow and wrist of your shooting arm should be locked during the lift and until you have completed your follow-through after the shot is released

The website Tenrings Coaching have produced some basic coaching tips to help you improve your enjoyment of precision pistol target shooting. All of the following elements are very important and all interact with each other in one way or another. Practicing these elements will help you to become more proficient in your shot creation process

Archery Techniques

While shooting your bow, you should keep your back and bow arm straight. Pull your shoulder blades together to get both shoulders in a straight line with your bow arm.

To keep the right archery form, you should stand with your feet parallel to the shooting line at shoulder width apart.

If you feel more stable you can spread your feet a bit farther than your shoulders. But make sure that you are not straining your muscles by spreading out too far.

For further information on your Archery Stance & Posture visit

Improve your Archery

With the finger draw, we use two or three fingers to draw the bow. Some archers place three fingers below the arrow, while others place one finger above the arrow. With this type of draw, we only use the index finger, middle finger, and ring finger.

You want to make a hook out of your fingers and let the arrow rest on the joint of your finger. Don’t put the arrow too much on your fingertips, because then it will be harder to keep the bow at full draw. You don’t want to grip it too tightly either because that might cause inconsistencies in your shot

The correct sight picture is with the string of the bow in alignment with the centre of the Target, the tip of the arrow and the shooters eye. 

The more left of the string your eye is the further left the arrows will fly in relation to the target. Likewise the further right of the bow string your eye is the further right the arrows will fly.

Further information on Aiming the Bow can be found HERE

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