Non Shooting Arm Matters

Contrary to what I have been reading, my non shooting arm does matter.

As my perception and consciousness of my body have progressed, I’ve been able to see how the position of that arm has a big impact in my stance. I understand that not all shooters will have my beautiful and perfect body and will not have the same exact position, but it is definitely worth paying attention to.

In the very beginning I was putting my hand in the front pocket of my jeans. This lasted until I found out that for some competitions jeans where forbidden (help me bring them back!) and that my hand ended up in uncomfortable places when I was using trainers or trying to place it in the rim of my pants.

Sorry, but I’ve not found any front facing image of that time that shows the hand in the pocket. I swear that’s where it is! Plus, this spares you looking at my junk.

To make sure I could place my hand in a way that was pants independent and could be reproduced time and time again I started using a belt. At the beginning it was tighter and farther up, but this created too much tension in my shoulder, arm and body plane (scientifically know as coronal or frontal plane). So I ended up loosening and lowering it. This is how I’ve been shooting for about a year.

One day I notice that my shoulders had a tendency to shift my frontal plane towards the target and that it sometimes induced a slight hip movement. By paying attention to my body I realized that it was because my non shooting shoulder had a tendency to move forward and get out of place.

I had seen Jerôme Son (an impressive junior shooter from Belgium) do a rotation of that shoulder before every shot reset his shoulder, to relax it and place it in the right position. This made me think more about it and brought me to trying an experiment and put my hand as far back as I could so that that shoulder would stay put and I added no extra tension:

Experiment in shoulder placement

Thanks to that experiment and a conversation with my coach I’ve ended up just using my thumb and not bringing it so far back. This makes my frontal plane more stable, stops those disturbing tendencies of my left shoulder, and reduces shoulder tension.

10m air pistol standing position with thumb in belt

How do you do it?

Please let me know in the comments if this is helpful. Thanks!

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