Why you must get off on the right foot
His pupil has developed a good stance and consistent gun-mount. Now it is time to concentrate on footwork, says Tom Payne
Patrick’s consistency is beginning to fall into place. That is not to say he is hitting everything, but his gun-mount has come on leaps and bounds, he doesn’t think about his eyes any more and he is enjoying his new gun. Patrick is developing a good structure in the way he shoots and the way he approaches his shots, and when it goes wrong he doesn’t revert to type as he did so much at the start.
At this stage, those of you who have been following this series are probably wondering why I’m yet to talk about the importance of footwork when trying to shoot game consistently. The simple reason is that until you have a consistent platform to shoot from — by this I mean a good stance and consistent gun-mount — introducing footwork for different heights and angles of birds can lead to the wheels falling off as style and technique start to disappear.
At the start of this process, Patrick was susceptible to reverting to type; to stop him going back to old habits, I have made sure that we have really nailed the basics, which will make it easier for him to start to use his feet to his benefit.
So far, we’ve worked on a good basic stance for the various angles of a standard driven pheasant tower. The height has been challenging but nothing ridiculous, to ensure that the height, speed and angle were realistic for the shooter.
Patrick is tall and slim and so doesn’t need to stand too square initially; in many cases the slimmer you are, the closer you will tend to keep your feet. It’s a lot to do with body dynamics. If your stance is closer together you only have to make small adjustments to allow your body to maximise its full movement for
Generally, the slimmer you are, the closer you will tend to keep your feet