Over a 40-year
career, George has established a lifetime 12-gauge average of .993 and
been elected to 14 All-American skeet teams. He has established numerous
"firsts," including the first shooter to break 100 with a .410 at the
New York State Championships, the first shooter to break 400 straight
in New York State, and the first shooter to break 400 straight in the
US Open, in 1983. He has twice led the world in doubles average and established
the highest doubles average shot so far: 549x550 for .9981. George currently
holds the individual sub-sub senior highest score of 599x600 and shares
the two-man team highest score of 999x1000 with Craig Parsons. In 1992,
he shot a perfect 1200 with the 12 gauge, and his 20 gauge has carried
him to the top of the leaders list on three occasions.
numerous other accolades, but let’s get right into George’s shooting tip.
sports, balance is everything when it comes to shooting clays. If you’re
off balance, you can’t perform your best and your scores and ego will
suffer. Proper weight distribution is essential to good fundamentals and
strong fundamentals lead to consistent and improving scores -- which leads
to more fun, more satisfaction, more enjoyment, more confidence.
shooters, the best way to maintain your balance is to stand on the station
with your feet about 18-22 inches apart, toes opened up slightly off parallel
so that you’re standing comfortably at ease, with weight distributed about
70% on the ball of the left foot, 30% on the right foot, left knee slightly
shooters, all foot instructions are just the opposite. This percentage
of weight distribution allows you to maintain your balance, both for single
and double targets. The right way to swing is to keep your shoulders parallel
to the ground and somewhat square to the target.
a triangle that’s made up of your shoulders out to your elbows (the long
side of the triangle) with your arms holding your mounted gun making up
the other two sides of the triangle. The object is to maintain that triangle
through the shot, to follow an imaginary line parallel to the ground,
as you track the flight of the clay to the point where the trigger is
pulled and beyond (follow through, finishing the shot). The only way to
hold the triangle on a level plane (the imaginary line which runs parallel
to the ground) is by swinging at the hips, and this is accomplished by
shifting more of your weight slightly onto your left foot, pivoting at
the hips and ankles. This shift in weight will help accelerate your muzzle
toward the target.
If you don’t
maintain this proper weight distribution, I can guarantee you’ll miss
a lot more targets.
One of the
most pronounced telltale signs of improper weight distribution is when
a shooter swings with their shoulders, leaning the upper part of the body
to the right, meaning that your upper body is now off to the right of
your stance, and that your right shoulder is below your left shoulder.
the scenario: you run out of swing, you push your shoulders around (arm
swinging), your right shoulder dips and you miss the target by a country
mile. You are behind the target, you’re under it and you’re off balance
leaning on the heel of your right foot. What kind of chance does a shooter
stand for breaking a second target, when your balance is so far off center?
If you do
swing the gun by powering around from your left hip, you’ll find that
it’s easy to keep your shoulders square to the target and to smoothly
shift your weight another 10% to your left foot as you swing.
So now you
have this picture in your mind of powering around from your hip, your
shoulders square to the target, maintaining a triangle on a plane level
with the ground…and what happens next? As you swing, you’ll see that your
weight shifts. That 70% you have resting on the ball of your left foot
should increase to about 80%. Maintaining this invisible line is just
as important for doubles or report pairs as it is for singles.
that you’ve done everything right and you break the first target. What
many shooters will do is start swinging the gun to chase the second target,
before they see the target. They’re swinging blind, going to the “zone”
where they expect to break the bird; they’ve lost sight of the target.
When that happens, you almost inevitability will break the invisible line,
go off balance and once again find yourself swinging the gun with your
shoulders. The target gets away from you.
attacking the second bird with your eyes, when your eyes see the target
the computer between your ears can analyze the situation (the flight path
and speed of the target) and a subconscious program registers in your
brain on how to break that target. You know where the target is and approximately
where you’re going to break it before you even swing the gun. With your
eyes now focused on the front edge of the target, you can easily develop
a more controlled swing that follows the invisible line and your weight
distribution will power you towards the target -- you will execute a perfect
are some shooters (you know who you are) whose body proportions get in
the way of a full swing. All
I can say is try to improve your flexibility around your waist. It can
make a huge difference in keeping a balanced swing.
are other shooters who mount their gun too low, which is the most common
mistake in gun mount and many shooters don’t realize they’re doing this,
check it in a mirror – the top of the gun pad should line up with the
top of your shoulder. If you do actually mount your gun too low you will
find that the gun shoots a pattern slightly higher than your aim point.
gun mount and proper balance are all tied together and a low gun mount
causes a tendency to shoot over targets.
group of shooters who keep their feet too close together. Bear in mind
that if your feet are parallel, you can’t swing freely from the waist
and you’ll find yourself doing those nasty shoulder drops, your ankles
will bind up and your swing slows down. Opening up your feet allows your
hips and ankles to maintain proper rotation, creating a smooth even swing
to this shooting tip, I’m going to give you some homework.
gun and point it toward a corner of your ceiling. Swing to the other corner
to the right, aiming along the seam between the wall and the ceiling.
See how far you can keep that gun on the seam. When you run out of swing,
look at where your feet are, and whether or not your ankles are binding.
the gun the same way, open your stance and stand slightly “duck-footed”
and then swing on your left hip and see how far you can swing and you
should be able to go all the way to the other corner – automatically putting
another 10-20% of weight on your left foot as you swing through to the
If you can
do that exercise consistently, then you know that the invisible line is
working for you.
information about George Lehr, visit his web site...http://www.lehrsports.com