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  • Carl

Training - the art of shooting

On the continent shooting is instinctive among pétanque players. The attacking side of the game is very important, not just to remove a ball that is close to the cochonnet, but also to reduce the scoring opportunities for the opposition.

Successful shooting allows you to take the initiative. It’s important to understand it’s about precision, not strength. Anyone can do it - men, women, young and old.

Preparing to shoot – your feet

For the right-handed player the right foot should be slightly in front of the left, pointing toward the target. Make sure you are comfortably set. Obviously reverse that if you are left-handed.

Knees should be slightly bent, and you should lean slightly forward, but not too far.

Preparing to shoot – your hands

The ball should be held in exactly the same way as for pointing:

  • Do not grip the ball too hard. Instead hold it firmly enough to stop it falling out of your hand when it is palm down.

  • Make sure that all your fingers are together.

  • Do not make a claw, with your fingers apart.

  • Don’t press your thumb onto the side of the ball. It can rest there or rest it against the side of your index finger.

Shooting – adopt a routine

Use a routine to get ready to shoot every time. Something like this:

  • Stand behind the circle and set your eyes on the target.

  • Step forward into the circle and set your feet, so that you are standing comfortably (see photo above).

  • Relax and flex your legs. Lean you body slightly forward, but not too far.

  • Get your torso absolutely still.The only motion is from your throwing arm.

Shooting - the release of the ball is everything

For short range shots at around six to seven metres, don’t swing your arm too far back. For longer distances swing your arm back further.

Your arm should keep swinging in the same plane, like a pendulum. Avoid swinging across your body. If you miss, step out of the circle and then restart your routine once again.

Nothing hurts the opposition more than a carreau. That is a shot which dislodges the opponent’s ball while your own ball stays in almost the same place.

You should consider what is the correct shot.

To loop the ball to enable the carreau to happen, you release it later. A flatter ball requires an earlier release.

A flatter trajectory can make the target easier to hit, but the drawback is that your own ball is likely to travel further as well.

Consider each shot in isolation. Use the pitch to your own advantage and play the percentages - i.e. it is better to play a shot that has a greater degree of success than an alternate one that is far more difficult to execute.

Good shooting.

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