Can Balance Training REALLY Help Me Shoot Better?

You may be wondering how improving your balance could POSSIBLY help you shoot better.

It makes sense that better balance could help someone shoot better on the move, but how could it help you shoot faster, tighter groups when you’re standing still?

In short, your brain only has so much bandwidth and the more bandwidth your brain is using to keep you from falling, the less it has available for things like seeing, aiming, and pressing the trigger.

The more we overtrain balance, the more bandwidth we’ll have available for shooting.

The natural question then becomes, “Great…but I don’t need to worry about balance when I’m standing still, shooting with a perfect stance.”

I want you to think back to the scene in Forest Gump when Forest is waving at Lt. Dan from his crabbing ship…

The main thing that we see is his hand and forearm moving…but that only represents about 10% of the motor output from the brain.

The other 90% is being used to offset that movement that we see so that he doesn’t fall over…and most of it is happening on the other side of his body!

Look at his head moving…his other hand/arm…his torso and his hips.  His ENTIRE body is moving to compensate for the movement of his hand and forearm.  His cerebellum and other parts of the brain are making 10s of thousands of calculations on the fly on how much to flex each muscle to keep him from losing his balance and falling over.

When that arm goes from hanging at the side to rising up to wave, you’d think that the first muscles to activate would be in the shoulder and arm.

They’re not.

80ms before the shoulder activates, the opposite hip and thigh activates.

10-20ms before that, the foot and ankle activates.


The brain predicts how arm movement will disturb balance and compensates for it in advance.  (super cool)

The more novel the movement, the longer this takes.

The more practiced the movement, the less time it takes.

And doing the same arm movement while looking to the side with your feet in front of the other is completely different than the same arm movement when your hips, chest, and face are lined up where you’re looking.

The same thing happens when you draw and present a pistol.  ESPECIALLY when you’re trying to do it quickly.

Your main focus may be getting to your gun, clearing leather, and putting rounds on target, but your brain’s main focus is making sure you don’t lose your balance, fall, and crack your head open.

This is key>>>When you want to go fast and your brain is struggling to maintain balance, one of the things it does to make balancing easier is to slow down voluntary muscle movement.  Said another way, your brain will retard your speed.  It’ll put on the brakes.

So what?

Here’s what it means…a lot of times when I’m working with a shooter in-person, I can help them draw and make hits faster simply by helping them balance better!

When the brain isn’t bogged down with figuring out balance…because it’s become easy and automatic…it’s got more bandwidth to see quicker and shoot quicker.

There’s a part of the cerebellum along the midline that’s particularly key for balance…and there are drills that I have shooters do that increase the activation of that part of the cerebellum for almost immediate balance improvements AND immediate improvements in shooting performance without having to change gear or technique.  I’m simply using drills to unlock the shooter’s pent-up potential.  Like releasing the brakes.

And I can show you how to do the same thing.

What kind of drills?

It really depends and everyone’s brain is different so I usually try lots of drills, but I’ll give you an example of how it CAN work.  It’s kind of heady stuff, but this is a case where the drill is much MUCH simpler than the brain science behind it…and you don’t really need to know WHY it works for it to work.

Sometimes we can improve balance by getting more blood (glucose & oxygen) to the areas of the cerebellum that are responsible for balance.  We do that by using areas co-located or located near the area we want to improve.  It just so happens that one of the main areas of the brain that detects CO2 in the lungs is co-located with the area responsible for balance…so by having a shooter hold their breath or breathe into a paper bag for a little bit, it will oftentimes cause more glucose and O2 to fuel the balance centers of the brain!

So, it’s really cool that you can unlock shooting performance with some simple balance drills.  Especially when ammo is so expensive and hard to find.

But improving balance goes way beyond just helping you shoot better instantly.

According to the World Health Organization, falls are the #2 cause of accidental death in the world. #1 cause of unroped deaths in the wilderness.  #1 cause of construction site deaths.

That’s a big deal.

What I just shared with you is a great example of how we’re able to deliver better results in less time than what is possible with traditional gun training by training smarter…not harder.

You’re simply not going to find training like this anywhere else but here.  Someday (hopefully soon) it will be the kind of training that’s delivered from coast-to-coast, but for now, you can be seriously ahead of the curve by taking advantage of our training.

If you’re interested in improving your balance…regardless of whether it’s to avoid injury or to improve performance…I want to encourage you to watch this FREE presentation that I have on improving the balance and vision centers of the brain for tactical applications–both combatives and shooting.

Check it out now by going >HERE<

Just an FYI…bones joints don’t activate…the muscles around them do, but naming the joints/bones makes it simpler.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Fire away by commenting below




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  • Rosy

    Reply Reply January 12, 2022

    Am I glad I found you!!! You keep mentioning things that are so “normal”. So relieved when I read your blogs!! Trainers would tell me to breathe when shooting or particlar maneuvers in martial arts. It is so natural for me to hold my breath shooting, and feels better as I can focus….you just confirmed this! Mega thank you’s!!!! More trainers need your approach.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply January 20, 2022

      Hi Rosy, I apologize if I caused any confusion. You want to breathe when shooting. Let me break it down a bit…

      1. When you hold your breath to the point where CO2 levels start to rise and the chemosensors in the brain are triggered, it increases blood flow to that part of the brain…and the chemosensors in the cerebellum happen to be near the major area of the cerebellum where balance is controlled. So, for someone who has reduced balance because of an under-fed cerebellum, holding your breath can help…and it can help for an extended period of time, but you don’t want to do it as you’re shooting because of #2.

      2. Eyes are voracious consumers of oxygen and some people can start seeing significant drops in visual acuity in just a few seconds of breath holding. That’s the big reason why you don’t want to hold your breath as you shoot.

  • William Barnette

    Reply Reply March 24, 2021

    This is so true, I train handicapped shooters focused on veterans and disabled first responders. The challenge is finding each individuals sweet spot. Even wheelchair bound shooter has to find their balance in a wheelchair. Add canes and crutches and prosthetic devices and you have a goulash of things to work on!
    Thanks for your thoughtful insights into making us all better shooters and me a better instructor.
    Bill Barnette
    Spartan Combatives

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