May 13, 2010
Bourjaily: An Odd Eye Dominance Solution
By Phil Bourjaily
This is a picture of my son John, who went from shooting trap scores of 4x25 last week to 19x25 this week. As you can see, I’ve put a piece of electrician’s tape over his off-side eye. That’s a common solution to cross-dominance, when a shooter is right handed but left-eyed or vice versa. The tape obscures the strong eye’s view of the gun enough to force the weaker eye to take over.
However, tape on the lens is only half the solution in John’s unusual case. He is center dominant, the visual equivalent of being ambidextrous. (I don’t know how common it is, but two of the 30 kids on our high school trap club are center dominant.)
John is left handed and a good shot at skeet, sporting clays and real birds when he starts with an unmounted gun. In trap, with the gun premounted, the gun blocks enough of his left eye’s vision that the right eye sometimes takes over. John is – or was – a terrible trap shot.
We tried everything, including tape over the right eye. Nothing helped. Last Tuesday we worked on left to right angles. John went 0 for 49, having gone 1 for 50 on the same target the previous week. Out of desperation I said: “Why don’t you try shooting some right-handed?” At first it didn’t work. Then I put tape over his left eye, and just like that, John started smashing targets.
The point is, eye dominance isn’t just left or right, there all kinds of gray areas in between. I don’t fully understand why this fix worked, but it did, spectacularly. I now have a son who hunts and shoots sporting clays left-handed, two-eyed, and shoots trap right handed, one eyed. Unusual problems sometimes require unusual solutions.