Changing sides?

LittleSkink

New member
Have a cross dominance conundrum as I am strongly left handed and right eyed, but shoot left handed

I used to shoot competitive target archery to a decent standard and quickly dialed in to the differnt distances with sight adjustments etc - but that was quite a few years ago

Returning to archery my interest is much more to field / barebow / insticntive shooting and not range shooting (ever again!). And one of my daughters is keen to be a part of this too. Next week, for her birthday she is getting a right handed Samick Sage

This potentially gives me the opportunity to "change sides". Having tried previously, I found it so weird I quickly gave up - but I wonder if folks think (i) its worth it (ii) it will actually work . . .
 


dvd8n

Supporter
Supporter
When you shot before, 'wrong eyed', how did you cope with aiming with the 'wrong' eye? Did you close the dominant eye, use a patch, or what?
 


Timid Toad

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Fonz Awardee
Ironman
Hmmm. I'm right handed and left eye dominant, and shoot right handed - it has always felt right to me. Him Indoors is left handed and right eye dominant and shoots right handed. That feels right to him. *shrug*
 


Kerf

Supporter
Supporter
LittleSkink: We had a fourteen year old on our beginners course last year. She is naturally RIGHT handed in all she does. Once she became a member and started concentrating on using a sight we noticed significant inconsistencies in her shooting. Further checks revealed she was LEFT eye dominant. We toyed with the idea of fitting her with a patch for her left eye to “force” her to aim with her right eye. But, as she was only a month or so into her archery, we asked her to try shooting left handed with a club bow.
Long story short, after a few frustrating sessions, she got the hang of it. She now has her own LEFT handed bow, is thoroughly enjoying her archery and was getting medals at competitions in her first indoor season.
So, to answer your original question, it’s worth it and it works. Just stick at it for a while.
 


4d4m

Member
What works for one doesn't work for another. "Handedness" trumps eye dominance for a lot of people. Assuming your eyes are both healthy and have reasonable vision it's often easier for the brain to retrain itself to "see" the "correct" image, than it is to get used to holding something the "wrong" way.

LittleSkink: We had a fourteen year old on our beginners course last year. She is naturally RIGHT handed in all she does. Once she became a member and started concentrating on using a sight we noticed significant inconsistencies in her shooting. Further checks revealed she was LEFT eye dominant. We toyed with the idea of fitting her with a patch for her left eye to “force” her to aim with her right eye. But, as she was only a month or so into her archery, we asked her to try shooting left handed with a club bow.
Long story short, after a few frustrating sessions, she got the hang of it. She now has her own LEFT handed bow, is thoroughly enjoying her archery and was getting medals at competitions in her first indoor season.
So, to answer your original question, it’s worth it and it works. Just stick at it for a while.
Possibly a little confirmation bias there. It begs a question, and leaves one unanswered: did she get where she did despite having to shoot wrong-handed? Would she maybe be shooting even better had she put the time into shooting right handed? There's no way to know now.

This eye dominance dogma is, in my opinion, harming some archers' progress unnecessarily. New archers should be given the opportunity to try both left and right handed, without influence and to make their own personal choice. Also important to emphasise to them, this isn't necessarily a "forever choice". They can change it whenever they need to.
 


olis

Supporter
Supporter
I think I remember Greg from the youtube channels Archery101 and 3Darchery saying that he shoots instinctive right handed and gap left handed. Or the other way around. It was mentioned in the middle of one of his videos. I'm guessing that if you want instinctive then you need the the dominant eye whereas with gap (or sights) you can choose handedness over eye dominance if you want.
 


4d4m

Member
I think I remember Greg from the youtube channels Archery101 and 3Darchery saying that he shoots instinctive right handed and gap left handed. Or the other way around. It was mentioned in the middle of one of his videos. I'm guessing that if you want instinctive then you need the the dominant eye whereas with gap (or sights) you can choose handedness over eye dominance if you want.
Dunno. I think that's more a preference thing. Interesting though; I'll check out his vids.

Personally I think I could shoot instinctive left handed. Not well and it would feel weird but I think it might work, and I'd probably end up using the left eye even though I shoot right hand right eye. If it didn't work for me it would be because of handedness not dominance issues. But then I don't have a strongly dominant eye.
 


LittleSkink

New member
thanks folks - I am persisting with the "conversion" to right handed shooting. With a bare bow / no sights, it still feels odd (but nothing like as odd as when I started). My anchor and aim is still all over the place but for now I am just working on building a natural flow to my shot

Wondering about using Coach Eye or similar becuase it would be really helpful to have some coaching now, so I dont create any new bad habits - anyone used the App?

To answer above - @dvd8n when I shot target lefty I kept both eyes open (so strongly right eye dominant closing left makes virtually no difference to what I percieve) and had an amidextrous sight set up for my dominant right eye, because it was fixed distances once I got "dialled in" it worked fine. Now I want to shoot bare bow the shift to righty shooting seemed inevitable
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
To answer above - @dvd8n when I shot target lefty I kept both eyes open (so strongly right eye dominant closing left makes virtually no difference to what I percieve) and had an amidextrous sight set up for my dominant right eye, because it was fixed distances once I got "dialled in" it worked fine. Now I want to shoot bare bow the shift to righty shooting seemed inevitable
You've just described the impossible. Eye dominance is the brain taking the image from one eye and favouring it over the image from the other. If you close (or cover) your dominant eye there is no image for the brain to favour so it has to use the image from other eye. I suspect that you weren't closing your dominant eye and if you'd tried an eye patch you would have noticed a difference.
 


KidCurry

Well-known member
Wondering about using Coach Eye or similar becuase it would be really helpful to have some coaching now, so I dont create any new bad habits - anyone used the App?
Any camera with video will do. I found Coaches Eye quite handy but now just use my camera/video on my tablet. If you can step the frames through it really helps.
 


malbro

Instinctive Archer
Supporter
Returning to archery my interest is much more to field / barebow / insticntive shooting and not range shooting (ever again!). And one of my daughters is keen to be a part of this too. Next week, for her birthday she is getting a right handed Samick Sage
If you are taking up instinctive archery then you are likely to shoot with both eyes open and with no sights so I doubt eye dominance will have much effect, your native left or right handedness is more likely to be the major decider.
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
If you are taking up instinctive archery then you are likely to shoot with both eyes open and with no sights so I doubt eye dominance will have much effect, your native left or right handedness is more likely to be the major decider.
Nope, there is no such thing as shooting without aiming so instinctive archery is misnamed. If you are shooting with both eyes open and you don't want to aim off to the side then you need to shoot with your dominant eye. If you want to shoot against the dominant eye then you need to either block the vision from it somehow, either by closing it or by wearing a patch. The only other option is to aim off, and by a different amount at each distance.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Just my opinion...
Shooting is not inherently "handed"as both arms/hands work together...
The problem is simply that "I gave up".
Just keep trying and eventually it will work... I made a left handed bow for someone and wanted to shoot about 50 arrows through it. It felt virtually impossible to start with, and I really had to think about the mechanics of what I normally do without thought, but I soon was able to do it... ok not as well as right handed... but with time it would be ingrained.
Similarly shooting a full medieval style 32" draw into a target at 10 yards into my garage. Initially it felt like shooting from the hip and I could barely hit the boss, but my eye/brain/hands soon took over and the shots homed in to the centre.
Don't expect instant results... forget the tyranny of "scores" ... just shoot for fun and it will happen.
Del
 


4d4m

Member
Nope, there is no such thing as shooting without aiming so instinctive archery is misnamed. If you are shooting with both eyes open and you don't want to aim off to the side then you need to shoot with your dominant eye. If you want to shoot against the dominant eye then you need to either block the vision from it somehow, either by closing it or by wearing a patch. The only other option is to aim off, and by a different amount at each distance.
Nope. People get too hung up on literal meaning or etymology of words but the essence of language is they mean what the speaker or writer wish them to mean, in the context. In archery "aiming" is usually used in the sense of deliberately lining up marks on the bow or the point of the arrow with a point on or near what you want to hit. You are looking for a particular "sight picture"

"Instinctive" archery is like shooting a gun from the hip. You have no visual reference point for the orientation of the gun, you just have your awareness of your body and hence where the gun is pointing. You use both eyes to fix the target in space and orient your body such that the bullet/arrow/spear/dart/ball/rock will hit the target.

With visual aiming you need to include a near object in the same image as a far object which is not possible with both eyes at the same time, because they're a few inches apart, so dominance comes in; if your brain can "see" the image from the correct eye.

With instinctive archery you're usually canting the bow so you can more easily see the target with both eyes and not confuse the issue with two images of the bow in different positions. The brain does not need to favour one eye to get the correct image so dominance doesn't really come into it.
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
I'll have to disagree with you there. I've been on many threads where this has been discussed, and if this goes the same way we won't be able to agree, but I've coached for many years. I've had many people come to me and ask for help, without exception they have all improved when they understand how aiming works. Also the only person who claims to shoot "instinctively" and beat me in a tournament actually admitted to me that he was using point of aim and not shooting "instinctively" at all.

I hate the term instinctive as I think that it's done more to hold people back and promoted mysticism over understanding than anything else in the sport. If someone doesn't understand how they aim they call it instinctive, and those that don't want to put in any effort latch onto it and claim that they are shooting instinctive so it's going to work or not. The aiming isn't instinctive, it's learned and practised and practised more until it can be done subconsciously. But to get good at that you need to put in a lot of work, it's not instinctive at all.

But that's another argument, and I will say if you are drawing with the right hand, the arrow will be beneath the right eye, so unless you are right eye dominant you will have to aim off, that's a physical fact.
 


4d4m

Member
You're focusing on the dictionary definition as I feared. Which is why I mentioned word usage; I didn't want to ignite the "instinctive" debate on this thread as it's about a different thing. Of course it's learned, and of course people aren't born with the ability. The fact remains the majority of people who do that style use the word instinctive, whether you like it or not. It's not to hold people back (how ridiculous) but because the usage evolved that way.

I like (try to) shoot that way with various non-sighted bows, and with vastly mixed results. I just find it more enjoyable. The fact remains, and I accept it, that unless you're a truly exceptional archer, visual aiming is more precise. As you rightly say, I'd be lot better at it if I practiced it a whole lot more. I've dabbled with o-rings on a longbow and I can get a better group that way, but I just prefer canting it and looking at the target not the bow and shooting without thinking. If I want tight groups I'll shoot my Oly recurve, or my crossbow, or my FT rifle. I've shot a few clout and target tournaments with a recurve, not yet a longbow but I may well do at some point, and if I do I'll probably use a visual aim reference. For 3d though I'll stick to instinctive.

But that's another argument, and I will say if you are drawing with the right hand, the arrow will be beneath the right eye, so unless you are right eye dominant you will have to aim off, that's a physical fact.
It's only a physical fact if you're using visual aiming methods, ie. alignment of 3 points.

If you imagine snap shooting a pistol like pointing your finger, or the shooting from the hip analogy. It matters not a jot which eye is dominant, only that you can see the target. You could imagine even shooting a bow in pitch darkness at a sound. If the brain is able to fix a point in 3d space relative to the body and the brain is aware of the position and alignment of the limbs, and through learned response can associate that with the alignment of the arrow, then the archer can shoot "instinctively" without "aiming".

I don't get why it's such a controversial concept. It's not magic or mystical, it's just a result of how we evolved with two eyes on the front of the head, binocular vision and the ability to subconsciously process ballistic information in four dimensions ;) And fine tune it massively through repetition of course.
 


English Bowman

Well-known member
I disagree with you on if it's an issue as if you are anchoring you are aligning the back of the arrow below the eye of the drawing hand. It doesn't matter if you're conscious of the fact, but you are aligning the arrow with your eye, this is why it matters.

As to why I hate the term "instinctive" it's because it implies to people who don't know better that it's something that you can just do, it's an ability you've been born with. I much prefer the term subconscious or unconscious aiming. I think that the way Howard Hill described it as split vision is better still, but I know that's another debate.
 


KidCurry

Well-known member
I always consider it as a learned muscle memory action. The very reason I can hit my target at 5m and still group enough to damage arrows with both my eyes closed.
 


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