Dominant Eye Training

To reach your potential in any “shooting” sport your eye dominance must take precedence over your dominant handedness. Do not assume your eye dominance is your hand dominance. If you do not know your eye dominance, read my earlier blog about how to check. Samantha asked….

I took archery lessons a few years ago. I own three bows, a compound, re-curve, and a crossbow. But one thing I never thought about until after I stopped taking lessons was eye dominance. I soon found out that I was left eye dominant, but I am right handed. So I have been having trouble hitting the target since my dominant eye is not the one being used to aim. This has been making it difficult and a little frustrating. I have tried left handed bows so my dominant eye was focused down the arrow shaft but it made it even harder to steady and was uncomfortable. Do you have any suggestions on things that could help my aiming? I do not wear eye glasses or contacts. I have had my eyes checked very recently and was told that I had great vision.

If your hand and eye dominance match, you are very lucky. It is important to note that level of dominance can vary from person to person. For some archers it is very difficult to tell the difference and in some cases your eye dominance can change, although that usually happens at a young age. My little brother’s eye dominance changed when he was 8 after a year of archery lessons with a right-handed bow.

For those archers that end up cross-dominant (left–eye dominant and right-handed or vice versa), it can be extremely frustrating, especially for those who take it up later in life since you have already developed your dominant handedness.

Some archers try to force the eye to match their handedness and end-up very frustrated. Trust me you will be far more frustrated trying to force your eye dominance than training your body to do the tasks with your other hand. It may start out unsteady and uncomfortable but it will get better with practice.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

To help train your body to shoot with your dominant eye, you need to add extra practice using resistance bands to develop the muscles. Also If your eye-dominance is closer to the middle or you have switched recently; shoot with an eye-patch on the less dominant eye to help train yourself to aim using the dominant eye.

The key to achieving success is purely perseverance. Although it can be costly to purchase another bow, you need to match your shooting to your eye dominance.  My coach was already a successful archer before she discovered her eye dominance was incorrect. She changed and became even more accomplished and never regrets the work she had to do.

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Pulling Arrows

One of the first things every archer has to do is pull their arrows from their target. As an archer develops and increases in draw weight, arrows can become lodged deeper and deeper into a target making them more difficult to pull out. Additionally, new target materials make this more difficult since they are denser, more rigid, and designed to last longer.

Arrows should be removed on the same angle at which they entered the target and while twisting an arrow can help loosen the arrow, it can also crack the shaft and damage it, so this is not a recommended approach. So, if an archer is struggling retrieving their arrows they can unintentionally bend or break them.

This can be a problem, especially for younger archers, who have bows that drive the arrow deep into the target but have not yet developed the strength to retrieve their arrows.

Generally, pulling arrows doesn’t have to be difficult with a little preparation before shooting.

First, apply arrow lube to your arrows. By lubricating your arrows, it makes it easier to pull your arrows from the target. Alternatively you can use bar of soap.

Next, get yourself an arrow puller. An arrow puller wraps around the arrow providing a better grip to help remove a stubborn arrow.

Every archer should have an arrow puller, so when selecting one, make sure it is large enough to wrap around your arrows, yet small enough to work within tight groups of arrows. Check out Cartel Doosung’s new Midas arrow puller, it is small, inexpensive and very effective, and it is the one I use.

Sometimes, an archer can miss the target and the arrows find themselves in more difficult material for removal such as the wooden target frame, a tree stump or even a concrete wall.  Although arrows stuck in concrete wall are lost, arrows stuck in wood sometimes can be retrieved by loosening the wood around the arrow with a sharp knife or a hammer and chisel. If attempting such an extraction, remember to work slowly and avoid damaging the arrow or point.