Slingshots Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so this might seem like a strange question, but I wanted to ask those of you who have experience of both slingshots and archery.

First, a little background:

It was only recently that I came to understand eye dominance. I am right-handed and have always held my slingshot in my right hand and drawn with my left. This always felt natural, but I had problems trying to hit barn doors! :banghead: I discovered that I'm right eye dominant and when I tried shooting with right eye closed and aiming along the bands with my left eye I started to hit what I was aiming at. No big surprise in retrospect. :bonk:

After shooting this way for a couple of months it's started to feel natural to aim using my left, non-dominant eye, and continue holding my frame in my right hand. So far so good - I can now shoot reasonably proficiently, and continue to improve. I'll probably never be a great trick shooter, but I guess I can live with that.

Understanding the role that eye dominance plays in aiming I've tried switching hands and aiming with my right eye, but at the moment that just feels wrong. For a couple of months I've been happy to leave it at that, but I'm now interested in taking up archery as well. I'd really like to start archery in a "proper" manner and don't want muscle memory and form from my slingshot shooting to hamper my progress.

Do any archers out there think that I'd be better retraining myself to shoot with my frame held in my left hand and aiming with my right (dominant) eye so as to have a common form between slingshots and archery, or am I thinking about this too much? Do any of you shoot (and aim) differently between the two disciplines? Have you ever switched for the good of one over the other?

Thanks in advance,
James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Hi SlingDaddy,

So, first of all, cross-dominance is not the end of the world. Larry Yien, a world-champion in IFAA longbow, shoots right-handed but is left eye dominant. He just closes that eye. Eye dominance really only plays an issue if you shoot both eyes open. Lots of trad guys do that, and most olympians do that as well. Some say there is an advantage to that, because you have depth perception. That having been said, every compound archer I know shoots one eye closed, and quite a few olympians shoot one eye closed or half-closed.

I shoot one eye closed because I don't have a clear eye dominance. If I test it, I get slightly left-dominant results, but it's pretty minimal, and so my right eye competes with my left when shooting both eyes open. At close distances, it isn't so bad, but for long range shots it really becomes a problem. For that reason, I always close one eye when shooting. So, eye dominance does and doesn't matter. It's generally preferred that you should shoot your eye dominance and not your hand dominance, it will make your life easier, but you can still be an extremely competitive archer at the highest levels of the sport shooting cross-dominant.

With that out of the way, let's address the slingshot issue. When deciding whether to switch hands, it's really about how feasible that is for you. When I first got into archery, I trained kyudo for a while, and they forced me to shoot right-handed, as it was Japanese and they don't believe in exceptions - or left-handers apparently. Anyway, coming out of that, I always shot a bow right-handed, even when I switched to the typical "Mediterranean" loose. I practiced that way for a couple of years, before running into a traditional archer and bowyer and working with him on my shooting. He checked to see my eye dominance, and it wasn't clear, but was slightly left-leaning, and I'm left handed, and he made the stunning suggestion "Why don't you try shooting left-handed?"

I put the bow in my right hand, shot one time, and I knew it was a done deal. I was never going back to shooting right-handed again. Now, the idea of shooting right-handed is so foreign that I can't even do it (unless I'm very specifically doing kyudo). But the muscle memory for western-style archery on that side of my body is totally gone. If it turned out that I'd been wrong about my eye dominance at this point, and somebody asked me to switch, I'd be looking at a minimum of a year's hard training to even get close to where I am now - and I'm not on a plateau with my shooting, far from it.

A year may not sound like that incredibly long a time, but considering how much I know about the sport and how often I practice, we're talking about 110,000 arrows or more in that one-year time frame. That kind of reboot is not something to be undertaken lightly, and due to how much more comfortable I am shooting left-handed, I may never get to even my current level shooting right-handed. So that's a long way of saying - if you want to switch your slingshot hand, you're in for a long haul of retraining, unless you're fundamentally not that good with a slingshot right now - like I was when I switched to left-hand shooting.

If you decide to shoot the other hand with archery, will it interfere with your slingshotting and vice-versa? My guess would be yes. I've owned a slingshot for about 24 hours now, but when I got it, the first thing I did was draw it to my anchor point, set back-tension, close my right eye, focus on the top fork like it was my arrow point, and start working on how to find my gaps. I basically treated it exactly like an elastic bow that shoots marbles instead of arrows. I suspect that the motions will be similar enough that you'll find the opposite to be true - you'll treat a bow like a weird, tall, wooden/fiberglass slingshot that shoots arrows instead of ball bearings. And that might make it weird to try to shoot one hand with a bow and the other with a slingshot.

My ultimate advice though would be to find a good archery coach, take a lesson, borrow some gear, get set up properly, and ask his/her advice on the subject. If they think you'll really benefit from shooting with your dominant eye, give that a try. If it becomes very awkward for you, and difficult, I suspect they'll just have you shoot cross dominant. It's not the end of the world, and it's not unheard of in the sport by any stretch of the imagination.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
533 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Firstly, thank you so very much for taking the time to respond - I started this thread a while back and was starting to think nobody would reply!

One of the reasons that I'm thinking of switching is because I'm really not that good at shooting yet and current commitments mean that I don't shoot as much as I'd like.

Part of my problem is that my right eye dominance is pretty strong, and for whatever reason a right handed hold comes naturally. Until finding this forum I thought that was right handed shooting, and as I do everything else RH I thought my set up was normal. I just couldn't see why I couldn't hit anything until I learned about eye dominance.

I think that I might try switching for a couple of weeks and see how I get on - I recently made an ergonomic slingshot designed for left-handed hold and this makes right-handed shooting feel less alien.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
If that's the case, I'd absolutely suggest you switch hands and hold with your left hand. You don't sound like you have a big haul in terms of work to get back to your current level, and it will go faster than it did initially because you will be using the right eye to aim with, and because you already know something of the sport, so you can help yourself through all the newbie mistakes you made the first time around - like having a coach for a little while.

A lot of people who are right handed grab the bow with that hand, and look at me like I'm crazy when I suggest holding it in the left hand if they're right-eye dominant/right-handed. However, they quickly get used to it and find it comfortable. One thing is, if you're used to shooting a rifle right-handed, you'll find that holding the bow or the slingshot in the left-hand is much more similar to that and will make you much more comfortable. So, give it a try. I'd love to hear your report in a couple of weeks on how it's gone.
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top