Understanding Eye Dominance in Shotgun Sports: Insights and Practical Tips

David Stewart, CEO and founder of ShotKam, smiling in a collared shirt against a leafy green background outside  Written by David Stewart, CEO of ShotKam 

As the CEO of ShotKam and an avid shooter, I understand just how crucial eye dominance is in shotgun sports. Eye dominance plays a significant role in how you align your gun with the target, and addressing it properly can make all the difference in your performance. In this article, I'll share insights from my own experiences, and lessons from top shooters and instructors like Gil AshDavid Radulovich, and Don Currie. Additionally, I’ll discuss how ShotKam technology can help you identify and correct eye dominance issues.

Personal Insights on Eye Dominance

Understanding Eye Dominance

When shooting a shotgun, both eyes need to be open, which means your eye dominance—whether you are left-eye, right-eye, or somewhere in between—will influence where your gun points. I learned this firsthand. I always assumed I was right-eye dominant, but a few years ago, I discovered that my dominance is actually more centered between my nose and right eye. This revelation significantly impacted my shooting performance. Note: We discuss this situation with right-handed shooters; adjust accordingly if you are left-handed.

Practical Tips for Shooters Who Are Not 100% Right Eye Dominant

One key tip is to synchronize with the target. Focus on the target and pull the trigger as soon as the gun is in your face. The longer the gun stays in front of your face, the harder it becomes for your brain to ignore it, the more barrel aware you become, and the more your eye dominance position takes over. This method was first developed by Robert Churchill in the 1920s, and focuses on shooting game and clay targets naturally, without overthinking.

Using ShotKam Technology

ShotKam videos are invaluable for identifying and correcting eye dominance issues. By reviewing your ShotKam footage, you can ensure that your gun is moving in sync with the target and that you're not drifting off target the longer the gun is in your face. 

Insights from Gil Ash

Gil Ash, director of OSP Shooting School, is winking and giving a thumbs-up for shooting sports.

Gil Ash, a respected shooting instructor, co-founded the Optimum Shotgun Performance (OSP) Shooting School. With decades of experience, Gil has helped countless shooters improve their skills through his innovative training methods and practical advice.

Managing Cross-Dominance

For cross-dominant shooters (e.g., right-handed but left-eye dominant), practical solutions include adjusting gun fit and using visual aids such as tape on shooting glasses to block the dominant eye. This adjustment can help you better align your shots without switching shooting sides.

Simplifying the Shot Routine

Simplifying your shot routine and focusing on consistent practice is essential. Start with single targets and build your skills gradually. This approach helps develop muscle memory and reduces cognitive load during shooting.

Insights from David Radulovich

David Radulovich, wearing a cap and red-tinted glasses, aiming a shotgun with a focused expression against a blurred green outdoor background

David Radulovich is a world-class competitive shooter and instructor, known for his remarkable achievements in sporting clays. As a National Champion, David brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his students, focusing on personalized coaching and eye dominance techniques.

Eye Dominance Testing

David Radulovich often starts with simple eye dominance tests like the "Miles Test" (pointing at a distant object with both eyes open and then closing each eye to see which eye maintains alignment). Understanding your eye dominance helps tailor training and shooting techniques.

Adapting Shooting Techniques

Radulovich suggests adapting your techniques based on your eye dominance. Cross-dominant shooters might benefit from slight adjustments in their head position or stance to better align their dominant eye with the barrel.

Integrating Don Currie's Insights: The Churchill Method of Shooting

Don Currie, wearing a blue collared shirt and a tan shooting vest with a shotgun resting on his shoulder, standing outdoors with a leafy green background.

Don Currie is the Chief Instructor for the National Sporting Clays Association (NSCA) and a renowned advocate of the Churchill Method. Don's extensive experience and deep understanding of shooting mechanics make him a highly sought-after instructor in the shooting sports community.

Theory of Allowance

Churchill's Theory of Allowance is based on the axiom "Keep your eye on the ball." For shooters, this means maintaining constant visual focus on the target, not the gun barrel. By focusing entirely on the bird and holding the gun correctly, you can hit whatever you're looking at without consciously aiming.

Mounting and Movement

Correct mounting and body movement are crucial. Move with the target and mount the gun naturally, without constraint or effort. This approach contrasts with consciously aligning the gun barrel, which can diminish your focus on the target and reduce accuracy.

Practical Exercises and the Role of ShotKam

  1. Patterning Board Exercise: Use a patterning board with your ShotKam to see how your gun aligns as you mount it. Take some shots as soon as the gun is in your face (under 1 second) and take some shots with the gun in your face for more than 2 seconds. Look at the center of pattern position in both cases and then look at the ShotKam videos. If you see the ShotKam reticle is initially correctly aligned to the target point but then drifting left after a half to one second then you are not 100% right eye dominant and should learn to have smooth synchronized mount where you take the shot as you have sharp focus on the target and the gun comes into your face.

  2. Consistent Practice: Focus on building muscle memory through consistent practice. Start with single targets and gradually move to more complex shots, always reviewing your ShotKam footage to ensure you're maintaining proper alignment and technique.

By combining insights from top shooters and instructors with the practical applications of ShotKam technology, you can effectively manage eye dominance issues and improve your shooting performance. Remember, the key is to focus on the target, synchronize with your movements, and use video feedback to refine your technique. 

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