Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Dealing with Cross Dominance
Yesterday I posted a picture of my son Joey, shooting Bruce the Glock 17. Today, I present my daughter, doing the same.
When you look at pictures of my kids shooting, you may notice something. My daughter shoots right handed, but my son shoots left handed. Ah, that it were that simple.
My daughter was born left handed, and she does everything left handed, except she shoots handguns right handed, because that's what she saw me doing. My son is right handed. He writes and throws right handed. The only thing he does left handed is shoot handguns. But the reason is different.
Now, almost all of us have one eye that we use more than the other, and being right eye dominant or left eye dominant is as normal as being right handed or left handed. For most people their dominant eye is the one on the side they write with. Being right handed but left eye dominant (or vice versa) is called cross dominance. It’s certainly no big thing for a pistol shooter, but for shooting a long gun it can be problematic.
When I started plinking aluminum cans in the back yard with my son, I could tell he shot with his head sort of canted way down over the stock. I tried to show him the way to get what I thought was the right cheek weld, but in a few shots, he was back to the over wrap.
After a while I figured out he was left eye dominant. But even before we started shooting together, he had figured it out, since he already shot his Nerf pistols left handed, using his left dominant eye.
Once I realized he was cross dominant, I did some research, and it turns out a lot of really good shooters are cross dominant, people like Brian Enos and Dave Sevigny. So I asked them how I should teach Joey, they told me the same thing – if he’s figured it out on his own, let him shoot pistols left handed But they advised that I switch Joey to shooting rifles left handed, since he won’t be able to use a telescopic sight effectively with his head so far down on the stock.
So, now I’m up against trying to convince him to learn to shoot his rifles left handed. As one writer pointed out, if he will just shoulder a rifle left handed a couple of thousand times, muscle memory will take over and he’ll be fine. I’ll report as I go.
As for my daughter, it turns out she's not cross dominant, she shoots pistols right handed because she copied Daddy when she was learning. Fortunately she was also smart enough to figure out to shoot rifles left handed to get a good sight picture.