Anecdotes and Observations from a Sporting Perspective

(or solving a dominance issue)

I often see shooters on the clays courses or within the youth shooting arenas that are displaying dots or patches on their shooting lenses due to some perceived eye dominance issue. I say “perceived” because it is not always easy to diagnose dominance, especially in youth shooters because they are sometimes center dominant and don’t have a master eye and also they are too busy looking at the gun to fix on the target or focal point to display a correct dominance. While I believe that it is an easy fix to “dot” the dominant eye of the shooter on the off hand, it is not in the best interest of the shooter long term. Dotting is indeed a quick fix and if a kid is having trouble getting on target, many coaches will put on a dot and occlude the off eye and get them to hitting targets quickly but for a longer term solution changing the mounting shoulder and having the shooter shoot over his master or more dominant eye is always best…..Everything you do in your everyday life or in any other sport is accomplished with two eyes…..……In the case of an older or more experienced shooter who is right eye dominant and left handed or left eye dominant and right handed who will not consider switching shoulders, there is hope!

If a shooter has the will to look hard at the target and ignore or mostly ignore where the gun is pointing, dominance is not as big an issue. In my experience with kids over the years most dominance shows up with kids who begin with the gun mounted close to their face. While I believe in trap or skeet a high mount is generally a good thing, the changing lines of targets in sporting clays generally are shot better from a lower mount….maybe not to the fitasc line……..but starting out of the face either with a shrugging down motion or a ¾ mount that starts at the armpit and comes to their anchor point on the face………Don Currie, the NSCA Chief Instructor, calls this the draw length of the shotgun mount and I believe it clears the gun out of the target line and aids in seeing the target better. Gil Ash of OSP Shooting School says that learning to move and mount the gun is like learning to catch a baseball or dribbling a basketball……..It is essential to the process and those who master the basic move and mount from a lower position will always perform better in the long term.

I will take this a step further and say that if you are bothered or compromised by a dominance issue, going to a lower mount and clearing the gun out of your face will minimize the issue and you will be able to “lock on” to the target and insert the gun into the front of the target much more easily. You will have some picture confusion [two barrels] to begin with but if you persevere your brain will begin to filter out the unnecessary clutter in the picture and you will begin to shoot better. I know that that has been my experience with many of the kids who have come to me from other coaches with dots and patches and even chapstick smears. So, remember that if you look harder at the target and forget about looking at the gun during the shot by focusing out where the target is traveling, you will improve dramatically and forget about any compromising of eye dominance.

Dan Paxton

Level Two Instructor

Vice President, SC Sporting Clays Association