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How to Teach Your Kids Archery: Establishing Eye Dominance

For those who want to know how to teach your kids archery, here’s lesson number one.

It figures that parents who are hunters would raise kids who are hunters. In all likelihood, your parents passed the hunting tradition onto you, and you either already have passed it onto your kids or are planning on doing so in the future.

Quite simply, teaching your son or daughter how to hunt, and then bringing them along on your hunting trips can beget countless wonderful bonding experiences that you can’t get from anywhere else.

However, before you can head out into the woods and start bagging bucks with your kid, you need to teach them the basics, and that means either training them in the use of a firearm or helping them to master the skills of archery.

If you opt for bowhunting, the first thing you need to do is help your child to determine which eye, right or left, is their dominant one. Contrary to popular belief, your dominant eye will not always be the same as your dominant hand, and in deciding how to shoot a bow, going with your dominant eye is actually more important than going with your dominant hand.

Bow manufacturers generally adhere to the common assumption of eye dominance matching up with hand dominance, designing right-handed bows that are meant to be sighted with the right eye and light-handed bows built to be sighted with the left eye.

In most cases, shooters with eye/hand dominance conflicts – especially beginners – would do better to buy a bow that matches up with their eye dominance. That way, they can learn to shoot with their off hand from the beginning while also getting to shoot with both eyes open.

Related: Traditional Archery vs Compound Archery

The other option for people with eye/hand dominance conflicts is to purchase bow that matches their hand dominance and ignores their eye dominance. Just like with an off-handed bow, this choice presents a problem that can be worked around.

However, if you want your child to enjoy archery from the beginning, opt for the bow that matches their eye dominance. They will be able to find accuracy in the shooting much sooner than they would the other way, and they will enjoy themselves more as a result.

All of this is just a long way of saying that, before you do anything else in teaching your son or daughter how to shoot a bow, establish their eye dominance. You can do this with a simple do-it-yourself test.

Simply reach your hands, open-palmed, in front of you. Overlap your thumbs, then connect the tips of your index fingers to create a triangle. Using that triangle and keeping both eyes open, sight an object a few feet away from you. Some say that it’s best to sight a circular object or shape through your hands, but that part of the equation doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you center the object in the triangle of your hands.

Then, close your right eye. If the object remains centered and visible, then your left eye is your dominant eye. If the object disappears from your view and is overlapped by your hand, then you are right-eyed.

In other words, if you close one eye and there doesn’t seem to be any adjustments needed, you have closed your non-dominant eye. The dominant eye always takes over and seeks the sight-line through the opening in your hands.

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How to Teach Your Kids Archery: Establishing Eye Dominance