Teaching Beginners: Dealing With Eye Dominance

Teaching Beginners: Dealing With Eye Dominance

I was having an email conversation with my friend and colleague, Ron Kumetz, when he shared this approach to starting beginners with eye dominance included. “I solved the problem of having kids get hung up on ‘handedness’ by marking the bows ‘LE’ (for “Left-Eyed”) and ‘RE’ (for ‘Right-Eyed’) instead of ‘LH’ and ‘RH.’ If you never mention anything about which hand is dominant they never ask questions.”

Ron’s argument is that “a beginner has no particular coordination of their limbs for archery so why not start them off with as few obstacles as possible? If they don’t read any catalogs to see that bows come in right-handed and left-handed versions they won’t know it has anything to do with that.”

He shared that he was “an example of what happens if you try the ‘go with handedness first and see how it goes’ approach.” Ron has very limited vision in his right eye, and he was started shooting right-handed because of his hand dominance.

In our programs (back when we had programs teaching “rank beginners”) we began with the “go with handedness first and see how it goes” approach out of expediency (not having to test for eye dominance or even explain what it is, etc.). And we trained our coaches to detect behaviors showing that a wrong decision was made: tilting of the head to aim with the off eye, archers shooting arrows way left, trying to anchor under the off eye, etc. We also trained them how to get that archer into the right bow, not blaming them or anything really, or accepting “blame” for giving them the wrong bow, etc. These “corrections” were to be made within the first session, the earlier the better.

So, how do you deal with rank beginners? Do you have a special approach that will help others? If so, please share it in the comments!

Originally from A Blog for Archery Coaches.

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