Eye dominance is an important factor in accuracy on the lanes. This is particularly important for left-handed bowlers who are right-hand dominant or right-handed bowlers who are left-eye dominant. These bowlers will be genetically hardwired to miss their target. I include several common eye dominant tests as well as two strategies to help improve your target accuracy once you know your dominant eye.
In bowling, much like shooting sports (archery or rifle shooting), eye dominance is an important factor to consider for ensuring that you are pushing the ball toward your target accurately and hitting the target you are actually aiming at when you throw the ball. This is particularly important for left-hand bowlers who are right-eye dominant or right-handed bowlers who are left-eye dominant. These bowlers will be genetically hardwired to miss their target.
How much impact can the dominant and non-dominant eye have? Research on clay shooters found that by blocking-off the non-dominant eye, target hit accuracy improved significantly (statistically). When shooters blinded the dominant eye, target accuracy was significantly decreased.
If we don't pay close attention to our eye dominance, then we risk the possibility of not being accurate on the lanes. Hmmmm.... I wonder why I missed that target over and over again....
Eye Dominant Targeting Improvement Methods
To begin, you need to know which eye is dominant. So, test your eye dominance predisposition by using one of the tests below and verify with at least one of the other test.
Experimental Improvement Method # 1: Close the Non-Dominant Eye
In the stance, close your non-dominant eye. Now, be sure that your dominant eye lines-up with the target and target line. Keep the non-dominant eye closed completely, from stance to release. This should improve your accuracy.
Experimental Improvement Method # 2: Leaning to Get the Dominant Eye Online
In the stance, be sure to lean, at the waist, to get your dominant eye over the target line. This will allow you to more accurately push the ball toward the target while keeping your swing inline with the target line. Be sure that the dominant eye sets-up over the center of the ball.
Experimental Improvement Method # 3: Put #1 & #2 Together
Once you try both methods above, try incorporating both together into a third method.
I have heard of coaches recommending placing the ball closer to the center of the body (e.g., left-eye dominant RH bowlers or right-eye dominant LH bowlers). I caution that this can alter your swing leading to a swing that moves too far behind the back. Placing the ball at the center will promote pushing excessively to the right (RH) and left (LH).
The lean will promote both target improvement as well as preparing the body to release the ball under the chin.
Eye Dominance Tests
Paper Roll Test - Begin by extending your arms. Use a toilet-paper roll or a paper towel tube to spot an object with both eyes open. The object doesn't need to be too far. If you close the dominant eye, the object will appear to jump out of the viewing circle. Or, if you close the opposite eye and the object remains in the center, the dominant eye is the open eye. In this case, it is the paper roll.
Miles test – Begin by extending both of your arms forward. Now, with your arms extended, bring your hands together in front of you to create a small opening. Imagine creating a small triangle with your 2 thumbs and 2 index fingers. Your fingers should overlap to create a small viewing window. With both eyes open, use the opening to view something from a distance. Slowly bring your hands, still together, toward your face to the eye viewing the object (i.e., the dominant eye). You can also open and close your eyes to determine which is the dominant eye. If you close an eye, and the viewing object disappears, then that is the dominant eye.
Porta test – I call this the master painter test. Extend your arm. With both eyes open, align your thumb or index finger with an object in the distance. To test eye dominance, you can open and close your eyes in an alternating fashion. Or, as in the test above, you can draw the index finger or thumb back to the dominant eye. In this case, if you close an eye, and the viewing object appears off-target, then that is the dominant eye. Dolman method - For this test, you will need an index card with a small viewing hole in the center. Some refer to this as the "hole-in-the-card test". You will hold the card with both hands, on each side. View a distant object through the hole. You should then open and close one eye at a time. If the object disappears, then that is the dominant eye. Or, as in the other tests, you can draw the opening back to the dominant eye.
Convergence Near-Point Test - Begin with a small object in your hand, in front of your face. Bring it back toward your nose. The object will move toward your dominant eye.