Your eye dominance is important for many reasons, and depending on the sport you play or coach, it may be more important than you realise. Did you know your eye dominance can actually make you think your body position is different to what it actually is. In fact for many of us, we believe our ego-centre or the centre of our body, is beneath our dominant eye, not in the middle of our body! This relationship, or the need for your dominant eye to see more of what you are looking at, may even cause you to turn you head to see your point of interest more comfortably.
Whilst as many as 90% of us may be right hand dominant, only 70 – 80% are right eye dominant and only 55% of us have the same eye and hand dominance. Knowing this relationship may help you understand why you hold a bat, club or racquet a certain way, or why your stance opens up or closes when you play a side on sport. Something as simple as a golf swing could be affected due to this eye-hand relationship, and if you want to adjust your swing but aren’t aware of this relationship, then it is difficult to understand what you can and can’t alter.
Which is your dominant eye?
To determine your dominant eye follow these easy steps.
- Find a target to fixate upon.
- Make a circle to look through using both hands.
- For this step it is important you keep both eyes open. Now at arms length, hold the circle made with both hands up to look at the target. You should be able to do this quickly.
- Now keep looking at the target and DO NOT move your hands. Close your right eye. If your target disappears, you are right eye dominant. If your target does not disappear, you are left eye dominant.
- So from this simple test you can do two things — determine your eye dominance and also determine the relationship between your preferred hand for sport and your eye.(There will be 1% of the public who do not fit into an specific eye dominance category. These people have no preferred eye dominance and are referred to as cyclops! It is best to think of them as being ambidextrous in the eyes, and it will more than likely benefit their sports performance.)
Dominant eye and kicking in AFL
Some footballers can kick well off both feet while others prefer to kick off only one foot. Even a few players are dubious kickers off either foot and use other skills to perform well at the top level. If one is to consider the results of the past six AFL seasons, it is quite evident how important skilful and accurate kicking is to the performance of a club. Despite all the advances and money spent in the area of sport science to improve player fitness and strength, more than 25% of the matches over the past eight seasons (2005 – 2012) had results where the losing team either had more scoring ‘shots’ than the winning team or the result was decided by less than two goals, including the 2010 and 2012 Grand Finals.
Laterality or dextrality are not new concepts with almost all individuals being aware of their dominant hand or foot. Coincidentally we all have a dominant eye. In the majority of individuals this dominance is on the same side of the body. In lesser numbers of individuals this relationship is not the same and the dominance is on the opposite sides of the body and is referred to as being crossed. Our research with AFL shows 35 – 40 % of AFL players are left eye dominant. If the eye, hand and foot are on the same side of the body they are classified as same dominance, and if they are on opposite sides of the body they are classified as cross dominance. Whilst the research hasn’t proven it yet, there is the likelihood that cross-dominant kickers are more likely to “hook” the ball than same-dominant kickers. Why?, because if you are cross-dominant you think you are dropping the ball over your kicking foot, but in fact are dropping it closer to your dominant eye, which is opposite to the foot you are kicking with, leading it to be “hooked” away from the direction you are kicking. Hence the term the “dirty left foot hook”!