Does Crossed Hand-Eye Dominance Affect Basketball Shooting Percentages?

Basketball Players

Shooting a basket involves several precise steps. A player takes the right stance, grips the ball correctly in the shot pocket, visually charts a straight line from the ball and shooting eye to the basket, pushes the ball with the shooting hand, jumps and releases. If the “shooting eye” and hand are different, scoring can be affected. Surprisingly, however, cross-dominance can be helpful.

Check for Eye Dominance

Just as most people are either right-handed or left-handed -- as opposed to being ambidextrous -- most are also either right-eye dominant or left-eye dominant. If your dominant hand and eye are different, you’re “cross-dominant.” Rob Wood of TopEnd Sports offers an easy test (see Reference 1). Extend your arms to the front and place your hands together to make a small triangle between your thumbs and the first knuckles of your index fingers. With both eyes open, Wood says, look through the triangle and focus on the object. Close your left eye. If the object remains in view, you are right-eye-dominant. If your hands appear to move off the object and to the left, you’re left-eye dominant.

The Jury is Still Out on Cross-Dominance

While no scientific research or studies have addressed the issue of cross-dominance and basketball shooting, informal studies have been done by students. Some believe that cross-dominance improves shooting ability. Ambidexterity, a form of cross-dominance, affects NBA players such as Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Others disagree about the effect of cross-dominance on shooting success; Toronto’s ArcU coaching program notes, “Findings and opinions are still divided” (see Reference 2).