Eye gym to improve marksmanship and reflexes works like a treat. Remember, your eyes are muscles. So, as with any other muscle in your body, you can make them stronger through exercise.

Many people, including first-class marksmen, simply resign themselves to the fact that once you hit 40, your eyesight starts deteriorating. It turns out this isn’t the case. With regular eye gym, you can improve your vision. This weaponless training should form part of your dry firing marksmanship training regime.

1. Brock string

A brock string is a well-known vision therapy tool. It consists of a 3 – 4.5-meter long white flexible string with coloured wooden beads that can be moved to various positions along the string’s length. The beauty of it is: you get instant feedback whether your eyes are working together to focus on an object at various distances.

How it works

Make a loop at both ends of the string. Affix one end to a doorknob. Position the far bead near the end of the string at the doorknob. This is the far fixation bead. Place the middle fixation bead about 1 m from your eyes. Then place the near fixation bead about 15 cm from your nose.

As you look at the near fixation bead you should see two strings, each of which appears to come from your eyes. if your fixation of the bead is accurate, the two strings should appear to meet exactly at the bead forming an “X”. As the bead is moved to within 2.5 cm from your nose, the two strings should appear to meet exactly at the bead forming a “V”.

Shift your eyes to the middle fixation bead and then to the far fixation bead and repeat. if your fixation of the far bead is accurate, the two strings should appear to meet exactly at the bead forming a “V”.

Change the location of the fixation beads and repeat. Throughout the exercise, take note of your peripheral vision.

2. The eyeball roll

Close your eyes and relax your eyelids. Then slowly move your eyeballs up and down. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.

3. Da Vinci for the eyes

Draw a geometric figure with your gaze while keeping your eyes open. Start with shapes such as a circle, square, triangle and rectangle. Then you can move on to complicated shapes such as a trapezium.

4. Eyes wide shut

You can relax your eyes and regulate blood circulation by closing your eyes for 3 – 5 seconds and then opening them. Repeat this exercise 7 times daily.

5. Increase intraocular fluid

To boost the flow of intraocular fluid, push against your temples with two fingers on either side for about 2 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

6. The stare

Turn your head right to left while staring ahead for 30-60 seconds. You can also turn your head up and down. This particular exercise increases blood circulation around your eyes.

7. Steady gaze

This is an excellent exercise for people who are near- or farsighted. For 5 seconds, look up, then down, right and left; and then in a circular motion. Maintain all aspects of your visual perception, including your peripherals.

8. In a blink

To improve blood circulation inside your eyes, open and close your eyelids in quick succession for 30 – 60 seconds. This exercise also helps clean your eyes by greasing them and lets your eyes relax by taking them away from light exposure.

Spending 10 minutes a few times a week on eye gym to improve marksmanship and reflexes will be very rewarding. Not only to shoot more accurately and faster, but for all-round eye health. And for those on Marksman’s Nest self-defence courses, this eye gym is sure to boost your eye reflexes by leaps and bounds.

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