Two-handedness in Sport

Those who have tried to use their weaker hand to write know how difficult it is to even spell their name clearly let alone construct sentences of legible prose quickly and concisely. In fact, using the weaker hand to do anything can be quite a task in itself. The effort and thought process to accomplish the goal, causes extra time and a loss of accuracy and productivity.

Even kicking a ball with your wrong foot can cause calamity and laughter from those observing. At a professional level, football has seen many players gifted with the ability to use both feet. Most of the time this skill goes unnoticed, unless the player is doing so to score a spectacular goal. Even the world’s best seem to prefer their stronger foot. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo score approximately 15% of their goals with their weaker foot. Not as high as you might think for the world’s best two football players. Having the ability to do something masterfully with one foot or hand is enough for most sports-stars.

Instances of dual-handedness can be seen more prominently in other sports though. Ronnie O’Sullivan, the snooker player, caused controversy by playing the latter stages of a World Championship match with his weaker hand. An action which was deemed disrespectful by his defeated opponent who saw it as show-boating.

There are also instances of this ‘mixed-handedness’ in other sports such as basketball. Larry Bird, the former Boston Celtics forward, once played the majority of a NBA game shooting with his left hand, his less favoured, and in doing so achieved a 47 point triple-double! A remarkable feat considering that there are only a handful of players capable of achieving such figures with their strongest hand in the modern era of the game.

In skateboarding and snowboarding, the art of riding switch (with your right foot forward if you are regular and your left foot forward if you are goofy) occurs much more. To be able to perform tricks switch is now a pre-requisite to competing at the highest level.

What seems to be more prevalent, yet still unusual, is where sportsmen and women have chosen to play their sport with their weaker hand. There are several examples of this in American sport.

Probably the most famous basketball player, LeBron James is left handed but shoots predominately with his right. The NY Yankees baseball pitcher C.C. Sabathia, pitch’s and bat’s with his left hand, his lesser hand. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael Vick also chose his left hand to throw with his weaker hand. Interestingly, golfer Phil Mickelson, is even known as Lefty, even though he is right handed. He learned to play golf by mirroring his right-handed father.

It happens in tennis too. Rafael Nadal is a righty who plays left handed. He is coached by Carlos Moya who was a lefty who played right handed! Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court also use their lesser hand to play.

The time and dedication needed to master a craft with your good hand is difficult enough. There is little need to be great at sport with both hands – there are no extra points or prizes for doing so. Being great with one hand requires skill, dedication and hard-work. To be great with two is down to fortune and to being truly gifted.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!