Being Left-Handed is a Sporting Superpower
Being left-handed is a rare gift. Only 12% of the population use the other hand. And while it might be considered a disadvantage to some, it most certainly isn’t for players of certain sports. 13 August is Left-Handers Day and is celebrated to raise awareness of the everyday issues that lefties face in a world designed for right-handers. Four of the Totum Sport team members are left-handed giving us yet another game, set and match to celebrate our uniqueness.
Did you know that left-handers have an advantage in certain sports? Lefties tend to excel at non-team-based sports where they face opponents one-on-one.
A study conducted by Dr Florian Loffing called “Left-handedness and time pressure in elite interactive ball games” concludes that let-handers have a particular advantage when it comes to interactive ball sport such as tennis, cricket, baseball, and even table tennis.
This is because the time pressure to react is particularly severe and this is where left-handers tend to excel. It could be because lefties are innately more creative and their moves are less familiar to their mostly right-handed opponents, who do not have time to adjust.
Says Dr Florian Loffing, “The data suggests that the heavier the time constraints are operating in a sport, the larger the proportion of left-handers. We are less used to playing lefties and might end-up in not developing the optimal strategies to compete with them.” His life’s work centres on Sport and Movement as well as Sport and Training with a focus on Laterality (especially handedness), expertise, cognition, perception and motor skills.
It makes sense too. Although we always use both hemispheres our brains simultaneously, left- handers tend to use the right-hand side of their brains more. This hemisphere is attributed to creativity, music ability, holistic thought, insight and intuition, art and general awareness. Perhaps this is the reason why left-handed sports people tend to be more focused while competing too. Better, all-round cognition.
Well it’s definitely worked for Totum Sport fan Rafael Nadal Parera, the Spanish professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 2 in men's singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. Although he admits that his right-hand is stronger, he opted to play left-handed for a stronger backhand. It’s commonly believed that the tennis champ is ambidextrous, meaning he is quite capable of using both hands equally well. According to the stats, only 1% of the population has this gift.
That’s a lot of pressure for a man who not only sweats on the court but off it too! Angel Ruiz Cotorro, Rafael Nadal’s Doctor says, “(Totum Sport) helps a lot to recover lost fluids. It’s a good way to get the minerals back, (especially in) competition where you’ve had a lot of hard games in extreme conditions. You have to be prepared.” We’re always grateful to receive such feedback from a fellow leftie!
According to Ranker, the definitive source on ranking everything from food to film with the opinions of millions, it is sometimes not that easy to spot a top left-handed athlete, and other times very clear.
“Baseball has, what might, be the highest percentage of left-handed athletes of all major sports, and they are easy to spot when taking the mound or lining-up to hit. Babe Ruth is perhaps the best left-handed athlete ever but is joined by many other legendary baseball lefties, such as Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and Barry Bonds.
Tennis, boxing, and golf are other sports that allow southpaws to shine. It's easy to spot left-handed tennis players like Monica Seles and John McEnroe, boxers like Oscar de la Hoya, and golfers like the great Phil Mickelson.”Whether you’ve reached the top or still working on it, Totum Sport gives all left-handers an appropriate left-handed salute this special day.