Lefthanders Not In Sports

LEFTHANDERS NEWSLETTER

Articles and Information for and about Lefthanded People

In spite of all of these successful lefthanders in sports, there are still obstacles that prevent other lefthanded people from playing the sports they love, and from learning to play them to the best of their ability.  

Each sport presents a different set of challenges for lefthanders.  In some sports, the actual playing field gives righthanders an advantage, and in others, the difficulty in finding proper equipment for lefthanders makes it harder for them to play.  In most sports, lack of instructions designed to teach lefthanders makes it harder for them to learn, and in some instances, the fact that lefthanders “have never done it before” creates a bias against them that limits their opportunities to compete and learn.

But the biggest obstacle facing lefthanded children occurs at the earliest ages, and prevents them from developing the strength, coordination, and confidence needed to play sports.  As infants, they may be torn between their own natural inclination to use their left hand, and the influence of society (and their parents and other adults) to use their right hand.  Even in todays’ modern, enlightened society, very few lefthanded children receive wholehearted support and encouragement from the first time they display the tendency to favor their left hand.  There is usually a period of time where their preference may not be recognized or accepted, and a period of resistance may delay the development of their left hand strength and coordination.

The common myth or perception of lefthanded children is that they are awkward, clumsy, and uncoordinated, but they are not necessarily born this way.  The resistance they face, whether intentional or not, slows their development  It can make them slower to learn to walk and run, slower to learn to throw and catch a ball, and slower in general to develop their motor skills, their reflexes and their coordination.  Each time they are asked “what’s wrong with them” or told that they are “doing it backwards” contributes to a lack of confidence.

By the time that children reach the age where they are ready to learn to play sports, many lefthanders lag behind righthanded children of the same age.  Many lefthanders don’t want to play sports and many of their parents are afraid to let them play sports.  Those who do attempt to play sports are stifled by the fact that most of the instructions, and most of the instructors, are righthanded.  While some lefthanders, most likely those whose parents recognized and encouraged their lefthanded at an early age, are able to compete with righthanders of the same age, many others, and perhaps a large majority of others, lack the skills to compete and lose interest in sports before they get a chance to develop.