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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: December 10, 2017

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by Hazed

Left-handed players do well in some sports but not in others, and now scientists have figured out why that is.

In the general population, about 10-13% are left-handed, but in some interactive sports the proportion of lefties playing at elite levels is considerably higher.

Previous theories as to why this might be included that the two hemispheres of the brain are connected more efficiently in left-handers.

Another theory was that the element of surprise gives them the edge – since most players are right-handed, righties are not used to playing against lefties.

But scientists wondered why some sports show a much higher proportion of lefties than others.

The sports where they are overrepresented, it turns out, are interactive sports with particularly severe time pressures, for example tennis and cricket. This is probably because the moves that lefties make are less familiar to mostly right-handed opponents, and the speed of the game does not give them time to adjust.

The study’s author, Dr Florian Loffing of the University of Oldenburg in Germany, explained: “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 [so] might end up in not developing the optimal strategies to compete with them.”

Loffing conducted his study by collecting the names and the handedness of the top 100 or so players in various sports between 2009 and 2014, discarding players who only appeared once in the lists. The results showed that more than 30% of the top baseball pitchers are left-handed, compared with just 13% of male badminton players. The difference also showed in women’s sports: more than 19% of top table tennis players were left-handed, but only 8% of tennis players.

Looking at the time constraints in each of the sports, Loffing realised that the ones with the highest time pressure were where the lefties were more common.

His advice to right-handers in these sports is to get as much practice against left-handers as possible. Meanwhile left-handers should make sure they choose the fast-paced sports.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/nov/22/why-do-left-handers-excel-at-certain-elite-sports-but-not-others

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