Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are left handed people faster in sports

  1. Sep 17, 2011 #1
    i have read an article a long time ago about left handed people being faster than right handed people in sports.

    it was because the impulses received from sensory neurons end up in the one hemisphere in the brain and has to pass to the other one then a message is sent to motor neurons in right handed people.

    while in left handed people there is no message sent across the brain because one hemisphere is responsible for receiving sensory impulses and sending motor messages.

    therefore left handed people should be faster by some milliseconds because there is no message being sent between the hemispheres

    can anyone help me out with some studies that supports this claim and give your opinions and references about this matter.

    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2011 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Whilst there can be some differences in the lateralization for brain function in left and right handed people it is by no means absolute. There do seem to be a lot of studies on handedness and sport, but I'm skeptical of the strong claim that left handed people always have this advantage and if this is an advantage at all.

    Also at the speed in which neurons conduct, ~85microseconds per cm, I doubt there would be much of an advantage if this turned out to be real.
  4. Sep 17, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It is certainly an advantage in 1:1 sports such as fencing.

    Right-handers are not used to fencing with left-handers, whereas left-handers are quite used to fencing with right-handers.
  5. Sep 17, 2011 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    From personal experience: fencing I dominate, basketball I suck at.

    Actually though, with fencing, I fence a lot of friends who aren't trained and they don't have the expectation of a right handed opponent, so they don't have those habits.

    Some of them are quite trained by now against a left hander only.
  6. Sep 17, 2011 #5


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I used to be a fencing instructor at a summer camp. A fellow instructor was left handed and I got very used to handling him.

    Though I feel I should mention that this is a little off topic from the OP that referred to a possible left-hand advantage due to brain function rather than training.
  7. Sep 17, 2011 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would love to do an fMRI or something and see if I'm wired half backwards.
  8. Sep 18, 2011 #7


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I suspect Ryan is right. I think, because the overlap in "speed" in R vs L opponents is far, far greater than conduction velocity, there is no way such a "advantage" in conduction distance could ever be quantified.
  9. Oct 1, 2011 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    In baseball a left handed batter can reach first base faster than a right handed batter.
    This might seem to support the notion that lefties are faster, but actually the lefty leaves
    the batters box at least a step or two closer to first base than a righty.

    The fencing advantage in one-on-one sports, has a parallel in tennis & pingpong.
    Right handed players are not used to playing a south-paw.
    I am a lefty and made use of the advantage in the examples I mention.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Are left handed people faster in sports
  1. Magnetic(?) People (Replies: 15)

  2. Left vs Right Brain (Replies: 22)