Skip to main content

Handedness in 'fast ball' sports: do left-handers have an innate advantage?


Wood CJC J , Aggleton JP J P . British journal of psychology (London, England : 1953). 1989 5 ; 80 ( Pt 2)(). 227-40


The study reported here examined whether left-handedness is an intrinsic advantage in three sports: cricket, tennis, and football (soccer). An analysis of cricket yearbooks showed that over the last four decades there was a relatively high proportion of professional cricketers who bowled left-handed. In contrast, an analysis of handedness in top batsman, as measured by bowling hand, failed to find any evidence of a handedness effect. Similarly, there was no clear, consistent excess of left-handed players among an overall sample of 500 male or 252 female professional tennis players or among 167 professional football goalkeepers. The latter group were of particular interest as left-handed goalkeepers are not tactically favoured by their relative rarity or by the symmetry of the sport. The most parsimonious explanation of the present findings is that any excess of left-handers in these sports is due to the nature of the game and not to any supposed neurological advantage.