Lateralization in Tennis.
The preference of use of a body part (hand, foot, eye, waist, shoulders) over another to perform specific activities defines the laterality of each individual.
This specific laterality will significantly influence the development of the technique and the most appropriate training for each athlete.
The most decisive laterality in motor skills and sports performance are:
- The relationship eye-hand dominant
- The relationship eye-foot dominant
In tennis, the predominant laterality is the relationship hand-eye dominant and depending on this we can classify the player as homogeneous (when eye and dominant hand are on the same side) or crossed (when eye and dominant hand are on different sides).
The hand that holds the racket differentiates between right-handed (right hand) and left-handed (left hand).
Combining both classifications we obtain the following possibilities:
The crossed laterality position of the dominant eye with respect to the dominant hand (crossed) favors a great forehand, while the location of the dominant eye on the same side of the dominant hand (homogeneous) favors a great backhand.
In both cases the dominant eye is the responsible for a more advanced impact zone.
It has been found that 5% to 8% of the TOP200 players do not play with their dominant hand but they looked for a cross laterality, thus ensuring a good forehand which will give them advantages in the game, because 2 of 3 shots are won with the forehand .
Lateralization occurs during childhood which is initially evidenced as a tendency (4 years old) and it ends by being established at the age of 6.
Children between the age of 2 and 3 tend to change the hand which they hold the racket with and the stimulation of both sides, in the same way, benefits their motor development.
In cases where the lateralization process at 6 years old is not determined, the coach may choose the dominant hand of the child, which is important to assess whether the child has a preference.
In a situation of no preference it is necessary to assess the ability of both hands and know which is his/her dominant eye.
The most beneficial situation would be to obtain a cross laterality, but sometimes it’s better a homogeneous election where the most skilful hand of the child prevails.
In a study where the influence of the dominant eye on the mechanisms that convert visual information into motor commands was investigated. It was seen that the left handed crossed laterality have the highest rates of reaction (they are the fastest).
This could explain the high performance of lefties with dominant right eye in highly demanding sports.
from theory to practice
Knowledge of the specific player laterality allow us to develop customized workouts
For example, training should be focused on advancing the impact zones on the forehand for the case of homogeneous and on the backhand for the case of crossed
Some of the ways to achieve this goal are: changing the supports, changing the grip and stretching the nondominant arm on the forehand.
Do you think that your laterality does not favor your game?
Do you have players in lateralization process?
Tell us your limitations and we are going to help you to solve them, we look forward to receiving your comments.
To gain a deeper knowledge of the subject, I recommend you to jump into the following document:
HOW TO IMPROVE THE TECHNIQUE IN TENNIS PLAYERS THROUGH LATERALITY
El ojo director. Paul Dorochenko.
Martín, D., Andújar, R., Moreira, C. Evaluation of the lateral dominance in a group of children of infant and primary education. www.revistade psicomotricidad.com
Chaumillon, R., Blouin, J., Guillaume, A. (2014). Eye dominance influences triggering action: the Poffenberger paradigm revisited. www.sciencedirect.com