Left-handed athletes are more successful in high time-pressure sports such as cricket, baseball and table tennis compared with others, researches have concluded.

According to a study published in a journal called Biology Letters, being left-handed is advantageous in these sports compared with those where players have more time available between actions, such as tennis and squash.


Possibly because lefties are more rare (10.3 % of the world’s population) and their moves are less familiar to their mostly right-handed opponents, who do not have time to adjust, reported The Guardian. “We are less used to playing lefties, and might end up in not developing the optimal strategies to compete with them,” the report quoted the study’s author, Dr Florian Loffing of the University of Oldenburg in Germany, as saying.

To carry out his research, Dr Loffing considered the top 100 players in cricket, baseball, badminton, squash, tennis, and table tennis between 2009 and 2014. For cricket and baseball, only bowlers were considered because batters do not directly apply time pressure to their opponents.

Dr Loffing analysed data such as the time between the release of a ball and it being hit by a bat. The results of the study showed that time pressure was highest for baseball, followed by cricket and table tennis. Racket sports were found to be less fast-paced.

(a) Left-handedness and time pressure in male competition. Small (large) time values indicate high (low) time pressure. White dots represent originally observed values. Small coloured symbols indicate possible locations of points as obtained from resampling across 100 000 replications. (b) Distribution of bootstrap estimates of Spearman's ρ based on 100 000 replications. The red solid and dashed lines represent the mean correlation and the limits of the 95% confidence interval (percentile method), respectively.

The research found that over 30% of the best baseball pitchers (male) were left-handed, compared to under 13% in badminton (male) and 8.7% in squash (male).

“Team-strategic considerations might additionally explain part of the excess of left-handedness in baseball and cricket,” the study revealed. “This, however, neither applies to racket sports nor contradicts the hypothesis of time pressure being one, but possibly not the only, factor moderating left-dominance.”