Hand and eye dominance in sport: are cricket batters taught to bat back-to-front?

D.L. Mann, O.R. Runswick, P.M. Allen

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Background: When first learning to bimanually use a tool to hit a target (e.g., when chopping wood or hitting a golf ball), most people assume a stance that is dictated by their dominant hand. By convention, this means that a ‘right-handed’ or ‘left-handed’ stance that places the dominant hand closer to the striking end of the tool is adopted in many sports. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the conventional stance used for bimanual hitting provides the best chance of developing expertise in that task. Methods: Our study included 43 professional (international/first-class) and 93 inexperienced (<5 years’ experience) cricket batsmen. We determined their batting stance (plus hand and eye dominance) to compare the proportion of batters who adopted a reversed stance when batting (that is, the opposite stance to that expected based on their handedness). Results: We found that cricket batsmen who adopted a reversed stance had a stunning advantage, with professional batsmen 7.1 times more likely to adopt a reversed stance than inexperienced batsmen, independent of whether they batted right or left handed or the position of their dominant eye. Conclusion: Findings imply that batsmen who adopt a conventional stance may inadvertently be batting ‘back-to-front’ and have a significant disadvantage in the game. Moreover, the results may generalize more widely, bringing into question the way in which other bimanual sporting actions are taught and performed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSports Medicine
Early online date18 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


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