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Why are there no left-handers in field hockey?

Why are there no left-handers in field hockey?

Srijanee D. Majumdar

Published: 7 April 2020 11:27 AM GMT

Roughly about 90 percent of humans are estimated to be right-handed by nature. Perhaps, contrary to how a child picks up a pencil for the very first time and usually sticks with his left hand. But the way you hold a pencil has little or no bearing on how you hold a stick, at least in hockey. Because there are no left-handers in the sport.

Believe it or not, none may be so simple as how a person holds a hockey stick. For several years, the way a hockey player picked up his stick bore little importance. Straight blades and the players were seen swinging the sticks from either side. Is that what you see now? Typically, not. Right-handed hockey players don’t typically shoot right. They shoot left.

Lefty or Righty?

But how do hockey players determine if they're left- or right-handed? Or is there an advantage to shooting lefty or righty in hockey? The first time that a child picks up a hockey stick, he will probably put his strong hand on the bottom of the stick. With the more powerful hand generating the power, it becomes a more natural motion to shoot the puck.

Source: Hockey India Source: Hockey India

Ideally, a left-handed shooter in hockey holds the top of the stick with his right hand, whereas lowers down the shaft with the left hand. Likewise, a right-handed shooter will be the reverse, more often than not leaning to hid right allowing the stick blade to open.

Why Are All Field Hockey Sticks Right-Handed?

Unlike other sports where you find a player using bats or balls, field hockey dedicates itself to players using right-handed sticks, even to those who are naturally left-handed. Some believe that hockey is the realm of the right-handed, well, it is more a matter of hockey players learning to play the sport with shots that go against their normal dominant side.

Each and every hockey stick has both a flat and rounded side. The field players and goalies can use the flat side of the stick because hitting the ball with the stick’s rounded side can incur the penalty of a rule violation.

Source: Hockey India Source: Hockey India

It may seem possible to obtain a customised left-handed stick, one cannot put it to use during official matches. They are rendered illegal for use in official competitions and field hockey matches, according to the International Hockey Federation (FIH). A player with a left-handed field hockey stick is very likely to be hit from a follow-through swing while tackling against a player with a right-handed stick, who has ideally much more dominance on the field.

Also read: Indian Hockey – If only we could play normally when leading!

Benefits of A Right-Handed Field Hockey Stick

Ask any hockey player, and he will tell you how the right-hand controls where you are going with the stick, while the left-hand helps you guide it. Because one will find only right-handed sticks in the game and the strong side in a field hockey match is almost always the right side of the ground.

Field Hockey For Left-Handed Players

There are plenty of left-handed sticks available in the market for ice hockey players, but field hockey athletes are required to get used to playing with the traditional right-handed sticks. A typical hockey stick is between 36 to 38 inches long, with the blade touching the ground to the left side of the body.

Source: Hockey India Source: Hockey India

Ideally, a left-handed field hockey player makes use of the reverse-stick technique to score a goal for the team unless he becomes prone to swinging the stick as any natural right-handed hockey player would.

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