2016, Volume 12, Issue 1

Laterality and performance in combat sports



Xurxo Dopico-Calvo1, Eliseo Iglesias-Soler1, Luis Morenilla2, Manuel A Giráldez1, Luis Santos3, Antonio Ardá4

1Performance and Health Group (PH-G), Departamento de Educación Física e Deportiva, Facultade de Ciencias do Deporte e a Educación Física, Universidade da Coruña, Spain
2Grupo de aprendizaxe e control do movemento humano en actividade física e deporte (ACoM), Departamento de Educación Física e Deportiva, Facultade de Ciencias do Deporte e a Educación Física, Universidade da Coruña, Spain
3Medical Service of the Community of Cabo Peñas, Spain
4Unidade de Análise e avaliación das capacidade motrices e conductuais no deporte. Departamento de Educación Física e Deportiva, Facultade de Ciencias do Deporte e a Educación Física, Universidade da Coruña, Spain


Author for correspondence: Xurxo Dopico-Calvo; Performance and Health Group (PH-G), Departamento de Educación Física e Deportiva, Facultade de Ciencias do Deporte e a Educación Física, Universidade da Coruña, Spain; email: xurxo.dopico@udc.es


Full text

Abstract

Literature has shown a relationship between laterality and an over-representation of left-handed athletes in certain sports, and especially in sports one against one, such as judo, tennis, boxing or fencing; the main explanation has been attributed to greater chance of success. Some authors have explained it through a genetic or innate superiority hypothesis, however others defend the strategic advantage hypothesis.

The present study aims is an overview about laterality, sporting success, over-representation of left-dominant athletes executing techniques, and the possibility of modulating that over-representation through training and based on negative frequency-dependent selection hypothesis, given that in sports such as fencing, boxing or judo, tactical designs and training actions have been developed based on the opponent's predominant side while executing skills.

It is hypothesized that if there is some sort of relationship between laterality and sporting success, and the laterality executing sporting skills has been acquired, then it can be modified by different learning and/or training methodologies; one of them is based on bilateral transfer processes of motor skills, but it is lacking on experimental research. We suggest that the notion of creating or making athletes from the perspective of the lateral preference running sporting skills and in sporting behaviours based on laterality, could modify the frequency-dependent selection hypothesis, especially in certain sports.


Key words: bilateral transfer, boxing, fencing, judo, left-handers athletes, sporting success