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View Full Version : Too late to switch from lefty to right hand?


sdchap
07-14-2009, 06:53 PM
My 12 year old son writes with his left hand, but throws, swings golf clubs and bats as a "righty." His beginning level tennis coach 2 years ago simply asked the kids, "do any of you write with your left hand?" As a result of my son's answer, the coach told him he should play tennis as a lefty.

Our son has been doing so for the last 2 years now, and it kills me to see how much he's been struggling relative to his peers. My son is normally very coordinated and athletic (for his age), but I'm highly suspicious that his coach simply made a bonehead error in telling our son to play left handed.

(By the way, our son can barely throw a ball over the net from the service line with his left hand; but he can nail a target with his right.)

I've asked him to try playing with his right hand, just to see. But he says it feels very, very uncomfortable (after 2 years of playing with his left).

Is it too late to have him switch? Will we be throwing away 2 years of intensive training? I'm so frustrated by this... and you can imagine how our son feels.

Nonentity
07-14-2009, 07:13 PM
If he is really frustrated he should want to switch. In that case you should encourage him to play righty. And don't worry those 2 years arent wasted. He learned how to move around the court, all the mechanics, and the feel of the game. All that is missing in muscle memory in the other hand. Plus, he is going to hit a mean 2 HBH if he plays right handed.

In the long run though, it should not matter which hand he plays, and also i dont think after 2 years it is his arm that is holding him back.

SethIMcClaine
07-14-2009, 07:22 PM
I wouldn't say that you would be throwing away 2 years of training, I'm sure hes learned more than just hitting left handed in those lessons. If he really likes tennis and you think theres a chance he wants to be competative in the future, maybe he should stick it out as a lefty. Everyone gets mixed up with the lefties. I considered attempting to play as a lefty for a while

Somewhat related:
I'm a snowboard instructor, teaching someone left foot forward (regulaar) over right foot forward (goofy) usually just means what they are more comfortable doing at the beginning, but I would never tell someone whos be practicing one way for a while to switch because I think they arent using their dominate side, they've already built up the muscle memory to do certain things... But thats snowboarding

SethIMcClaine
07-14-2009, 07:24 PM
and if he bats right handed, he should have a killer 2hbh as a lefty

momtogrif
07-14-2009, 08:04 PM
and if he bats right handed, he should have a killer 2hbh as a lefty

Seconding this! I am an adult who writes righty, eats lefty, golfs righty, but plays tennis left-handed. I recently got injured so I'm learning to play right handed now and the transition is easier than I thought it would be. I understand the basics, the preparation, how to 'read' the ball, ready position, the strokes, etc. My backhand is awesome. Now, I just have to generate power on my forehand and I'll be ready to play sets again. I've been working out at the gym and focusing on my shoulders, rotator cuffs, and forearm muscle of my weaker arm. Good luck!

Valdez737
07-14-2009, 08:23 PM
Its easy most leftys do stuff with both hand almost the same. But lefty need to stay lefty its good for tennis that why Nadal owns Fed so bad.

obnoxious2
07-14-2009, 08:59 PM
i am left handed and throw all balls with my left hand but when I used to play baseball I was much more fluid batting righty. As a result when I first picked up tennis by 2hbh was my best stroke (and probably still is) though on days when my forehand is on, nothing can stop it.

I would just tell him to stick with it. I used to hit all topspin spinning crap on forehand side throughout high school like most typical high school players but when i got into college and hitting against random people i found out i was getting pushed andp unished. I was forced to breakdown my forehand and to hit thorugh the ball to get pace while still maintaining enough spin to keep it. This process took over a year and now my forehand rarely breaksdown.

Since your son is still very young, he could switch over but I would say it would be better for him to focus on developing his strokes on his forehand side more.

Dreamer
07-15-2009, 01:36 AM
Just because your son is athletic doesn't mean he should be a natural at tennis. It requires more fine motor mechanics than most sports.
He's still 2 years into tennis and is still polishing his fundamentals. I would suggest he stay a lefty and try to fix his game as is. You said so yourself, he was uncomfortable using his right side, if anything he'll go from bad to worse. You can start from scratch if you want to, but why? Lefties are naturally advantage on the court.
Nadal is not a natural lefty, He can't even write with his left hand. From two hands he was taught the game to be played left handed and he sacrificed winning initially to learn it left handed. Maybe your son is losing now, but in the long term if he works hard at it, it will be worthwhile. There's no easy fix in tennis, it's a steep learning curve. Switching to Righty won't make all the problems go away.

sdchap
07-15-2009, 10:23 AM
Thanks, all, for the great advice! It looks like my son will continue tennis as a lefty. By the way, he does have an awesome 2hbh!

SethIMcClaine
07-15-2009, 10:40 AM
Thanks, all, for the great advice! It looks like my son will continue tennis as a lefty. By the way, he does have an awesome 2hbh!
Good stuff! Best of luck to both of yah!

tennisnj
07-15-2009, 10:50 AM
Absolutely not too late to switch! When I was about age 10, I stopped playing baseball because I was simply afraid of the ball. I picked up tennis as a lefty but just couldn't do it. I throw lefty, bat righty, kick righty, eat righty, but for some reason, my body when it came to serve just wouldn't do it lefty. Well it took a few years to switch, but throughout HS I played righty, college I played BOTH, & now in Open tournaments & such I hit & serve ambidextrous.
Go with whatever makes him comfortable & it can't hurt to experiment, you can never have too many weapons on a tennis court. It won't be a waste of time switching him from righty to lefty or vice versa.

VaBeachTennis
07-15-2009, 11:00 AM
My 12 year old son writes with his left hand, but throws, swings golf clubs and bats as a "righty." His beginning level tennis coach 2 years ago simply asked the kids, "do any of you write with your left hand?" As a result of my son's answer, the coach told him he should play tennis as a lefty.

Our son has been doing so for the last 2 years now, and it kills me to see how much he's been struggling relative to his peers. My son is normally very coordinated and athletic (for his age), but I'm highly suspicious that his coach simply made a bonehead error in telling our son to play left handed.

(By the way, our son can barely throw a ball over the net from the service line with his left hand; but he can nail a target with his right.)

I've asked him to try playing with his right hand, just to see. But he says it feels very, very uncomfortable (after 2 years of playing with his left).

Is it too late to have him switch? Will we be throwing away 2 years of intensive training? I'm so frustrated by this... and you can imagine how our son feels.

Have you ever tried to have him swing a racket right or play right handed? See what feels natural for him. I pay left handed, I throw left handed, I write left handed, but I bat right handed and golf right handed (I am awkward of I try to golf and bat "lefty") . The throwing part sways me toward him using his right hand. In my opinion the best bet is to test him and see what hand he feels natural with when hitting, I'm surprised that the coach didn't initially test this out................. Good luck.

ETA:
Ooops I saw what you said about how he feels right handed. Maybe you can let him hit against a backboard or wall with his right hand just for fun. If he uses a two handed backhand, the right hand development will at least help his two handed backhand.

BU-Tennis
07-15-2009, 09:55 PM
^^^^You definitely want to at least have him try to use a righty forehand. Nadal is a very special case, and I think that while it is important to emulate the strokes of professionals, the circumstances with which their strokes were developed are very special cases.

Honestly, if he can't even throw a ball with his left hand and he can with his right much better then I would say switch him now and don't look back. Don't think about the fact that people have "trouble" with lefties. Usually the only trouble they have is hitting a lefty serve, and if your son's lefty serve is worse than his righty serve then it will most probably be less effective. The service motion is very close to throwing a ball, in fact, a lot of people have kids learn the serve by first having them throw balls over the net.

Just try it. Don't let your child suffer because you're worried he won't pick it up as fast. If anything, the fact that he has played left handed will only mean that he will have a very strong 2HBH either way he goes, so he'll be able to rally off of both sides and this will be very important as attacking and establishing the backhand of any players is usually the way to go in order to draw a weak ball.