Laterality in Sports

Laterality in Sports

Theories and Applications

1st Edition - August 19, 2016

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  • Editors: Florian Loffing, Norbert Hagemann, Bernd Strauss, Clare MacMahon
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128014264
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128016916

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Laterality in Sports: Theories and Applications summarizes recent research on the neurophysiological foundations of handedness, and how left or right lateralization (affecting primary hand use, foot use, and eye use) affects motor control, performance outcome, skill acquisition, and achievement of sports expertise—both for one-on-one sports and team sports. As laterality research has matured, greater focus has been given to applications in human endeavours and, in particular, sport. The book examines performance within individual sports, and discusses the coaching ramifications of coaching to a specific lateralization preference.

Key Features

  • Describes the neurophysiological foundations of handedness
  • Discusses the origins and development of laterality in humans
  • Summarizes the impact of laterality on motor control and sports performance
  • Encompasses research on both individual and team sports
  • Includes research on skill acquisition, coaching, and development of expertise
  • Covers research on laterality in preferred hand, foot, and eye use in sports


Researchers in sport psychology, cognitive psychology, motor control, neuropsychology and neuroscience.

Table of Contents

    • List of Contributors
    • Editor Biographies
    • Preface
    • Chapter 1. Laterality in Sports: More Than Two Sides of the Same Coin
      • The Structure of the Book
    • Section A. Laterality – An Important and Often Disregarded Topic
      • Chapter 2. Origins, Development, and Persistence of Laterality in Humans
        • The Complex Measurement of Handedness
        • Handedness in the Past
        • Geographical Variations
        • Heritability of Hand Preference
        • Environmental Factors
        • Evolutionary Forces Acting on the Polymorphism of Handedness
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 3. In Fencing, Are Left-Handers Trouble for Right-Handers? What Fencing Masters Said in the Past and What Scientists Say Today
        • Introduction
        • Handedness in Fencing
        • Left-HandedNESS and Fencing: the View Today
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 4. Measurement of Laterality and Its Relevance for Sports
        • An Assessment-Oriented Perspective
        • Laterality as Latent Structure From a Test Theoretical Perspective
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 5. Laterality and Its Role in Talent Identification and Athlete Development
        • Talent Identification and Selection
        • Approaches to Researching Talent
        • Influence of Laterality on Talent Development
        • Expertise Research and Laterality: Real Experts Are Rare in Their Occurrence
        • Some Advantages Come and Go: An Evolutionary Perspective on Laterality
        • Two Cases as Examples for Practical Implications
      • Chapter 6. Perspectives From Sports Medicine
        • Introduction
        • Interpretation of Musculoskeletal Testing: The Need for Understanding Population-Specific Laterality in Sports Medicine
        • Upper Extremity
        • Lower Extremity
        • Trunk
        • Summary
    • Section B. Motor Control and Learning
      • Chapter 7. What Can We Learn About Cognition From Studying Handedness? Insights From Cognitive Neuroscience
        • Introduction
        • The Left-Handed Brain
        • Left-Handed Language
        • Left-Handed Learners
        • Application of Results From Handedness Studies
        • Conclusions and Summary
      • Chapter 8. Laterality of Basic Motor Control Mechanisms: Different Roles of the Right and Left Brain Hemispheres
        • Introduction
        • Vertebrate Brain Lateralization
        • Human Handedness
        • Two Fundamental Components of Motor Control
        • Dominant Arm Advantages in Predictive Control
        • Nondominant Arm Advantages in Impedance Control
        • The Effects of Hybrid Control on Motor Performance and Adaptation
        • Hemispheric Specializations for Control of Limb Dynamics and Limb Impedance
        • Motor Asymmetries in Left-Handers
        • Application to Sports and Athletics
        • Summary and Conclusions
      • Chapter 9. Effector Transfer
        • The Structure, Control, and Effector Transfer of Movement Sequences
        • Effector Transfer Can Disrupt Sequence Concatenation
        • Multiple Representations
        • Implicit Versus Explicit Coding
        • Handedness, Hemispheric Asymmetries, and Effector Transfer
        • Summary
      • Chapter 10. Near Misses and the Effect of Attentional Asymmetries on Sporting Performance
        • Attention
        • Attentional Asymmetries and Sport
        • Summary
    • Section C. Performance in Sports
      • Chapter 11. Laterality in Individualized Sports
        • Introduction
        • Rotational Movements
        • Rotational Preference
        • Laterality Factors Contributing to Rotational Preference
        • Relationship Between Perceptual-Cognitive Skills and Rotational Preference
        • Implications for Practice
        • Conclusions
      • Chapter 12. Performance Differences Between Left- and Right-Sided Athletes in One-on-One Interactive Sports
        • Introduction
        • Prevalence of Left-Sidedness in Sports
        • Why Would Left-Sided Athletes Have an Advantage in Sports?
        • Left-Sidedness and Sporting Success
        • Laterality Effects in Task-Specific Perceptual-Cognitive Skills
        • So Far, So Good? A Critique and Suggestions for Further Explanatory Approaches
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 13. Biomechanical Considerations of Laterality in Sport
        • Introduction
        • Biomechanical Assessment of Asymmetries
        • How Do We Identify and Assess Asymmetries?
        • Asymmetry and Limb Dominance in Cyclic and Repetitive Movement Patterns
        • Running
        • Cycling
        • Swimming
        • Countering the Effects of Bilateral Asymmetry
        • Biomechanical Assessments of Preferred and Nonpreferred Limb Skills (Dominant and Nondominant Limb Skills)
        • Kicking
        • Throwing
        • Improving the Ambidexterity of Skills
        • Comment on Laterality and Performance
        • Summary
      • Chapter 14. Laterality Effects on Performance in Team Sports: Insights From Soccer and Basketball
        • Introduction
        • Insights From Soccer
        • Insights From Basketball
        • Conclusion
      • Chapter 15. Skill Acquisition in Left- and Right-Dominant Athletes: Insights From Elite Coaching
        • Introduction
        • Delivering Information via Demonstrations
        • Providing Feedback to Facilitate Learning and Performance
        • Structuring Practice
        • Summary
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 380
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: August 19, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128014264
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128016916

About the Editors

Florian Loffing

Florian Loffing is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute of Sports and Sports Sciences of the University of Kassel (Germany). He obtained his PhD from the University of Muenster (Germany), Department of Sport Psychology, for his dissertation on performance in left- and right-handed professional tennis players. Florian’s research interests focus upon the perceptual-cognitive processes and mechanisms that underlie skilled performance in sports. This specifically includes the examination of laterality effects on visual anticipation, decision-making and high achievement in the elite domain of sports. Florian’s work has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including PLoS ONE, Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Human Movement Science, Acta Psychologica, and Journal of Sports Sciences.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Sports and Sports Science, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany

Norbert Hagemann

Norbert Hagemann is currently Full Professor for Sport Psychology at the University of Kassel (Germany). He received his PhD from the University of Muenster for his thesis “Heuristic problem solving strategies of team coaches”. Prof. Hagemann is studying the cognitive processes underlying how athletes perform in training and competitive situations. The focus is particularly on their perception and attention processes. Prof. Hagemann has been working on the topic of laterality for several years. This research has been supported by several research grants from the German Research Foundation. He publishes and reviews regularly papers in high-impact international peer-reviewed Journals.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Sports and Sports Science, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany

Bernd Strauss

Bernd Strauss, born 1959, is currently Full Professor for Sport Psychology at the University of Muenster, Germany (since 1998). He obtained his PhD from the University of Kiel (Germany) in 1992 with a thesis about complex problem solving. He had been the former president of the German Society of Sport Sciences (2003-2009). Currently he is president of the German Sport Psychology association. Bernd Strauss published more than 20 books, and more than 70 peer-reviewed papers. Currently he is Editor-in-chief (in collaboration with Nikos Ntoumanis, AUS) of the Journal “Psychology of Sport and Exercise” published by Elsevier. His main research interests are focused on expertise in sports (perception, attention, laterality), social psychology (self concept, influence of audiences on performances, sports spectators) and research methodology.

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Sports Science, University of Muenster, Muenster, Germany

Clare MacMahon

Clare MacMahon is a senior lecturer and Head of Sports Science at Swinburne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from McGill University, and post graduate degrees in Human Kinetics and Human Biodynamics from the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University. In her work on sport expertise, with an interest in decision making and the cognitive components of performance, Clare has conducted research in labs in Canada, the US, Belgium, Germany and Australia, working alongside world leaders in the area. Her work has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Australian Research Council.

Affiliations and Expertise

Health Sciences, Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

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