Three sports can’t be played left-handed. In two of these sports, lefties are banned entirely for safety reasons and the other because it isn’t practical to play left-handed. In this article, we’ll go through explanations for each of these games so that the next time you are with a group of your friends, you can ask this question and explain to them the reasons.
Which Sport Are You Forbidden to Play Left-Handed?
Polo is a right-handed sport. When a left-handed and a right-handed player approaches the ball, they can’t move past each other as two right-handed players would—the opposite handedness in a left-right face-off increases the chance of head-on collisions.
It’s required in Field Hockey to use right-handed sticks. These sticks have both a rounded and a flat side used during a game. A left-handed stick would have the flat side on the opposite side compared to a right-handed stick. For this reason, it’s not feasible for a left-handed person to go up against a right-handed person. Their perspectives are different and can increase the chance of injury to the players.
In Jai Alai, one person throws a ball against a wall, and the other person catches and returns it. The person throwing the ball aims to ensure their opponent from capturing and returning the ball. Jai Alai requires players to wear a Cesta, a basket to catch and throw the ball. The wall used in this game would be on the left side, and therefore the Cesta couldn’t be worn on the left hand as the wall would be on the wrong side.
Are Left-handers Banned from Playing Polo?
Left-handed players aren’t banned from playing. However, they can’t use their left hand. So, a left-hander can play Polo, but they must do it right-handed.
Each team in Polo is formed with four members. These teams are made up of attackers and defenders and are expected to interchange their positions and roles when required. Each team takes the ball into the opposition’s side of the pitch to try to score a goal. To do this, players go head-on towards each other with mallets in their hands while riding horses at incredible speeds, chasing the ball.
This position is why a left-hander and a right-hander can’t play Polo if left-handers play left-handed. These players would approach with mallets in different hands. This position raises the chances of a head-on collision and possible injury or death to the players and the horses. In addition, one player has to swing erratically to reach the ball in this position.
So, banning left-handed play reduces the chances of collision because everyone stays on the same side when chasing and swinging at the ball. It’s like cars driving on opposite sides of the road. So, it makes the road much safer.
The rule of banning left-handed polo-playing was put in force in the 1930s. This rule was relaxed following World War II due to the scarcity of players. However, as the number of players increased, the rule was reinstated by the USPA or United States Polo Association with the gradual increase in players, this rule was again reinstated by the United States Polo Association (USPA) in 1974.
Today, polo players can only use their right hand to hold the mallet. However, players registered before 1st January 1974 can use their left hand but cannot switch hands during the game.
If you are a lefty and want to play Polo, take time to practice and teach yourself to play with your right hand. Most left-handers have had to adapt to the right-handed world, which is no different. However, take heart in knowing that Prince William is one of the most famous and influential left-handed polo players. Also, Brazilian Rafael Villela Rosa, who was part of the team that won the Guards International Sao Paulo Polo Trophy in 2014, is a lefty.
Can You Play Field Hockey Left-Handed?
A natural left-hander can play field hockey but only with a right-handed stick. You can’t use your feet or any part of your body in field hockey unless you are the goalkeeper. Any physical contact is a foul and will result in a free hit or a penalty corner. The punishment depends on what part of the field the foul took place on.
Field hockey is a physical and dangerous sport. It is played outside on grass fields and has a rough gameplay style. That is why there are rules to ensure riskier moves are eliminated.
You may have heard that right-handed players can only play this game. That’s not true, left-handers can play, but they must use a right-handed stick. As mentioned earlier in this article, field hockey sticks have a round side and a flat side. It’s against the rules to use the round side of the stick, so only the flat side may be used.
Left-handed players learn to play shots that go against their dominant side. For example, until a left-hander makes it a habit to swing like a natural right-handed player, they can use the reverse-stick technique where the flat surface of the stick faces to the right.
However, being left-handed has benefits in field hockey. For example, while dribbling, a left-handed player can use their left hand to control the ball and the right to guide and support the stick. In addition, the reverse stick is an advantage for left-handed players because it brings the ball to the player’s strongest side. Therefore, lefties have the upper hand in managing the ball.
Are Left-handers allowed to play Jai Alai?
No, Jai Alai does not allow you to play left-handed, and the Cesta basket must be worn on the right hand.
Jai Alai is called the world’s fastest sport. The Jai Alai court has walls on three sides. One wall at each end and a side wall on the left side for rebounding the ball. A chain link fence protects spectators on the fourth side. This wall on the left and spectators on the right makes it almost impossible and even dangerous for players to use their left hand to catch and throw the ball. For this reason, the rules of this game ban players from playing left-handed.
Two left-handers can play against each other by reversing the court, but this isn’t allowed in competitions.
Unlike other sports that allow left-handers to play left-handed such as golf, bowling, baseball, basketball, and football, polo, field hockey, and jai alai ban left-handed play. However, they don’t ban left-handed players. Instead, left-handed players must play right-handed. What do you think about these sports and their reasons for banning left-handed play? Do you think they are fair? We always look forward to your comments. Please leave them below.