Many people may want to train their non-dominant hand. I, too, have been thinking about it for years, searching for effective training methods. After years of trial and error, I’ve discovered some training techniques that have significantly improved my left hand, especially in drumming.
The main training methods include starting with the left hand and flipping both hands. It essentially means using the non-dominant hand more frequently. However, I wasn’t sure if this simple theory was the right approach. So I extensively researched and found answers to questions like why hand dominance is determined and how to train the non-dominant hand.
On this page, I would like to explain and discuss the theme of training the non-dominant hand.
Only symmetrical activities lead to improvement!
Naturally, how hand dominance is determined remains a mystery, known only to a higher power. Humans cannot artificially change it. Most people genetically start with their right hand and predominantly use it from a young age, resulting in right-handedness.
So how can the non-dominant hand catch up? It seems that only symmetrical movements can achieve this. Take chopsticks, for example. Whether you use them with your right or left hand, the actions are the same. By training extensively with items that require the same movements, the non-dominant hand can reach an equivalent level.
On the other hand, activities like writing involve different processes despite both hands holding the pen. For example, when writing the Kanji character “一” (ichi), the right hand has a sense of “pulling,” while the left hand has a sense of “pushing.” This means that the right and left hands become equal in proficiency only for activities where the same movements can be replicated on both sides.
Verifying the movement in musical instruments
Let’s consider the guitar, where the right hand holds the pick and performs picking and strumming motions, while the left hand grips the neck and presses the chords—a completely different set of movements.
When playing “C,D,E,F,G,A,B” on the piano, the right hand starts with the thumb, while the left hand starts with the pinky finger. Saxophone and trumpet also require different hand movements. Instruments like these are not symmetrical, so the right and left hands improve separately for their respective roles.
However, drums allow for perfectly symmetrical play. The stroke motion is executed by swinging downward from above, and the rebound uses the same finger motion. The footwork is similar too, although there are differences between the bass drum and hi-hat—when using a double pedal, the same principle applies. Therefore, with proper training, drums can be brought to an equal level of proficiency for both hands (in theory).
I found this concept in a certain literature, and I was truly amazed by it. So, those who play instruments or engage in sports that require symmetrical movements should definitely approach training based on this idea.
Training methods (Matched vs. Traditional grip differences)
Based on the explanations above, training the non-dominant hand the same way as the dominant hand is the way to go. Therefore, starting with the left hand and flipping both hands, as mentioned earlier, is an excellent training approach.
For those using the Matched grip, imitating the same practice is sufficient. However, the Traditional grip is not symmetrical. In this case, if you perform the Traditional grip with your right hand, it becomes possible for the non-dominant hand.
A drummer who practices this approach is Billy Cobham. He can control both Matched and Traditional grips with ease. If you are a right-handed Matched grip player, training the left hand with the Traditional grip seems to be the only option.
I have discussed the theme of “How to train the non-dominant hand?” In the same way, you can make progress by training similarly, but it still requires time and dedication. I encourage everyone to allocate enough time for training their non-dominant hand and put in the effort.
Many people may wonder how to train their non-dominant hand and feel uncertain about it. However, rest assured that there is a solid theory behind it, and anyone can make progress. However, there are some conditions to consider. This page is dedicated to the theme of “Training the Non-Dominant Hand,” and it provides various information. Please feel free to read through it.