March 2000
Author: Catherine GARIPUY
Clinical psychologist
and tennis state graduate


Laterality is not a familiar concept. Regarding the hand, it is well known of course whether one is right-handed, left-handed (or ambidextrous sometimes). But what about the eye, pelvis, and foot for example ?

Thinking about it a little, we see :

  • we do not aim with our right eye or left eye, but we always aim with the same eye,
  • we do not indiscriminately shoot with either foot, but always with the same,
  • we always put our telephone receiver in the same ear, etc.

We are lateralised. But does this lateralisation concern us when we play tennis? Does the fact of aiming with the right or the left eye, shooting with the right foot or the left foot influence our way of playing?

Through statistical analysis of survey data on the role of laterality in tennis, many aspects of this role have been shown as well as the priority areas in which it is carried out.

The results, in fact, not only corroborated some observations on the court but revealed new characteristics of this role.

They also resolved certain questions like :

  • the rotating serve toss that endures despite intensive training of the player to launch the ball correctly, centering the ball less from one side, usually forehand side.
  • the inability to improve a shot despite one's best efforts, or on the contrary the loss of a strong shot for no apparent reason...