I feel disconnected from half my body. My whole left side feels weak, heavy. My fine and gross motor skills on that side seem impaired. That might sound dramatic, considering I’m a completely able-bodied individual, and both sides of my body are completely intact. The weakness on my left side, though, exhibits itself in various ways, especially during sports: My tennis backhand (which is primarily a left-handed forehand) is much, much worse than my forehand; I cannot dribble, shoot or even make a layup with my left-hand. My right hand can do everything better than my left hand. That is somewhat expected, because I am right-handed, but I think my imbalance is severe, and should be fixed.
In order to correct this imbalance, I am practicing writing with my left hand. In the past few days, my left-handed writing has improved dramatically. More interesting, though, is that writing with my left hand exaggerated many of the mistakes in my writing “form.” I tried to write in the same way with my left hand as with my right, but I found that I could not move my wrist the same way. Perhaps, I was giving up too early, yet after trying just a short while, it seemed impossible.
I had a hunch that perhaps I was just writing the wrong way, so I googled “writing from the shoulder.” Instead of using my wrist, I thought maybe I should use my shoulder. Years ago, my middle school art teacher showed us how to draw free-hand circles and emphasized using our whole arm instead of the wrist. Perhaps, that is what turned on the light bulb. Regardless, my hunch was correct. I came across this article: Tips for Improving Your Handwriting, and the author agreed with me and provided some suggestions to improve your writing form. I’ve been following his advice and am trying to use my shoulder instead of my wrist while writing. I can really feel the difference, and it’s showing in my writing.
Here’s one of my practice sheets:
Writing with my left hand is improving my writing “form,” and I’ve applied my learnings to my right hand as well. Here’s a practice sheet I did with my right hand:
The writing is much more free and relaxed. Moreover I have started gripping the pen more loosely, so I can write a lot without my hand tiring. It is really cool to see how “handicapping” myself with my left hand exposed mistakes that my right hand’s experience and dexterity was masking. I’ll post updates as my writing improves!