Developing L hand (for a right hander) accuracy, precision, and reliability, from a retired PT

OldSticks

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If you're right handed, you likely lack "proprioception" in your L hand and arm. Quick example: If you lack proprioception in your legs, you may have difficulty standing and "holding your balance" on one leg (no hands. If you're using your hands to balance, you're using the proprioception in your hand and arm, bcs you don't have adequate proprioception in that leg to balance). Why do you have more proprioception in your right hand and arm (if you're right handed)? I'll shorten a very long list of things you do primarily with your right hand: every time you use a spoon, a knife, a toothbrush, a screwdriver, pliers, a hammer, a bat, buttons on your shirt, the list goes on......do you see? it's also a list of "things you never do with your L hand". For the heck of it, screw in a slotted screw using only your left. pound in a nail with hammer in left. Eat a bowl of soup with the spoon in your left hand! But, if you start to eat soup with a spoon in your left hand all or most of the time, you could develop the ability to comfortably and reliably eat with the spoon in your left. THERE'S THE WAY TO DEVELOP THE PROPRIO IN YOUR LEFT HAND: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. I've applied what I learned as a physical therapist, here, to the act of better L hand performance, and it's working for me. Developing my sense and control of the bounce in L hand, and proper control of the L stroke with my L thumb, took hours and hours. I would often drill a simple L hand technique, sitting and playing on the floor, for an entire hour show, then another drill for another hour. I worked hard developing 3 and 4 stroke rolls. Good, that was all regarding importance of hand training. Here's another important aspect of developing better performance in your L hands: "Proximal stability for distal agility". "Proximal" means "close end", "distal" means "far end". Here, the phrase means if you need better agility with your hands, you need better stability in your shoulders and core. Your L shoulder doesn't have to stabilize L arm often, because you don't brush your teeth with your L , you don't pound in nails with your L hand, etc, etc, etc. I have not been in a gym in 40+ yrs. I do chin ups on a bar i my garage ceiling, I do 5 to 15 "judo push ups", and 4 or 5 2min planks. If you don't know boxing or MMA, you can't hurt me with a gut punch. MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT OFFERS MY BACK SIGNIFICANT PROTECTION WHILE LIFTING, ECT. Correct posture is important while you're sitting, standing, playing, lifting. When you lift, try to keep your spine vertical. In other words, don't bend at the waist, bend your knees and lift with your legs. If you can't, because of knee pain, don't bend at the waist and lift with your back, GET HELP. If you injure your back, you may never drum again. Break your loads into more, smaller loads, so you don't lift as much. Thank you, much love
 

marc3k

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I've been working on my left hand for a moment, but it's sometimes very frustrating as with my right hand can do some things easily where I really struggle with my left hand. I guess you're right when you say practice, practice, practice. My right hand is only so good because of playing on the ride all the time. I sometimes try playing my "left side ride" with the left hand. But I guess I would need to invest much more time into developing my left hand to get to a similar level as my right hand...
 

toddbishop

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My drumming improves when I practice the drums.

World's simplest solution to the left hand sucking: get Accents & Rebounds and play these exercises-- accent on cymbal, add bass drum in unison; non-accent on snare drum. Drill for 15 minutes every day for 4-8 weeks, bango, no more weak left hand.


accents-and-rebounds_left-hand.png
 

JDA

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there's beauty in asymmetric


"So while symmetry may be beautiful, asymmetry holds an allure of its own, found in its graceful whirls, its organized complexity, and its striking imperfections.

ah Philly Joe : )
(moral: don't beat yourself up- utilize side diversities
 
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OldSticks

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I added a copy of this post, because it compliments the post I left, above, at 2:55pm (It's also posted, today, in General, with "play with flat toms)..................In '80 I ordered a 22" bass and 6 power toms, top head only (now I know they're "concert toms"). I mounted 12"x10" and 13"x11" on the bass. They had to be tilted, or I literally couldn't reach them. I tilted the other toms similarly, and mounted all cymbals except ride and HH "overhead" ('cus that's what we did). Self taught since '69, I played entirely with my wrists, matched grip, and my L could never really keep up with my R ("if I only had 2 R hands"). I saw Billy Cobham several times, and I wanted to play ride with my L, snare and fills with my R. It wasn't even barely there, forget it. I went to graduate school in '05, worked as a physical therapist till '20. I put my set on shelves in the garage, so I could meet the demands of my job. In PT, I learned a lot about muscles, joints, and "handedness". To help with a medical issue, I retired and began 24/7/365 at home. TV was OK for a week, then I needed something more. Got out the sticks. On the web, I relearned stick technique. I play with my middle and ring fingers. my wrists don't flex, and my thumbs barely move. At first, I couldn't reliably stabilize with my L thumb, and my L middle and ring could barely complete the necessary movement. I literally stick handled 100s of hours on my family room floor, at least 80% focused on only L hand development. I can play L hand rides at least 90% of R. Drug the set out of the garage (much rust). Bought a 24" bass. I had practiced lateral movement of hands on my floor ("drum to drum" movement), and I liked it. I thought "out of the box". I prefer to play down. Put my snare and stool at the high end of comfort zone. I mounted all 6 flat, on the same level, on racks, heads roughly 1" higher than flat snare. I spent time reaching/striking in the air, eyes closed, to see where my hands WANTED to go, and tried to position accordingly. Presently, I have R and L rides, 3 crash and 2 stacks, all flat, a few inches above heads, nothing higher than my elbow, standing. I played this for a while, and absolutely loved it. There was no way I could put a 20" bass in traditional position, let alone 24". I'm concerned that the drum police will lock me up and never let me play again, 'cus....I bought a L hand dbl bass pedal, and put the bass in the L foot position. I play primarily with R foot, but I'm starting to do some 2 foot playing. I know, somehow it seems wrong. I don't care. I can play this arrangement so much better than before. I'm sitting on top, instead of reaching up and out. I can see around me so much better. For the heck of it, I tried to play a bit "old style", with my wrists. It wasn't comfortable at all, and I hit the rims a lot. Maybe it's a difference in hand/wrist technique issue?
 

OldSticks

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I've been working on my left hand for a moment, but it's sometimes very frustrating as with my right hand can do some things easily where I really struggle with my left hand. I guess you're right when you say practice, practice, practice. My right hand is only so good because of playing on the ride all the time. I sometimes try playing my "left side ride" with the left hand. But I guess I would need to invest much more time into developing my left hand to get to a similar level as my right hand...
But every bit that you gain on your left is more than if you didn't make any effort. I practiced on the floor, only, for almost 2 years. I just started on the drums, again ~4 weeks ago. It is so cool, it's almost scary. I can play things I always wanted to play (that I could hear in my head!), but much of it I just play, without thinking about it or even knowing how to do it! I would say this to you: pick an interval of time, 15 min, 30 min, that you'll commit to drilling L hand EVERY DAY. I commit to at least 1 hour a day (I'm retired, so that works), but I'll often practice 2 or 3 hours, mostly focused on L hand performance, watching crappy TV. Yep, we've all heard it before, practice, practice, practice. I often drill, quietly so I don't tick off my wife, while we watch TV.
 

ggoodwinj3

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Nate Smith just posted a video on the weak hand.

I guess 80/20 is not for everyone, but the videos are always entertaining.

 

toddbishop

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I hate to think where youtube guys would be without the idea of a weak hand. Driving a forklift somewhere probably.

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Pibroch

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Posture is important while you're sitting, standing, playing, lifting. When you lift, try to keep your spine vertical. In other words, don't bend at the waist, bend your knees and lift with your legs.

OldSticks, you've got it wrong with lifting mate. The correct way is NOT to try to keep your spine vertical. The professionally approved method is as follows:
1648808098849.png

This way you're lifting with your butt muscles while keeping the optimal back curvature.

Here's an excellent video demonstrating and explaining this technique, (which has replaced the outdated method you described):

 
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wolfereeno

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4 biggest things that helped my left hand:
  1. Exercises that switch lead from R to Left. The Dawson Rudimental Ritual is full of them as is Great Hands for a Lifetime
  2. Really working Left hand accents as some above documented
  3. Tommy Igoe's 21 min Jazz Ramp with Left hand leading
  4. Breaking 3 fingers in my right hand so bad I needed surgery and had to shave, brush teeth, wipe ass, etc with my left hand for months (I don't recommend this!)
 

Loud

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I agree that it’s necessary to drum in order to improve left hand drumming.

BUT, it was difficult for me to have a high awareness of my left hand when I started drumming. By fast tapping my thigh or hip a while back, I was able to build an “awareness” of my hand. After a while, I could feel how my hand moved while drumming and how the stick moved in my hand.

Fast tapping has “stimulated” the body systems so my left hand is more mentally connected IME. So, I’ve easily tapped more than 100,000 times when doing something else, like waiting for bread to toast or while walking. I now do more advanced stuff, but the endless basic tapping likely gave my left hand a more “important” status that built awareness, which allowed me to use a more proper technique on the drums.

It helped me at least. Hand tapping on the drum surface is talked about by some of the heavy metal drummers. I mostly use the side of my leg.
 


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