Becoming ambidextrous has all sorts of advantages, especially in writing. If your dominant hand is injured, for example, it's easy to use the other hand whenever necessary. Learning to write with the opposite hand takes a lot of time and practice, but many people achieve this goal. Start small. Use your hand to trace simple shapes until you get used to writing. Then move on to alphabet and simple phrases. Strengthen the non-dominant hand by using it more and more in everyday situations. With patience, you will also learn to write with the opposite hand.
Method 1 of 3: Warming Your Hand
Step 1. Hold the pen or pencil as you would with your dominant hand
The first step in alternating writing hands is to hold your pen or pencil properly, which is difficult if you've never done this before. Hold it with the same finger position used by the dominant hand. This is to train you to use a writing tool.
- For reference, sit down and hold the pen with your dominant hand. Then switch hands and try to mirror the manual posture with the opposite hand. If you need more help, take a picture of the dominant hand holding the pen or pencil.
- Avoid holding too tightly. This is a common mistake people make when using the non-dominant hand. That way, writing gets worse and still wears out the hand muscles.
- If you are learning to write with your left hand, be aware that it is normal to smudge what is written. Use a pen without gel ink, and avoid erasable ones - both varieties smudge very easily. Hold the pen an inch or two from the tip to prevent your hand from dragging so far across the page.
Step 2. Warm up by hand writing
When holding the pen in your non-dominant hand, do simple tasks to help with this introduction. Place your dominant hand on the paper and practice calligraphy with your opposite hand. This relaxes you and trains your muscles for writing.
Pass the sheet over and repeat this activity a few times before proceeding. This will be awkward at first, but continue until you feel more comfortable holding and moving the pen with your non-dominant hand
Step 3. Draw simple shapes when you feel most comfortable
After relaxing your hand with the calligraphy exercise, go ahead and draw shapes without an outline to follow. Move to a new page and make squares, circles and triangles, concentrating on making them as sharp as possible. Draw shapes until you run out of space on the page, and skip to a new one if you need more practice.
- Proceed slowly as you draw these shapes. Pay attention to contour, not speed - it will come in time. Now it's time to train your muscles to get used to writing.
- If you need a reference, make these shapes first with your dominant hand. Then switch hands and try to copy them.
Step 4. Make several waves connected across the page
When you feel comfortable enough with disjointed shapes, move towards connected patterns. The waveform requires greater precision than simple shapes. Start by using your dominant hand to draw bonded waves extending across the page. Then switch hands and try to copy them with the opposite. Start a new line when you reach the bottom of the page.
Another pattern to make would be to write multiple loops up, like the 'l' in cursive form. Repeat them throughout the page
Method 2 of 3: Forming Letters and Sentences
Step 1. Begin the exercise by writing down all the letters of the alphabet
When you feel comfortable enough with shapes, train your hand to form letters. Write the alphabet from start to finish, in both upper and lower case letters. Advance slowly and focus on the shape of each letter. By gaining fluency in writing the alphabet, it will be easier to write several letters joined together in words.
- Write on loose sheets or in a notebook and try to stay between the lines. Start with big letters, stretching them by two lines instead of one.
- When starting drills with your non-dominant hand, start each practice session with this exercise.
Step 2. Write simple sentences
Once your hand gets used to the shape of letters, use this skill to form sentences. Something simple like "I'm writing this sentence with my left hand" will get you moving and getting more used to forming sentences. Then make new sentences until you fill a page.
- Repeat each sentence a few times before moving on to a new one.
- If you can't come up with your own phrases at the start, copy them from a book or magazine.
- If you don't feel ready for the sentences, try writing your name a few times.
Step 3. When your mind feels stuck, go back to your dominant hand to observe how it writes
Inevitably, you'll come across a word or shape that the non-dominant hand can't get around, something even quite common at first. When it occurs, take the pen in your dominant hand, write it down and watch the movements it makes. Also note the feel of your hand and the muscles used in this task. Then turn the pen to the non-dominant hand and try to emulate movement and sensation.
Write with your dominant hand in front of the mirror for a better view of how it moves and forms words. Try to copy them with the opposite hand
Step 4. Practice writing in the mirror
This is an exercise in which you write a word with your dominant hand and then the opposite hand. Both facing each other give the impression of being mirrored. Start with block letters and progress to cursive letters.
In a very advanced technique, some people write the same word simultaneously in opposite directions. Try it when you feel confident in your ambidextrous ability
Step 5. Record your progress in a notebook
Learning to write with your non-dominant hand takes time and practice. At first, the writing will be almost illegible, and it's easy to get discouraged - but recording your progress will help you see how far you've come. Do all your exercises in a notebook. When the urge to give up comes, go back to the pages of the early days, when you were just starting out, and compare them to the pages of today. You will certainly have improved and will continue to improve with practice.
Method 3 of 3: Strengthening the Non-Dominant Hand
Step 1. Do exercises with your non-dominant hand
As you use it less often, your muscles will also be weaker. This makes it difficult to use it to write well. Increase the strength of that hand by doing exercises that work these muscles and increase your skill.
- It is important to warm up and stretch your hands before exercising to avoid injury and strain.
- Dumbbell bicep curls strengthen the muscles in your wrists and forearms. Buying the hand exerciser works your hand muscles in a specific way.
- Even something as simple as squeezing a stress ball can help strengthen your hand. Do this when watching TV or on your daily commute.
Step 2. Use your non-dominant hand for more everyday tasks
Any activity you do with your non-dominant hand strengthens it and gets your body used to using it, which greatly benefits your writing. Start using it in your daily life to get used to it in your daily life.
- Try brushing your teeth and holding a fork in your non-dominant hand.
- Buttoning the shirt with your non-dominant hand is a good exercise that requires great precision.
- Never attempt potentially dangerous activities if they are not done properly. Driving with your non-dominant hand is not safe, for example, until you feel fully used to it.
Step 3. Learn an instrument that uses both hands
Many of them need coordination between two hands to operate. Tap one of them to improve your general dexterity and get used to using both together.
- A guitar or guitar, for example, requires you to hit with one hand and sustain the chord with the other. As both need to work together, this activity strengthens their coordination. Other possibilities would include bass, piano and drums.
- There are many stringed instruments that can be inverted and played in the opposite way, with the other hand. When you have enough experience, do this exercise to strengthen your non-dominant hand.
- Remember to start with big letters. Making them small will only blur your work. Concentrate on making each letter clearly before trying to reduce the size.
- Be patient. Speed will come with time and practice.