This study analysed the effects of bilateral and non-dominant practice on novice practitioners' lateral preference for judo skills in a combat context (i.e., randori). Thirty sports sciences students (22 men and 8 women; mean age 19 ± 1 years) with right hand, foot, and counterclockwise rotation preferences were divided into 3 groups: bilateral (BG; n = 8), non-dominant (NDG; n = 11), and control (CG; n = 11). Participants received 8 weeks of training at a rate of 3 days per week. The NDG was trained to perform judo skills exclusive with their non-dominant side, while the BG performed every task symmetrically. Before and after training, participants were recorded during two 3-min randoris to obtain the percentage of their engagement in dominant side actions. Pretest percentages were 73.1 ± 19.9%, 77.8 ± 18.8%, and 68.9 ± 27.2% for BG, NDG, and CG, respectively. Post-test values were 75.0 ± 15.6%, 23.3 ± 27.9%, and 72.2.9 ± 20.4%, respectively. Significant differences were observed between NDG and each of the other groups after the training. Changes from pretest were only significant for NDG (P = 0.003). These results suggest that lateral preference among novice judo practitioners during randori can be modulated by the type of practice.
Keywords: Laterality; judo; motor learning; skills acquisition; sport skills learning.