Beauty in the sky masked evil intentions. Twenty seconds later a successful bombing run covered my car bonnet. Not so beautiful. The one hand giveth; the other hand taketh away.

Basically I have knackered my body up. Medical advice was to rest the right side for a couple of months. No running. If you play football in the garden – don’t use your right foot to kick. That’s a bit of a problem. During my sporting career the left leg has been a bit of a spectator. It is used for standing on and just getting in the way. Nothing else. So since a toddler I have been completely right footed.

So this garden football season was approached with trepidation. The first attempts confirmed the fears. Absolutely useless. Even the frequent cow audience clearly most unimpressed with my attempted kicks.

But a couple of months later and….

With one hand giveth.

The left leg is like a magicians wand. Better than the right foot ever was. Complete ball control, pinpoint passes, power, curling shots into the top corner of our small net. It just shows that with practice what you can achieve.

But with the other hand taketh.

Now the right side is a little less painful I’ve started using it again and just maybe I could be a natural two footed footballer. Guess what. The right foot is now completely useless. Can’t use it. All my hard work has basically switched me from being completely right footed to completely left footed.

Maybe my brain can only cope with one usable leg.

Son struggles to tie shoe laces. He also can’t use a knife and fork at the same time. He just can’t coordinate two limbs simultaneously. It’s a bit like riding a bike. Son can peddle but not at the same time as steering or braking. If he turns a corner he can’t peddle. He did manage to learn to swim but it doesn’t come naturally. It’s either using his legs or using his arms – not both at the same time.

He has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia which often goes hand in hand with Autism. The bottom line is coordination does not come naturally. We have been doing some exercises to work on this. Jumping on a trampoline and catching at the same time has been our single most fun exercise. We have seen some improvements for example he has developed good catching skills. But things like shoe laces are probably going to be life long issues. We realise this. The main reason we do coordination exercises is to help with his Dyslexia, other improvements are bonuses.

Maybe you just have to accept and work with how your body is setup uniquely for you. Make the best of it. We all can’t be brilliantly coordinated like birds. To fly, aim and poo at the same time. That’s beyond me.

68 thoughts on “Coordination

  1. So now you’re a goofy-footer? (surfing term for left foot dominant!) That is very interesting, as far as neuro-plasticity is concerned.

    Your son’s co-ordination struggles may also say quite a lot now as we begin to understand more how our brains actually develop from before birth and how we learn to use them afterwards.

    We’re starting to realise more and more that if we say lose an arm or a leg then we are not going to naturally grow one back and we have to either go without or rely upon some really clever people to come up with a suitable modification we can use instead and hope we can do most of the things with the replacement as we could have with the original equipment.

    But with our brain, it’s different. It develops it’s abilities as we grow from a few million cells into an embryo, a baby, a child, a teen and as an adult, by which time usually the brain functions in a ‘normal’ range which means that all the many different regions of cells co-operate and co-ordinate under a fairly ‘set’ system.

    As it is such a long and step-sequential process (some steps need to be developed before others can function to their full potential), sometimes the process does not progress as expected and the brain may need to seek ‘short-cuts’ to meet the obligations of our body as it has to fit into a society of similar individuals at each moment in time and at each stage of development.

    The brain may in time ‘catch’ up and continue with normal development or the short-cuts may be so well used as to form a ‘permanent’ connection in the brain that others do not have and different outcomes can be the result. When i say permanent, that is if we do not find a way for the usual pathways to develop and take over the job they are supposed to be doing and can then let the areas (neurons) we have ‘short cut’ get back to doing what they do best.

    It’s complicated but it means that in certain circumstances we can re-train our brain to be how nature originally planned when, for whatever reason, the original plan got altered in some fashion. Or we can even learn to use parts of our brain that would not normally be used to perform some necessary function to do the tasks a part of our brain which has received a traumatic injury has rendered dysfunctional. People have even learned to ‘see’ by using a device placed upon their tongue when their brain can no longer use the eyes to see with! ( the tongue is crowded with sensory neurons that can directly connect to the brain’s visual cortex if trained to do so ).

    Or we can learn to use our left foot when we always got by with using our right… or we could even learn to use both equally, but usually one is ‘enough’. 😉

    As for learning to fly, aim and poo at the same time…. I’d leave that to the birds! 🙂

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      1. Our brain has an unmatched ability within our bodies to redefine itself, to alter it’s internal structure so as to perform old tasks in a completely new way or to perform new tasks by reconnecting different neurons to others is had a different relationship to.

        Most of the ‘limits’ we feel are ‘the way things are’ is because we think that way and behave so as to confirm this belief. if we thought differently about it and did the appropriate actions to confirm it then ‘miracles’ would become possible.

        Learning to fly however, would obviously require one to grow wings first! 😉

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  2. I have always used my fork in my right hand, and knife in my left hand. I can’t really explain it, but trying to get a fork to meet with my mouth in my left hand results in forehead stabbing! Some people are not well coordinated. When I breast stroke swim, the arm stroke completes and then the leg stroke takes over. It is an odd thing, but I cannot do the two together and stay afloat. I just end up looking like a Drowning rabbit.
    I do compensate for poor actions and nobody notices. Your son will get to that stage too. (I still can’t ride a bike though – far too wobbly). 😉

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  3. That’s so funny – my husband calls his left leg his dead leg. Doesn’t know what to do with it as he favors his right. And I’ve told you about Declan swimming. Can focus on one with thing, but not two at the same time. And I loved the poo line too – that really should be a bumper sticker 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Big bowl of pasta, you only need a fork. Eat Morrocan or some cuisine (like loaded baguettes) where you need really need to bother too much with cutlery.
    Most of the food we ate out in Ghana, we weren’t given any cutlery…just out fingers – and it is so ok to lick the sauce from your fingers in front of fellow diners we noticed.

    Laces are so overrated. The only footwear I have with laces are my hiking boots (I had to throw my trainers away because they were well and truly over-used and becoming hazardous).

    The coordination difficulties can impose some limits – but that’s were I would hope he can make his mind strong to overcome challenges that mean a lot to him. It might take a long time and a lot of effort – but when the time comes, if he wants to learn to drive, or reach other goals that demand coordination – they are worth fighting for. He does’t have to be a trapeze artiste or a bomb disposal expert – but I hope he will decide what it is important to him to achieve and persist in pursuing those goals.

    As a defender, I have to say left-footed attackers are always trickier for me to predict.

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