An ambidextrous person is someone who is able to use his or her right and left hands equally well, especially with regard to tasks that require fine manipulation or detail. Most people are either left-handed or right-handed, which means they have a dominant hand they most easily use when writing, playing sports, or doing other tasks. An ambidextrous person, on the other hand, is someone who is able to use either his or her right or left hand when performing such tasks. This is fairly rare, especially when someone is ambidextrous from birth, though it can be learned with practice.
There are basically two ways in which someone can become an ambidextrous person: through birth or through training. Someone who is ambidextrous by birth is able to use his or her right and left hand equally well, regardless of practice with either hand in particular. This is fairly rare, and only about one in 100 people are born ambidextrous. There is some research that indicates that being born ambidextrous may be a warning sign of potential brain damage, and that individuals who are naturally ambidextrous may be more prone to developing learning disorders or mental health issues. This is likely not a causal relationship, but a connection between how the brain of an ambidextrous person develops.
The more common way in which someone can become an ambidextrous person is through training and practice. This is most common with people who are born left-handed, and who have to learn to use their right hands to compensate for the fact that many tools, including scissors and many computer mice, are designed for use by right-handed people. With practice, someone who is dominant with his or her left hand can learn to use his or her right hand as well, becoming ambidextrous in the process. This can also occur if someone injures his or her dominant hand, forcing the person to compensate and develop a certain degree of ambidexterity.
There are a number of areas in which an ambidextrous person can thrive and find advantages to utilizing each hand equally well. A number of sports and athletic activities can be easier for someone who is ambidextrous. Baseball players, for example, often try to practice hitting with each hand, known as “switch hitting,” allowing for more effective batting off different pitchers. Playing musical instruments can also be easier for an ambidextrous person, especially an instrument that requires the use of both hands in synchronicity such as a piano.