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Why It’s Okay to Have Small Hands

“Look at those hands. Are they small hands?”- Donald Trump

Flyte Fitness Contributor Taylor Hahn wrote this week’s blog.

A lot of insults have been thrown around during this heated Republican primary season… too many to recount. But one made (most of us) laugh: Marco Rubio’s accusation that Donald Trump has small hands. It was childish and petty (like many of the attacks in the GOP campaign), but it struck a nerve with Trump. He ardently defended his “beautiful hands,” their size, and the implication for another area of his anatomy in perhaps the most vulgar and immature moment of the primary season.

So, we wanted to ask: What does hand size tell us about athletic prowess?

For most team sports, bigger is considered better. Small athletes, I mean teeny tiny athletes, like 5 foot, 3 inch NBA player Muggsy Bogues, are rarities. As they say, “you can’t teach height.” It’s certainly an advantage to be taller and stronger to succeed in the big four pro sports. But what about hand size? Does it matter? Do small hands doom otherwise talented athletes?

Regardless of height, athletes’ hands come in all different types and sizes. But is there an advantage to having large hands in basketball, football, or baseball? Could the size of an athlete’s hands directly correlate to their performance? In this week’s blog we will take a look at the difference of athletes’ hands in two separate sports.

Let’s take a look…

Basketball: Carmelo Anthony

It may come as a surprise to many of you that despite standing 6 feet, 8 inches, Knicks star Carmelo Antony’s hands are considered very small by league standards. Anthony is unable to palm a basketball, which is relatively easy for almost any other NBA player to do. Carmelo’s hands, however, have not seemed to hinder him at all during his high-scoring 13 years in the league. He continues to be a prolific scorer in the NBA and does not show any signs of stopping. As for defense? That’s another story!

Football: Jared Goff

Jared Goff is the University of California at Berkeley’s star quarterback who is likely to be a top pick in this year’s NFL draft. He stands 6 foot 4 inches tall, yet his hands are a mere nine inches long. Not the tiniest of hands by normal standards (7.4 inches is average for a man), yet small by NFL standards. His relatively small hand size may cause his draft stock to slip later into the first round, costing him millions. There is some fear among NFL executives that Goff’s small hands will lead to fumbles. Some evidence indicates that smaller hands make fumbles more likely to occur. The fear is exacerbated during inclement weather, where strong winds and rain can make a fiercer grip all the more important. A hand size analysis, however, showed that larger hands are not correlated with NFL success (for example, both Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel have large hands), so it will be interesting to see where Goff lands and how he performs.

Baseball: Jim Abbott

All this small hands talk is nothing to Jim Abbott. Abbott played pitcher for 10 seasons in Major League Baseball despite not having a right hand. Abbott was drafted in the first round and had an inspiring career, best-known for throwing an elusive no-hitter. Once he threw the ball, Abbott would quickly slip his other hand in his mitt in order to field. Upon fielding a ball, he would hold the mitt against his torso, slip his hand out, and remove the ball in time to throw someone out. Forget about small hands, Abbott was missing a hand and that didn’t stop him from being an elite athlete.

So, if this “small hands” insult is ever thrown your way, you now have some great knowledge to use to either not take it personally or even take some pride in the comment.

We’d love to hear from you. How do you think hand size affects athletic performance? Comment below or on our Facebook page or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Taylor Hahn
Contributing Writer, Flyte Fitness
Certified Group Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer


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