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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 63 (2018): Issue 1 (August 2018)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

16 Articles

Handball research: State of the art

Open Access

Handball Research: State of the Art

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 5 - 8

Abstract

Open Access

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Proximal-to-Distal Sequencing in Team Handball: Prospects for Talent Detection?

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 9 - 21

Abstract

Abstract

The proximal-to-distal sequence has previously been discussed in the light of performance and injury prevention. Sports biomechanics literature in general, and in team handball in specific, has claimed to be of importance to inform coaches on what constitutes a ‘good’ technical performance. However, hitherto no prospective studies exist on how this information may be used and this may in part be due to the general small sample sizes. We therefore performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of proximal-to-distal sequencing in team handball throwing motions. A total of fourteen articles were included in the systematic review. Meta-analyses were performed for the timing of maximal angles and angular velocities as well as initiation of joint angular velocities in the penalty throw, the standing throw with run-up and the jump shot of experienced team handball players. For the initiation of joint angular velocities, the overall sequence was estimated to start with pelvis rotation, followed by trunk rotation, trunk flexion, shoulder internal rotation and elbow extension. For maximal velocities, the sequence started with pelvis rotation, followed by trunk rotation, trunk flexion, elbow extension, and shoulder internal rotation (post ball release). The obtained results were discussed in the light of talent identification purposes. Limitations to individual study methodology and of the present meta-analysis were also discussed. Much more research will be necessary, but at the very least, this review can provide a starting point for evidence-based discussions between movement scientists and team handball coaches to include proximal-to-distal sequencing as a measure of coordination to gauge early onset of talent.

Key words

  • team handball
  • throwing
  • biomechanics
  • kinematics
  • kinetic chain
  • talent
Open Access

Influence of Physical Aspects and Throwing Velocity in Opposition Situations in Top-Elite and Elite Female Handball Players

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 23 - 32

Abstract

Abstract

The relationship between anthropometric and physical characteristics of female handball players and throwing velocity is considered an important factor in handball performance. The aim of this study was to examine key differences in anthropometric and fitness characteristics between top elite and elite female players competing in the first Spanish handball league. A total of 89 players from the first Spanish handball league were divided into two groups, top elite (38) and elite (51) players, and assessed for anthropometric and fitness characteristics (throwing velocity, vertical jump and hand grip strength). A Student’s t-test was used to determine whether a statistically significant difference between the two different levels of play occurred. Significant differences were found in age, body height, body mass, arm span, muscle mass, different girths (tensed and flexed arm, forearm, wrist, ankle), dominant hand width and length, different breadths (biacromial, bitrochanteric, bistyloid breadth and biepicondylar humerus) and fitness characteristics (hand grip strength and throwing velocity for different positions). Top elite players compared to elite players showed differences in anthropometric characteristics which were mainly located in the upper limbs and mostly were nonmodifiable aspects by training. Furthermore, the best players were able to maintain a high throwing velocity in different tactical situations.

Key words

  • talent identification
  • jump shot
  • expertise level
  • throws with opposition
Open Access

Relative Age Effect and the Re-Selection of Danish Male Handball Players for National Teams

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 33 - 41

Abstract

Abstract

The relationship between the date of birth and expertise in various sports among both elite and youth level athletes is well established, and known as the relative age effect (RAE). However, new results in for example Canadian Hockey and British cricket and rugby have indicated a reversal of RAE among selected talents where the youngest athletes are more likely to remain selected than their older peers. As such, RAE may therefore depend on the age and the level of competition. The purpose of this study was therefore to analyse RAE from the youth to senior national level in a sample of successful Danish male national teams. The sample included 244 players from Danish under-19, under-21 and senior national levels. These players have been part of successful teams, winning 18 medals at 24 youth European and World championships and 8 medals during 12 years at the senior level. The results showed a significant RAE on both youth and national levels. However, RAE was less marked from the under-19 to under-21 and further to the senior national level. Results show that at the national youth level talent selection favours the relatively older players, of whom a larger proportion fails to be re-selected to the senior level compared to their younger peers. RAE appears to play a central and reversing role in the identification and re-selection in Danish male handball. The results also show that the presence of both a constant and constituent year structure affects RAE, even when introduced at late adolescence.

Key words

  • expertise
  • talent
  • development
  • re-selection
Open Access

Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Performance of Handball Athletes

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 43 - 51

Abstract

Abstract

Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) is a strategy that has been used to improve performance in different sports modalities. This study investigated the effects of an IMT program on respiratory muscle strength and resistance as well as aerobic physical performance (PP) of handball athletes. Nineteen 20 ± 3 year-old male athletes were allocated into an experimental (EG, n = 10) or a placebo group (PG, n = 9). Their respiratory muscle strength was evaluated by measuring the maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures (MIP and MEP), muscular respiratory resistance by maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) and aerobic PP by the cardiopulmonary exercise test. The study was designed to evaluate the effects of a 12-week IMT program with five sessions a week. A significant difference was observed in the pre and post IMT values of the MIP (170 ± 34 to 262 ± 33 cmH2O) and MEP (177 ± 36 to 218 ± 37 cmH2O) in the EG, and MIP (173 ± 45 to 213 ± 21 cmH2O) in the PG, with a large effect size for the MIP, when the groups were compared. MVV showed a significant increase (162 ± 24 to 173 ± 30 L) in the EG, with a small effect size. There was a significant difference in maximum oxygen uptake (54 ± 8 to 60 ± 7 ml/kg/min) in aerobic PP. Oxygen uptake at the respiratory compensation point (RCP) (46 ± 6 to 50 ± 5 ml/kg/min), with a moderate effect size for both variables, was observed in the EG after IMT. We concluded that IMT provided a significant increase in respiratory muscle strength and resistance, contributing to increased aerobic PP in the EG, which suggests that IMT could be incorporated in handball players’ training.

Key words

  • respiratory muscles
  • athletic performance
  • sports
  • aerobic capacity
Open Access

Foul or no Foul? Effects of Permitted Fouls on the Defence Performance in Team Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 53 - 59

Abstract

Abstract

Attacking phases in team handball are highly dynamic, characterized by fast movements and a high frequency of fast passes with the aim to score a goal. Consequently, the opposing/defending team tries to prevent successful offensive actions by restraining the offensive opportunities and the probabilities of scoring a goal. According to the rules, defensive players are allowed to use body contact (e.g. with bent arms) to get in and keep their optimal defending position. If such a contact is not in line with the rules (e.g. clutching or pushing) and results in a turnover of ball possession, a foul is called and a free-throw awarded. However, there is a lack of research answering the question if a permitted foul (without personal sanction) is an effective way to increase the probability of defending the own goal successfully, because afterwards the attacking team keeps possession of the ball. Thus, we investigated 1052 attacking phases during games at the elite level to verify whether fouls committed by a defender influenced successful attacking (goal vs. no goal). It was found that when the attack was interrupted by a permitted foul, 50.60% of the attacks ended with a goal. Yet, when no foul was committed, only 47.09% of the attacks ended with a goal, however, the analysis revealed that this difference was not significant. Therefore, we concluded that neither a strategy of stopping offensive actions by body contact nor avoiding fouls and focusing only on intercepting the ball were favourable solutions in successful defending in team handball. It seems effective to implement a defence strategy with clearly defined fouling zones and situations, to deal with the tactical possibility of permitted fouls in handball. This idea and further considerations are discussed for sports practice.

Key words

  • team
  • team sports
  • game analysis
  • tactics
  • game interruption
Open Access

Performance and Home Advantage in Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 61 - 71

Abstract

Abstract

The main objective of this research was to delve into the concept of playing handball at home from a classical perspective of previous studies. The emergence of regularities or certain patterns of play can be explained by the location of matches. Through an observational methodology and a nomothetic, monitoring and multidimensional design, thirty-nine European elite handball matches were selected (N = 39). A mixed ‘ad hoc’ registration system was designed. Records were made of the last three minutes of home and visiting games of which images were available. Two observers with observational methodology experience participated in the study. The quality of the records was dealt with in an intraobserver and interobserver way. Two different techniques were applied for the treatment of the data: a) detection of behavioral patterns by Theme (p < .005) (Magnusson, 2000) and b) Chaid decision trees (p < .05) using SPSSv.24. The results showed the existence of T-patterns according to the location (different T-patterns: home: 1085; away: 1242) of the matches. The categories most involved in effective launches were unveiled. On the other hand, the Chaid model also showed the effect of location (p < .001): home-win (node 9) (n = 149, 69%), away-win (node 10) (n = 15, 16%) in handball. Crossing analysis offered enriched interpretations to advance in the home advantage concept. From this study, guidelines can be drawn that may help handball coaches to build training tasks as differences in behavioral patterns between home or away play in handball were identified. Thus, designing tasks considering a match location has requires specificity.

Key words

  • handball
  • home advantage
  • theme
  • game observational
Open Access

The Relationship Between Early and Senior Level Participation in International Women’s and Men’s Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 73 - 84

Abstract

Abstract

International competitions at the youth elite level have become an important part of attempts to identify, foster and develop sporting talent. However, sports science scholars disagree strongly about the value and importance of such competitions because little is known about the relationship between early performance, at both the team and individual level, and later success in adult elite sports. The first aim of this study was therefore to explore the relationship between international match experience at the youth international team level and subsequent match experience at the junior and the senior international team levels. The second aim of this study was to explore the relationship between youth national team results and subsequent junior and senior national team results in international competitions. The individual-level analysis was based on official match participation statistics of all Norwegian handball players with either youth, junior and/or senior national team experience (n = 657) between the years 1993 and 2017. The team level analysis was based on team result rankings from the handball European and World Championships at the youth, junior and senior national team levels during this period. Statistical analysis at the individual level showed a significant difference between those handball players who did and did not have international match exposure at the youth and junior levels, and the number of matches they played at the senior international team level. No to weak correlations were found between the number of matches played at the youth, junior and senior international team levels. Statistical analysis at the team level showed a strong correlation between result rankings at the youth, junior and senior international team levels. Collectively, these findings suggest that having youth and junior international experience is strongly associated with the number of matches played at the senior international level. However, the number of matches played at the youth and junior international levels does not appear to determine success or predict which players will or will not achieve success at the senior international level.

Key words

  • athlete development
  • talent identification
  • national squads
  • elite sport systems
  • handball
Open Access

Differences in Speed and Power Capacities Between Female National College Team and National Olympic Team Handball Athletes

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 85 - 94

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare and examine differences in several neuromuscular assessments between female national Olympic team (Rio-2016) and national college team handball players (2015-Gwangju Summer Universiade). Twenty-eight elite female handball players of the national Brazilian Olympic (n = 12) and college (n = 16) teams participated in this study. The Olympic and college athletes performed the following speed-power tests assessing mean propulsive power (MPP) in loaded jump squat (JS) and bench press (BP) exercises, unloaded squat and countermovement jumps (SJ and CMJ), sprint performance over 5-, 10-, and 20-m, and change of direction ability in a standard Zig-zag test and a T-Test. The differences between Olympic and college team performances in all variables were analyzed using the magnitude-based inference. The Olympic group presented likely higher performances in the SJ, CMJ, and MPP JS and very likely higher performances in the MPP BP and T-Test than the college group. The differences in the linear sprint velocity in 5-, 10-, and 20-m tests as well as in the Zig-zag test were all rated as unclear. These findings may have substantial implications for the development of effective strength-power training and testing strategies in elite handball. In addition, coaches and researchers can use these data to create efficient talent identification programs for youth handball players.

Key words

  • team-sports
  • physical performance
  • muscle power
  • court-sports
  • COD ability
Open Access

Changes of strength and maximum power of lower extremities in adolescent handball players during a two-year training cycle

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 95 - 103

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate changes of strength and power of the lower extremities in adolescent handball players during a two-year training cycle. Thirty-one male handball players (age 16.0 ± 0.2 years, body mass 81.4 ± 9.7 kg, body height 188.2 ± 6.4 cm) took part in this study. All tests were conducted three times at the beginning of a one-year training programme. The maximum joint torque (JT) of flexors and extensors of the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and trunk was measured under static conditions. Power of lower extremities was assessed with a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test on a cycloergometer and jump tests: akimbo counter-movement jump (ACMJ), counter-movement jump (CMJ) and spike jump tests on a force plate. Peak power (PP) increased from 914.8 ± 93.9 to 970.0 ± 89.2 and 1037.8 ± 114.4 W (p < 0.05) following the RSA test results. Maximum power increased significantly (p < 0.05) in ACMJ (1951.9 ± 359.7 to 2141.9 ± 378.5 and 2268.5 ± 395.9 W) and CMJ tests (2646.3 ± 415.6 to 2831.2 ± 510.8 and 3064.6 ± 444.5 W). Although significant differences in JT (p < 0.05) were observed during the two year period, their values related to body mass for the lower right extremity, sum of the trunk and sum of all muscle groups increased significantly between the first and the second measurement (from 13.7 ± 1.8 to 14.58 ± 1.99 N·m·kg-1, from 9.3 ± 1.5 to 10.39 ± 2.16 N·m·kg-1, from 43.4 ± 5.2 to 46.31 ± 6.83 N·m·kg-1, respectively). The main finding of the study is that PP in the RSA test and maximal power in the ACMJ and CMJ increase in relation to training experience and age in the group of youth handball players.

Key words

  • RSA test
  • akimbo counter-movement jump
  • countermovement jump
  • spike jump
  • joint torque
Open Access

Muscle Strength Variations of Knee Joint Muscles in Elite Female Handball Players after Pre-Season Conditioning

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 105 - 115

Abstract

Abstract

Monitoring seasonal variations in strength performance and the relative risk of injury indicators related to strength of hamstring (H) and quadriceps (Q) in female elite athletes is beneficial for the training process. The aim of this study was to examine and compare the level of muscle strength, the conventional ratio (HCONC/QCONC) as well as two functional and strength ratios reflecting the movement of knee extension (HECC/QCONC) and flexion (HCONC/QECC), and the bilateral percentage strength deficit (BSD) in elite female handball players. The concentric and eccentric isokinetic peak torque was measured at an angular velocity of 60°/s on three occasions (in-season cessation, 4 weeks of rest followed by 4 weeks of individual conditioning and 6 weeks of group conditioning) in eleven female handball players (age: 23.1 ± 3.5 years, body height: 1.73 ± 0.6 m). According to ANOVA results, the BSD of H muscles in the concentric mode decreased between the in-season cessation and the end of the pre-season, and HCONC/QCONC increased at the beginning of the pre-season and at the end of the pre-season in comparison with inseason cessation measurement. The effect size analyses showed that the off-season rest followed by 10 weeks of the conditioning programme increased Q and H strength in comparison with the previous season with a large effect. Coaches should include progressive conditioning in the pre-season phase to decrease the bilateral strength deficit and to support further conditioning development.

Key words

  • H/Q ratios
  • bilateral strength deficit
  • torque
  • annual training cycle
Open Access

Diurnal Variations in Physical Performance: Are There Morning-to-Evening Differences in Elite Male Handball Players?

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 117 - 126

Abstract

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to determine: 1) morning-to-evening differences in physical performance with and without a ball; and 2) associations between sleep outcomes (duration and quality) and physical performance in handball players. Sixteen elite, male handball players (25.4 ± 5.8 yr, 94.0 ± 7.4 kg, 193.5 ± 7.5 cm) completed physical performance tests without a ball (a zig-zag test assessing closed-skill agility, linear sprints, and countermovement (CMJ) and squat jumps) and with a ball (a zig-zag test and linear sprints) in the morning and evening. In addition, sleep quality and quantity during the night before testing were obtained using self-reported measures. Superior physical performance was evident in all tests during the evening compared to the morning hours (p < 0.003). Specifically, jump height was moderately (effect size (ES) = 0.73 to 1.02) higher during the evening. Similarly, moderate (ES = 1.17) and large (ES = 1.67) improvements in zig-zag test performance were apparent during the evening with and without the ball, respectively. Also, large to very large (ES = 1.29 to 2.09) increases in sprint performance with and without the ball were evident in the evening. No significant correlations (p > 0.05) were apparent between sleep duration and quality and physical performance in both the morning and evening sessions. Diurnal variations in physical performance were apparent in elite male handball players with enhanced performance with and without the ball in the evening compared to morning hours. These findings indicate that morning-to-evening differences in physical performance should be considered when developing conditioning plans or preparing for competition in handball.

Key words

  • speed
  • agility
  • jumping performance
  • team sport
  • sleep
Open Access

The Relationship Between Handball Players and Alcohol and Smoking Habits

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 127 - 136

Abstract

Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that sport activity is a protective factor regarding smoking, but a risk factor for alcohol abuse. Considering these findings, it is necessary to investigate the occurrence of substance misuse. Sports that are associated with a substantial amount of physical/mental stress are very interesting from the perspective of substance misuse (e.g., handball). This research was performed to more closely study the population engaged in handball regarding the risk for alcohol and/or tobacco consumption. The sample of respondents consisted of 150 senior handball players who were members of 9 first-league handball clubs from Croatia and abroad. The respondents were grouped into sub-samples according to sex, age, experience, the number of weekly training sessions and their social environment (clubs). Alcohol consumption data were obtained using the AUDIT questionnaire. The differences between groups were tested using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. The study revealed that handball players engaged in alcohol misuse, and they were grouped in the harmful drinking category (AUDIT score, 16-19 for all groups). Regarding tobacco product consumption, the risk groups were women (who smoked significantly more than men, MWU test: Z = 3.30. p < 0.001), handball players with less experience (who smoked significantly more than experienced players, MWU test: Z = 3.68, p < 0.001). Borderline significance was observed for the impact made by social environments, and age was not a significant predictor of tobacco consumption. Regarding alcohol consumption, the highest hazard group were national handball players, who drank much more than foreign players did (MWU test: Z = 2.04, p = 0.04); however, sex, age, experience and training habits were not alcohol consumption predictors in handball. This study reveal that the typical behaviors regarding alcohol and tobacco consumption followed by the general population do not apply to handball players. Targeted prevention can be much more precisely established considering this research.

Key words

  • sports
  • substance abuse
  • prevention
Open Access

Effects of Short-Term Plyometric Training on Physical Performance in Male Handball Players

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 137 - 148

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of plyometric and jump training on physical performance in young male handball players. Twenty-six young male handball players were divided into two sub-groups to perform a five-week pre-season training programme supplemented with two ground-reactive protocols with an equal number of jumping exercises referred as to ground contacts: plyometric training (PLY; n = 14) and standard jump training (CON; n = 12). Before and after training, repeated sprint ability (RSA), jumping ability (JA), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and aerobic power at the anaerobic threshold (PAT) were measured. A two-factor analysis revealed significant time effects with improvements in fat mass (p = 0.012), maximal power during the incremental cycling test (p = 0.001) and PAT (p < 0.001), power decline (PDEC) and maximal power (Pmax) in the 5th repetition (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). The training-induced changes in absolute and relative peak power in the RSA test and absolute VO2max approached significance (p = 0.06, p = 0.053 and p = 0.06). No intervention time × exercise protocol effects were observed for any indices of JA, RSA and aerobic capacity. A five-week pre-season conditioning programme supplemented with only 15 sessions of plyometric exercise did not induce any additional benefits, compared to a matched format of standard jump training, in terms of improving jumping performance and maximal power in the RSA test. Aerobic capacity and the fatigue index in RSA were maintained under these two training conditions.

Key words

  • plyometrics
  • jumping
  • youth
  • repeated sprint ability
  • team sport
Open Access

Modification of Strength Training Programs in Handball Players and its Influence on Power During the Competitive Period

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 149 - 160

Abstract

Abstract

A high level of muscle power is necessary for the effective use of technique during handball competitions. The presented research concentrated on comparing the effectiveness of two training modes directed towards the development of muscle power – plyometric and traditional strength training. Furthermore, we evaluated whether resistance training performed twice a week was sufficient to guarantee an increase in muscle power of handball players. We also investigated whether strength training designed according to the “waving” model (one training session per week oriented towards the development of maximal strength and one towards the development of power) was sufficient to increase muscle power in handball players. The study included 28 professional handball players who were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 subjected to additional strength training (8 individuals), Group 2 subjected to traditional plyometric training (8 individuals) and Group 3 following standard training (12 individuals). Research was conducted at the beginning and at the end of the 1st round of competitions and consisted of the following measurements: CMJ (countermovement jump) and SJ (squat jump), a 10-s trial on a cycle-ergometer and ball-throwing velocity. Analysis of the results showed that both the plyometric and strength training programs induced a statistically significant increase in jumping height and generated power during the CMJ. The group subjected to additional strength training achieved greater increases in CMJ power than the group carrying out plyometric training, which in case of the CMJ peak power turned out to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). Different results were obtained when studying changes in the flight speed of the thrown ball; the group undergoing plyometric training registered minor increases (significant in the standing throw ), and there were decreases in the flight speed of the thrown ball (significant in the leaning back throw) in the group following the traditional strength training program.

Key words

  • handball
  • strength training
  • plyometric training
  • lower limb strength
  • ball-throwing velocity
Open Access

Postural Stability in Goalkeepers of the Polish National Junior Handball Team

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 161 - 170

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess postural stability of goalkeepers from the Polish national junior handball team. Eleven juniors of the Polish national handball team (age 16.82 ± 1.6 years, body height 191.27 ± 3.1 cm, body mass 88.41 ± 12.26 kg, BMI 24.18 ± 3.22 kg/m2) were selected for the study. The Biodex Balance System and AccuGait AM¬TI platform were used to evaluate postural stability. The obtained results indicated good postural stability of the subjects. During the Biodex Balance System platform tests, all subjects presented very good postural stability and maintained within Zone A. Postural sway was greater in the sagittal plane compared to the frontal one. Most of the participants demonstrated slight backward tilts, but maintained in Quadrant IV. During the AccuGait AMTI platform trial, Path Length and Average COP Speed significantly increased in the test performed with closed eyes. Furthermore, there were significant positive correlations between the number of variables obtained during the Biodex Balance System and AccuGait AMTI tests. Proper and stable posture are necessary conditions to be met to carry out most free movements and locomotion. They play a significant role in the game of a handball goalkeeper and for that reason, postural stability testing of handball goalkeepers is an important element of coordination training. Thus, the use of postural stability exercises implementing the biofeedback method on stabilo and dynamometric platforms is practical and justifiable.

Key words

  • postural stability
  • Biodex Balance System
  • AccuGait AM¬TI
  • goalkeepers
16 Articles

Handball research: State of the art

Open Access

Handball Research: State of the Art

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 5 - 8

Abstract

Open Access

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on Proximal-to-Distal Sequencing in Team Handball: Prospects for Talent Detection?

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 9 - 21

Abstract

Abstract

The proximal-to-distal sequence has previously been discussed in the light of performance and injury prevention. Sports biomechanics literature in general, and in team handball in specific, has claimed to be of importance to inform coaches on what constitutes a ‘good’ technical performance. However, hitherto no prospective studies exist on how this information may be used and this may in part be due to the general small sample sizes. We therefore performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of proximal-to-distal sequencing in team handball throwing motions. A total of fourteen articles were included in the systematic review. Meta-analyses were performed for the timing of maximal angles and angular velocities as well as initiation of joint angular velocities in the penalty throw, the standing throw with run-up and the jump shot of experienced team handball players. For the initiation of joint angular velocities, the overall sequence was estimated to start with pelvis rotation, followed by trunk rotation, trunk flexion, shoulder internal rotation and elbow extension. For maximal velocities, the sequence started with pelvis rotation, followed by trunk rotation, trunk flexion, elbow extension, and shoulder internal rotation (post ball release). The obtained results were discussed in the light of talent identification purposes. Limitations to individual study methodology and of the present meta-analysis were also discussed. Much more research will be necessary, but at the very least, this review can provide a starting point for evidence-based discussions between movement scientists and team handball coaches to include proximal-to-distal sequencing as a measure of coordination to gauge early onset of talent.

Key words

  • team handball
  • throwing
  • biomechanics
  • kinematics
  • kinetic chain
  • talent
Open Access

Influence of Physical Aspects and Throwing Velocity in Opposition Situations in Top-Elite and Elite Female Handball Players

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 23 - 32

Abstract

Abstract

The relationship between anthropometric and physical characteristics of female handball players and throwing velocity is considered an important factor in handball performance. The aim of this study was to examine key differences in anthropometric and fitness characteristics between top elite and elite female players competing in the first Spanish handball league. A total of 89 players from the first Spanish handball league were divided into two groups, top elite (38) and elite (51) players, and assessed for anthropometric and fitness characteristics (throwing velocity, vertical jump and hand grip strength). A Student’s t-test was used to determine whether a statistically significant difference between the two different levels of play occurred. Significant differences were found in age, body height, body mass, arm span, muscle mass, different girths (tensed and flexed arm, forearm, wrist, ankle), dominant hand width and length, different breadths (biacromial, bitrochanteric, bistyloid breadth and biepicondylar humerus) and fitness characteristics (hand grip strength and throwing velocity for different positions). Top elite players compared to elite players showed differences in anthropometric characteristics which were mainly located in the upper limbs and mostly were nonmodifiable aspects by training. Furthermore, the best players were able to maintain a high throwing velocity in different tactical situations.

Key words

  • talent identification
  • jump shot
  • expertise level
  • throws with opposition
Open Access

Relative Age Effect and the Re-Selection of Danish Male Handball Players for National Teams

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 33 - 41

Abstract

Abstract

The relationship between the date of birth and expertise in various sports among both elite and youth level athletes is well established, and known as the relative age effect (RAE). However, new results in for example Canadian Hockey and British cricket and rugby have indicated a reversal of RAE among selected talents where the youngest athletes are more likely to remain selected than their older peers. As such, RAE may therefore depend on the age and the level of competition. The purpose of this study was therefore to analyse RAE from the youth to senior national level in a sample of successful Danish male national teams. The sample included 244 players from Danish under-19, under-21 and senior national levels. These players have been part of successful teams, winning 18 medals at 24 youth European and World championships and 8 medals during 12 years at the senior level. The results showed a significant RAE on both youth and national levels. However, RAE was less marked from the under-19 to under-21 and further to the senior national level. Results show that at the national youth level talent selection favours the relatively older players, of whom a larger proportion fails to be re-selected to the senior level compared to their younger peers. RAE appears to play a central and reversing role in the identification and re-selection in Danish male handball. The results also show that the presence of both a constant and constituent year structure affects RAE, even when introduced at late adolescence.

Key words

  • expertise
  • talent
  • development
  • re-selection
Open Access

Effect of Inspiratory Muscle Training on Performance of Handball Athletes

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 43 - 51

Abstract

Abstract

Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) is a strategy that has been used to improve performance in different sports modalities. This study investigated the effects of an IMT program on respiratory muscle strength and resistance as well as aerobic physical performance (PP) of handball athletes. Nineteen 20 ± 3 year-old male athletes were allocated into an experimental (EG, n = 10) or a placebo group (PG, n = 9). Their respiratory muscle strength was evaluated by measuring the maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressures (MIP and MEP), muscular respiratory resistance by maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) and aerobic PP by the cardiopulmonary exercise test. The study was designed to evaluate the effects of a 12-week IMT program with five sessions a week. A significant difference was observed in the pre and post IMT values of the MIP (170 ± 34 to 262 ± 33 cmH2O) and MEP (177 ± 36 to 218 ± 37 cmH2O) in the EG, and MIP (173 ± 45 to 213 ± 21 cmH2O) in the PG, with a large effect size for the MIP, when the groups were compared. MVV showed a significant increase (162 ± 24 to 173 ± 30 L) in the EG, with a small effect size. There was a significant difference in maximum oxygen uptake (54 ± 8 to 60 ± 7 ml/kg/min) in aerobic PP. Oxygen uptake at the respiratory compensation point (RCP) (46 ± 6 to 50 ± 5 ml/kg/min), with a moderate effect size for both variables, was observed in the EG after IMT. We concluded that IMT provided a significant increase in respiratory muscle strength and resistance, contributing to increased aerobic PP in the EG, which suggests that IMT could be incorporated in handball players’ training.

Key words

  • respiratory muscles
  • athletic performance
  • sports
  • aerobic capacity
Open Access

Foul or no Foul? Effects of Permitted Fouls on the Defence Performance in Team Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 53 - 59

Abstract

Abstract

Attacking phases in team handball are highly dynamic, characterized by fast movements and a high frequency of fast passes with the aim to score a goal. Consequently, the opposing/defending team tries to prevent successful offensive actions by restraining the offensive opportunities and the probabilities of scoring a goal. According to the rules, defensive players are allowed to use body contact (e.g. with bent arms) to get in and keep their optimal defending position. If such a contact is not in line with the rules (e.g. clutching or pushing) and results in a turnover of ball possession, a foul is called and a free-throw awarded. However, there is a lack of research answering the question if a permitted foul (without personal sanction) is an effective way to increase the probability of defending the own goal successfully, because afterwards the attacking team keeps possession of the ball. Thus, we investigated 1052 attacking phases during games at the elite level to verify whether fouls committed by a defender influenced successful attacking (goal vs. no goal). It was found that when the attack was interrupted by a permitted foul, 50.60% of the attacks ended with a goal. Yet, when no foul was committed, only 47.09% of the attacks ended with a goal, however, the analysis revealed that this difference was not significant. Therefore, we concluded that neither a strategy of stopping offensive actions by body contact nor avoiding fouls and focusing only on intercepting the ball were favourable solutions in successful defending in team handball. It seems effective to implement a defence strategy with clearly defined fouling zones and situations, to deal with the tactical possibility of permitted fouls in handball. This idea and further considerations are discussed for sports practice.

Key words

  • team
  • team sports
  • game analysis
  • tactics
  • game interruption
Open Access

Performance and Home Advantage in Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 61 - 71

Abstract

Abstract

The main objective of this research was to delve into the concept of playing handball at home from a classical perspective of previous studies. The emergence of regularities or certain patterns of play can be explained by the location of matches. Through an observational methodology and a nomothetic, monitoring and multidimensional design, thirty-nine European elite handball matches were selected (N = 39). A mixed ‘ad hoc’ registration system was designed. Records were made of the last three minutes of home and visiting games of which images were available. Two observers with observational methodology experience participated in the study. The quality of the records was dealt with in an intraobserver and interobserver way. Two different techniques were applied for the treatment of the data: a) detection of behavioral patterns by Theme (p < .005) (Magnusson, 2000) and b) Chaid decision trees (p < .05) using SPSSv.24. The results showed the existence of T-patterns according to the location (different T-patterns: home: 1085; away: 1242) of the matches. The categories most involved in effective launches were unveiled. On the other hand, the Chaid model also showed the effect of location (p < .001): home-win (node 9) (n = 149, 69%), away-win (node 10) (n = 15, 16%) in handball. Crossing analysis offered enriched interpretations to advance in the home advantage concept. From this study, guidelines can be drawn that may help handball coaches to build training tasks as differences in behavioral patterns between home or away play in handball were identified. Thus, designing tasks considering a match location has requires specificity.

Key words

  • handball
  • home advantage
  • theme
  • game observational
Open Access

The Relationship Between Early and Senior Level Participation in International Women’s and Men’s Handball

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 73 - 84

Abstract

Abstract

International competitions at the youth elite level have become an important part of attempts to identify, foster and develop sporting talent. However, sports science scholars disagree strongly about the value and importance of such competitions because little is known about the relationship between early performance, at both the team and individual level, and later success in adult elite sports. The first aim of this study was therefore to explore the relationship between international match experience at the youth international team level and subsequent match experience at the junior and the senior international team levels. The second aim of this study was to explore the relationship between youth national team results and subsequent junior and senior national team results in international competitions. The individual-level analysis was based on official match participation statistics of all Norwegian handball players with either youth, junior and/or senior national team experience (n = 657) between the years 1993 and 2017. The team level analysis was based on team result rankings from the handball European and World Championships at the youth, junior and senior national team levels during this period. Statistical analysis at the individual level showed a significant difference between those handball players who did and did not have international match exposure at the youth and junior levels, and the number of matches they played at the senior international team level. No to weak correlations were found between the number of matches played at the youth, junior and senior international team levels. Statistical analysis at the team level showed a strong correlation between result rankings at the youth, junior and senior international team levels. Collectively, these findings suggest that having youth and junior international experience is strongly associated with the number of matches played at the senior international level. However, the number of matches played at the youth and junior international levels does not appear to determine success or predict which players will or will not achieve success at the senior international level.

Key words

  • athlete development
  • talent identification
  • national squads
  • elite sport systems
  • handball
Open Access

Differences in Speed and Power Capacities Between Female National College Team and National Olympic Team Handball Athletes

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 85 - 94

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare and examine differences in several neuromuscular assessments between female national Olympic team (Rio-2016) and national college team handball players (2015-Gwangju Summer Universiade). Twenty-eight elite female handball players of the national Brazilian Olympic (n = 12) and college (n = 16) teams participated in this study. The Olympic and college athletes performed the following speed-power tests assessing mean propulsive power (MPP) in loaded jump squat (JS) and bench press (BP) exercises, unloaded squat and countermovement jumps (SJ and CMJ), sprint performance over 5-, 10-, and 20-m, and change of direction ability in a standard Zig-zag test and a T-Test. The differences between Olympic and college team performances in all variables were analyzed using the magnitude-based inference. The Olympic group presented likely higher performances in the SJ, CMJ, and MPP JS and very likely higher performances in the MPP BP and T-Test than the college group. The differences in the linear sprint velocity in 5-, 10-, and 20-m tests as well as in the Zig-zag test were all rated as unclear. These findings may have substantial implications for the development of effective strength-power training and testing strategies in elite handball. In addition, coaches and researchers can use these data to create efficient talent identification programs for youth handball players.

Key words

  • team-sports
  • physical performance
  • muscle power
  • court-sports
  • COD ability
Open Access

Changes of strength and maximum power of lower extremities in adolescent handball players during a two-year training cycle

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 95 - 103

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate changes of strength and power of the lower extremities in adolescent handball players during a two-year training cycle. Thirty-one male handball players (age 16.0 ± 0.2 years, body mass 81.4 ± 9.7 kg, body height 188.2 ± 6.4 cm) took part in this study. All tests were conducted three times at the beginning of a one-year training programme. The maximum joint torque (JT) of flexors and extensors of the elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and trunk was measured under static conditions. Power of lower extremities was assessed with a repeated sprint ability (RSA) test on a cycloergometer and jump tests: akimbo counter-movement jump (ACMJ), counter-movement jump (CMJ) and spike jump tests on a force plate. Peak power (PP) increased from 914.8 ± 93.9 to 970.0 ± 89.2 and 1037.8 ± 114.4 W (p < 0.05) following the RSA test results. Maximum power increased significantly (p < 0.05) in ACMJ (1951.9 ± 359.7 to 2141.9 ± 378.5 and 2268.5 ± 395.9 W) and CMJ tests (2646.3 ± 415.6 to 2831.2 ± 510.8 and 3064.6 ± 444.5 W). Although significant differences in JT (p < 0.05) were observed during the two year period, their values related to body mass for the lower right extremity, sum of the trunk and sum of all muscle groups increased significantly between the first and the second measurement (from 13.7 ± 1.8 to 14.58 ± 1.99 N·m·kg-1, from 9.3 ± 1.5 to 10.39 ± 2.16 N·m·kg-1, from 43.4 ± 5.2 to 46.31 ± 6.83 N·m·kg-1, respectively). The main finding of the study is that PP in the RSA test and maximal power in the ACMJ and CMJ increase in relation to training experience and age in the group of youth handball players.

Key words

  • RSA test
  • akimbo counter-movement jump
  • countermovement jump
  • spike jump
  • joint torque
Open Access

Muscle Strength Variations of Knee Joint Muscles in Elite Female Handball Players after Pre-Season Conditioning

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 105 - 115

Abstract

Abstract

Monitoring seasonal variations in strength performance and the relative risk of injury indicators related to strength of hamstring (H) and quadriceps (Q) in female elite athletes is beneficial for the training process. The aim of this study was to examine and compare the level of muscle strength, the conventional ratio (HCONC/QCONC) as well as two functional and strength ratios reflecting the movement of knee extension (HECC/QCONC) and flexion (HCONC/QECC), and the bilateral percentage strength deficit (BSD) in elite female handball players. The concentric and eccentric isokinetic peak torque was measured at an angular velocity of 60°/s on three occasions (in-season cessation, 4 weeks of rest followed by 4 weeks of individual conditioning and 6 weeks of group conditioning) in eleven female handball players (age: 23.1 ± 3.5 years, body height: 1.73 ± 0.6 m). According to ANOVA results, the BSD of H muscles in the concentric mode decreased between the in-season cessation and the end of the pre-season, and HCONC/QCONC increased at the beginning of the pre-season and at the end of the pre-season in comparison with inseason cessation measurement. The effect size analyses showed that the off-season rest followed by 10 weeks of the conditioning programme increased Q and H strength in comparison with the previous season with a large effect. Coaches should include progressive conditioning in the pre-season phase to decrease the bilateral strength deficit and to support further conditioning development.

Key words

  • H/Q ratios
  • bilateral strength deficit
  • torque
  • annual training cycle
Open Access

Diurnal Variations in Physical Performance: Are There Morning-to-Evening Differences in Elite Male Handball Players?

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 117 - 126

Abstract

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to determine: 1) morning-to-evening differences in physical performance with and without a ball; and 2) associations between sleep outcomes (duration and quality) and physical performance in handball players. Sixteen elite, male handball players (25.4 ± 5.8 yr, 94.0 ± 7.4 kg, 193.5 ± 7.5 cm) completed physical performance tests without a ball (a zig-zag test assessing closed-skill agility, linear sprints, and countermovement (CMJ) and squat jumps) and with a ball (a zig-zag test and linear sprints) in the morning and evening. In addition, sleep quality and quantity during the night before testing were obtained using self-reported measures. Superior physical performance was evident in all tests during the evening compared to the morning hours (p < 0.003). Specifically, jump height was moderately (effect size (ES) = 0.73 to 1.02) higher during the evening. Similarly, moderate (ES = 1.17) and large (ES = 1.67) improvements in zig-zag test performance were apparent during the evening with and without the ball, respectively. Also, large to very large (ES = 1.29 to 2.09) increases in sprint performance with and without the ball were evident in the evening. No significant correlations (p > 0.05) were apparent between sleep duration and quality and physical performance in both the morning and evening sessions. Diurnal variations in physical performance were apparent in elite male handball players with enhanced performance with and without the ball in the evening compared to morning hours. These findings indicate that morning-to-evening differences in physical performance should be considered when developing conditioning plans or preparing for competition in handball.

Key words

  • speed
  • agility
  • jumping performance
  • team sport
  • sleep
Open Access

The Relationship Between Handball Players and Alcohol and Smoking Habits

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 127 - 136

Abstract

Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that sport activity is a protective factor regarding smoking, but a risk factor for alcohol abuse. Considering these findings, it is necessary to investigate the occurrence of substance misuse. Sports that are associated with a substantial amount of physical/mental stress are very interesting from the perspective of substance misuse (e.g., handball). This research was performed to more closely study the population engaged in handball regarding the risk for alcohol and/or tobacco consumption. The sample of respondents consisted of 150 senior handball players who were members of 9 first-league handball clubs from Croatia and abroad. The respondents were grouped into sub-samples according to sex, age, experience, the number of weekly training sessions and their social environment (clubs). Alcohol consumption data were obtained using the AUDIT questionnaire. The differences between groups were tested using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. The study revealed that handball players engaged in alcohol misuse, and they were grouped in the harmful drinking category (AUDIT score, 16-19 for all groups). Regarding tobacco product consumption, the risk groups were women (who smoked significantly more than men, MWU test: Z = 3.30. p < 0.001), handball players with less experience (who smoked significantly more than experienced players, MWU test: Z = 3.68, p < 0.001). Borderline significance was observed for the impact made by social environments, and age was not a significant predictor of tobacco consumption. Regarding alcohol consumption, the highest hazard group were national handball players, who drank much more than foreign players did (MWU test: Z = 2.04, p = 0.04); however, sex, age, experience and training habits were not alcohol consumption predictors in handball. This study reveal that the typical behaviors regarding alcohol and tobacco consumption followed by the general population do not apply to handball players. Targeted prevention can be much more precisely established considering this research.

Key words

  • sports
  • substance abuse
  • prevention
Open Access

Effects of Short-Term Plyometric Training on Physical Performance in Male Handball Players

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 137 - 148

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of plyometric and jump training on physical performance in young male handball players. Twenty-six young male handball players were divided into two sub-groups to perform a five-week pre-season training programme supplemented with two ground-reactive protocols with an equal number of jumping exercises referred as to ground contacts: plyometric training (PLY; n = 14) and standard jump training (CON; n = 12). Before and after training, repeated sprint ability (RSA), jumping ability (JA), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and aerobic power at the anaerobic threshold (PAT) were measured. A two-factor analysis revealed significant time effects with improvements in fat mass (p = 0.012), maximal power during the incremental cycling test (p = 0.001) and PAT (p < 0.001), power decline (PDEC) and maximal power (Pmax) in the 5th repetition (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively). The training-induced changes in absolute and relative peak power in the RSA test and absolute VO2max approached significance (p = 0.06, p = 0.053 and p = 0.06). No intervention time × exercise protocol effects were observed for any indices of JA, RSA and aerobic capacity. A five-week pre-season conditioning programme supplemented with only 15 sessions of plyometric exercise did not induce any additional benefits, compared to a matched format of standard jump training, in terms of improving jumping performance and maximal power in the RSA test. Aerobic capacity and the fatigue index in RSA were maintained under these two training conditions.

Key words

  • plyometrics
  • jumping
  • youth
  • repeated sprint ability
  • team sport
Open Access

Modification of Strength Training Programs in Handball Players and its Influence on Power During the Competitive Period

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 149 - 160

Abstract

Abstract

A high level of muscle power is necessary for the effective use of technique during handball competitions. The presented research concentrated on comparing the effectiveness of two training modes directed towards the development of muscle power – plyometric and traditional strength training. Furthermore, we evaluated whether resistance training performed twice a week was sufficient to guarantee an increase in muscle power of handball players. We also investigated whether strength training designed according to the “waving” model (one training session per week oriented towards the development of maximal strength and one towards the development of power) was sufficient to increase muscle power in handball players. The study included 28 professional handball players who were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 subjected to additional strength training (8 individuals), Group 2 subjected to traditional plyometric training (8 individuals) and Group 3 following standard training (12 individuals). Research was conducted at the beginning and at the end of the 1st round of competitions and consisted of the following measurements: CMJ (countermovement jump) and SJ (squat jump), a 10-s trial on a cycle-ergometer and ball-throwing velocity. Analysis of the results showed that both the plyometric and strength training programs induced a statistically significant increase in jumping height and generated power during the CMJ. The group subjected to additional strength training achieved greater increases in CMJ power than the group carrying out plyometric training, which in case of the CMJ peak power turned out to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). Different results were obtained when studying changes in the flight speed of the thrown ball; the group undergoing plyometric training registered minor increases (significant in the standing throw ), and there were decreases in the flight speed of the thrown ball (significant in the leaning back throw) in the group following the traditional strength training program.

Key words

  • handball
  • strength training
  • plyometric training
  • lower limb strength
  • ball-throwing velocity
Open Access

Postural Stability in Goalkeepers of the Polish National Junior Handball Team

Published Online: 24 Sep 2018
Page range: 161 - 170

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess postural stability of goalkeepers from the Polish national junior handball team. Eleven juniors of the Polish national handball team (age 16.82 ± 1.6 years, body height 191.27 ± 3.1 cm, body mass 88.41 ± 12.26 kg, BMI 24.18 ± 3.22 kg/m2) were selected for the study. The Biodex Balance System and AccuGait AM¬TI platform were used to evaluate postural stability. The obtained results indicated good postural stability of the subjects. During the Biodex Balance System platform tests, all subjects presented very good postural stability and maintained within Zone A. Postural sway was greater in the sagittal plane compared to the frontal one. Most of the participants demonstrated slight backward tilts, but maintained in Quadrant IV. During the AccuGait AMTI platform trial, Path Length and Average COP Speed significantly increased in the test performed with closed eyes. Furthermore, there were significant positive correlations between the number of variables obtained during the Biodex Balance System and AccuGait AMTI tests. Proper and stable posture are necessary conditions to be met to carry out most free movements and locomotion. They play a significant role in the game of a handball goalkeeper and for that reason, postural stability testing of handball goalkeepers is an important element of coordination training. Thus, the use of postural stability exercises implementing the biofeedback method on stabilo and dynamometric platforms is practical and justifiable.

Key words

  • postural stability
  • Biodex Balance System
  • AccuGait AM¬TI
  • goalkeepers

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