Shooting Performance and Fly Time in Highly Trained Wing Handball Players: Not Everything Is as It Seems

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Claude Karcher
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Martin Buchheit
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To (1) assess the usefulness of countermovement jump (CMJ) testing to predict handball-specific jumping ability and (2) examine the acute effect of transiently modified jumping ability (ie, flight time) on shooting efficiency in wing players.


Eleven young highly trained wing players performed 3 CMJs and 10 typical wing jump shots with 3 different modalities: without any constraint (CONTROL), while stepping on a 14-cm step (STEP), and wearing a weighted vest (VEST, 5% of body mass). Flight time and the associated scoring efficiency during the jump shots were recorded.


There was no clear correlation between jump shot and CMJ flight time, irrespective of the condition (r = .04–.18). During jump shots, flight time was most likely longer (effect size [ES] = 1.42–1.97) with VEST (635.4 ± 31 ms) and STEP (615.3 ± 32.9 ms) than CONTROL (566 ± 30.5 ms) and very likely longer with VEST than with STEP (ES = 0.6). The correlation between scoring efficiency and jump-shot flight time was not substantial either in each modality or for all shots pooled. The difference in scoring efficiency between the 3 jumps with the longest vs shortest flight times was either small (VEST, 48% vs 42%) or nonsubstantial (2 other conditions).


The use of CMJ as a predictor of handball-specific jumping ability is questioned given the dissociation between CMJ and jump-shot flying time. These results also show that transiently affected flight time may not affect scoring efficiency, which questions the importance of jumping ability for success in wing players.

Karcher is with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France, and the Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Strasbourg, France. Buchheit is with the Performance Department, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France.

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