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Claude Karcher and Martin Buchheit

Purpose:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusions:

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.