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Herbert Wagner, Patrick Fuchs, Andrea Fusco, Philip Fuchs, Jeffrey W. Bell and Serge P. von Duvillard

Modern (indoor) team handball has been an Olympic team sport since 1972 for men and since 1976 for women. Team handball has grown to become a sport played worldwide. Especially in Europe, team handball is very popular and well merchandised for male and female teams by the European Handball

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Live S. Luteberget, Benjamin R. Holme and Matt Spencer

indoors, thus not useable for indoors sports such as team handball. In recent years, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) has been integrated into GPS devices, to provide additional information relating to physical loads during games and training. IMUs consist of the inertial sensors accelerometers and

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Live S. Luteberget and Matt Spencer

Purpose:

International women’s team handball is a physically demanding sport and is intermittent in nature. The aim of the study was to profile high-intensity events (HIEs) in international women’s team handball matches with regard to playing positions.

Methods:

Twenty female national-team handball players were equipped with inertial movement units (OptimEye S5, Catapult Sports, Australia) in 9 official international matches. Players were categorized in 4 different playing positions: backs, wings, pivots, and goalkeepers (GKs). PlayerLoad™, accelerations (Acc), changes of direction (CoD), decelerations (Dec), and the sum of the latter 3, HIEs, were extracted from raw-data files using the manufacturer’s software. All Acc, Dec, CoD, and HIEs >2.5 m/s were included. Data were log-transformed and differences were standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with effect-size statistics.

Results:

Mean numbers of events were 0.7 ± 0.4 Acc/min, 2.3 ± 0.9 Dec/min, and 1.0 ± 0.4 CoD/min. Substantial differences between playing positions, ranging from small to very large, were found in the 3 parameters. Backs showed a most likely greater frequency for HIE/min (5.0 ± 1.1 HIE/min) than all other playing positions. Differences between playing positions were also apparent in PlayerLoad/min.

Conclusion:

HIEs in international women’s team handball are position specific, and the overall intensity depends on the positional role within a team. Specific HIE and intensity profiles from match play provide useful information for a better understanding of the overall game demands and for each playing position.

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Eirik H. Wik, Live S. Luteberget and Matt Spencer

Team handball matches place diverse physical demands on players, which may result in fatigue and decreased activity levels. However, previous speed-based methods of quantifying player activity may not be sensitive for capturing short-lasting team-handball-specific movements.

Purpose:

To examine activity profiles of a women’s team handball team and individual player profiles, using inertial measurement units.

Methods:

Match data were obtained from 1 women’s national team in 9 international matches (N = 85 individual player samples), using the Catapult OptimEye S5. PlayerLoad/min was used as a measure of intensity in 5- and 10-min periods. Team profiles were presented as relative to the player’s match means, and individual profiles were presented as relative to the mean of the 5-min periods with >60% field time.

Results:

A high initial intensity was observed for team profiles and for players with ≥2 consecutive periods of play. Substantial declines in PlayerLoad/min were observed throughout matches for the team and for players with several consecutive periods of field time. These trends were found for all positional categories. Intensity increased substantially in the final 5 min of the first half for team profiles. Activity levels were substantially lower in the 5 min after a player’s most intense period and were partly restored in the subsequent 5-min period.

Discussion:

Possible explanations for the observed declines in activity profiles for the team and individual players include fatigue, situational factors, and pacing. However, underlying mechanisms were not accounted for, and these assumptions are therefore based on previous team-sport studies.

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Benoît Lenzen, Catherine Theunissen and Marc Cloes

This exploratory study aimed to investigate elements involved in decision making in team handball live situations and to provide coaches and educators with teaching recommendations. The study was positioned within the framework of the situated action paradigm of which two aspects were of particular interest for this project: (a) the relationship between planning and action, and (b) the perception-action coordination. We used qualitative methods that linked (a) video observation of six female elite players’ actions during two championship matches and (b) self-confrontation interviews. Players’ verbalizations reflected that their decision making included the following: (a) perception (visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive), (b) knowledge (concepts, teammates and opponents’ characteristics, experience), (c) expectations (opponents and teammates’ intentions), and (d) contextual elements (score, power play, players on the field, match difficulty). Findings were discussed in terms of teaching implications.

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Ronnie Lidor and Gal Ziv

The main purpose of this article is to review a series of studies (N = 18) on the physical characteristics, physiological attributes, throwing velocity and accuracy, and on-court performances of female team handball players. Studies were selected from a computerized search in electronic databases (PubMed, SPORT Discus) as well as from a manual search. Five main findings emerged from this review: (1) a tall and heavy build was advantageous in team handball—mean height ranged from 165.9±.3 cm to 179±4 cm and mean body mass ranged from 62.4±6.2 kg to 72.0±6.3 kg; (2) VO2max values of female players were between 47-54 ml·kg-1·min-1; (3) throwing velocity was higher by as much as 11% in elite female players compared to amateur female players; (4) during 90% of playing time, heart rate (HR) was above 85% of HRmax, and the average VO2 was 79% of VO2max in female players; and (5) on-court distance covered averaged approximately 4 km and varied between 2-5 km in female players, depending on the playing position of the player. Most of the studies reviewed were cross-sectional, and only a few reported data on on-court performance. There is a need for additional manipulative studies to determine the influence of various training programs on game performance. In addition, conditioning programs that develop power and strength should be emphasized, and attention should be given to the player’s playing position and skill level.

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Herbert Wagner, Michael Buchecker, Serge P. von Duvillard and Erich Müller

Purpose:

The aims of the present study were: (1) to compare the differences in the ball release speed and throwing accuracy between the ABOVE and SIDE throw; (2) to analyze kinematic differences of these two throwing techniques; and (3) to give practical applications to team handball coaches and players.

Methods:

Ball release speed, throwing accuracy, and kinematics were measured via the Vicon MX 13 (Vicon Peak, Oxford, UK) from 12 male elite right-handed team handball players.

Results:

Results of our study suggest that the two throwing techniques differ significantly (P < .0073) in the angles and/or angular velocities of the trunk (flexion, left tilt and rotation) and shoulder (flexion and abduction) of the throwing arm that result in a significantly different ball release speed (1.4 ± 0.8 m/s; P < .001) and that throwing accuracy was not significantly different.

Conclusion:

Our results indicated that the different position of the hand at ball release of the ABOVE and SIDE throws is primarily caused by different trunk flexion and tilt angles that lead to differences in ball release speed but not in throwing accuracy, and that the participants try to move their throwing arm similarly in both throwing techniques.

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Trygve B. Broch

This study investigates Norwegian television commentary of men’s team handball. Five World Championship games and 5 European Championship games were recorded and all commentaries transcribed. The main focus was to investigate gendered patterns and to suggest ways these patterns might shape particular understandings of the game and its players. By combining Connell’s gender perspectives with discourse analysis, implicit and explicit meanings were located within the commentaries. Further data analysis revealed that televised depictions of men’s handball hold a dominant focus on a specific form of masculinity. Fueled by gendered symbolism and metaphors, the word bang was identified as a key signifier for this particular form of masculinity. The contextual use of bang was analyzed as connoting and reproducing specific notions of sport and masculinities.

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Mário C. Marques, Roland van den Tillaar, Jason D. Vescovi and Juan José González-Badillo

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between ball-throwing velocity during a 3-step running throw and dynamic strength, power, and bar velocity during a concentric-only bench-press exercise in team-handball players.

Methods:

Fourteen elite senior male team-handball players volunteered to participate. Each volunteer had power and bar velocity measured during a concentric-only bench-press test with 26, 36, and 46 kg, as well as having 1-repetition-maximum (1-RMBP) strength determined. Ball-throwing velocity was evaluated with a standard 3-step running throw using a radar gun.

Results:

Ball-throwing velocity was related to the absolute load lifted during the 1-RMBP (r = .637, P = .014), peak power using 36 kg (r = .586, P = .028) and 46 kg (r = .582, P = .029), and peak bar velocity using 26 kg (r = .563, P = .036) and 36 kg (r = .625, P = .017).

Conclusions:

The results indicate that throwing velocity of elite team-handball players is related to maximal dynamic strength, peak power, and peak bar velocity. Thus, a training regimen designed to improve ball-throwing velocity in elite male team-handball players should include exercises that are aimed at increasing both strength and power in the upper body.

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Roland van den Tillaar and Gertjan Ettema

The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of upper extremity, trunk, and lower extremity movements in overarm throwing in team handball. In total, 11 joint movements during the throw were analyzed. The analysis consists of maximal angles, angles at ball release, and maximal angular velocities of the joint movements and their timing during the throw. Only the elbow angle (extension movement range) and the level of internal rotation velocity of the shoulder at ball release showed a significant relationship with the throwing performance. Also, a significant correlation was found for the timing of the maximal pelvis angle with ball velocity, indicating that better throwers started to rotate their pelvis forward earlier during the throw. No other significant correlations were found, indicating that the role of the trunk and lower limb are of minor importance for team handball players.