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Open access

Ben Serrien and Jean-Pierre Baeyens

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.

Open access

Christian M. Wrang, Niels N. Rossing, Rasmus M. Diernæs, Christoffer G. Hansen, Claus Dalgaard-Hansen and Dan S. Karbing

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.

Open access

Hrvoje Karnincic, Marijana Cavala and Nenad Rogulj

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.

Open access

Christian Thue Bjørndal, Live Steinnes Luteberget and Simen Holm

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.

Open access

Jacek Wilczyński

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.

Open access

Miguel Pic

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.

Open access

Zuzana Gonosova, Petr Stastny, Jan Belka, Lucia Bizovska and Michal Lehnert

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.

Open access

Michal Spieszny and Mateusz Zubik

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.

Open access

Carmen Ferragut, Helena Vila, Jose Arturo Abraldes and Carmen Manchado

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.

Open access

Jose M. Saavedra