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Handball Physical Preparation

As in all other team sports, physical preparation in handball is a key element , even if it is sometimes daunting. Frédéric Renotte , who details in our file the importance of physical preparation for team sports, tells us more about the specificities linked to this sport.

The specificities of the physical preparation of handball players

Let us first note what characterizes handball compared to other major team sports such as football and rugby. Handball - like basketball - is played on hard ground , most often indoors , and on a more confined field. In addition to significant background work to last over time, it requires extensive interval work to withstand the incessant back and forth .

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Among the pros , we also see that handball presents players who have a fairly similar morphotype : they rely on quite similar physical and technical qualities. Finally, whether we play in the center or on the wings, everyone attacks and defends constantly , with very little downtime. This physical, technical and role uniformity somewhat simplifies the physical preparation which is generally similar for all players.

Handball: watch out for your joints!

Hard ground, jumps, extended shots: handball requires great attention to the risk of joint injuries . As in basketball, vertical work is important. In handball, it is not only necessary to have good coordination of arm and leg movements, but also a good impulse to jump high, above the arms of the opposing defense. In addition to the height of the jumps, we will also work on the duration of the extension . By staying in the air as long as possible, the offensive player can more easily find the right moment to unleash his shot. All this improves through specific jumping exercises.

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In handball, proprioception work is essential

Repeated jumps also mean stress on the ankles and knees, both when taking off and landing on the ground, sometimes after being jostled in the air.

“We can therefore work on traditional patterns and in particular sheathing ,” explains Frédéric Renotte. But in handball, we will especially emphasize the work of proprioception which is essential . What is it about ? It works on balance , particularly on mobile boards specially designed for this purpose and which are found in particular among sports physiotherapists. These boards cause destabilization, a breaking position in order to accustom the ankles to being jostled, to anticipate certain unforeseen events . When you injure your ankle, for example, it's because you're working in a closed chain, so it can't escape by being stuck to the ground in some way. As a result, there is motor and sensory information which circulates between this ankle and the brain via an incoming route via the spinal cord and which is interpreted via the cortex. The brain then sends a response to the stabilizing muscles of the ankle. If we increase the speed of transmission of information through “education” carried out via proprioception exercises, we reduce the risk of this type of injury. This whole process lasts just 70 milliseconds. So, if we educate our body schema, the work is already done in anticipation, at the moment of suspension and not of landing on the ground. Of the 70 milliseconds that we have just mentioned, we have already gained 35: those of the return.”

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 Finally, it is obvious that physical preparation in handball must also include specific arm work to maintain and improve the power of shots.