Academic journal article Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal

Physical and Physiological Attributes of Female Team Handball Players-A Review

Academic journal article Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal

Physical and Physiological Attributes of Female Team Handball Players-A Review

Article excerpt

Abstract

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 [+ or -] 3 cm to 179 [+ or -] 4 cm and mean body mass ranged from 62.4[+ or -]6.2 kg to 72.0[+ or -]6.3 kg; (2) V[O.sub.2]max values of female players were between 47-54 mlkg-hmin-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 V[O.sub.2] was 79% of VO/max 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.

Since the 1960s, team handball has become one of the most popular team sports at both the national and international level (e.g., Clanton & Dwight, 1997; Marczinka, 1993). The game of team handball referred to in this article is played between two teams, each with six court players and a goalie. The objective of the game is to score as many goals as possible by dribbling, passing, and throwing the ball at the goal. While one team attempts to score a goal, the opposing team attempts to block and intercept throws. The six court players are positioned as follows: two wing players, two back-court players, one center back-court player, and one pivot player. The game is played over two periods of 30 minutes, with a 10-minute break between the periods. It should be noted that this is not the game played in North America (also called handball) by two (singles), three (cutthroat), or four (doubles) players on a one-, three-, or four-walled court.

Professional and amateur team handball is played in various countries on every continent. World championships, continental championships, and international tournaments for female teams take place regularly. Since the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976, female team handball has also been played in Olympics competition (e.g., Clanton & Dwight, 1997; Marczinka, 1993).

To develop effective training programs for female team handball players ranging from amateur to elite, team handball coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, and sport physicians should be familiar with the physical characteristics, physiological attributes, throwing velocity and accuracy, and on-court performance of female team handball players. Coaches and trainers can effectively use the relevant information to develop more effective strength and conditioning programs for female team handball players. This information is also essential for coaches to help their players to develop a repertoire of defensive and offensive drills required for achievement in team handball.

We attempted not only to review relevant studies on physical and physiological characteristics of female team handball players, but also to critically analyze these studies and their findings. Professionals who aim to use physical and physiological testing in their training programs can seek information from previously-conducted studies examining the use of tests in team handball, but should be aware of the testing limitations and research concerns of these studies. …

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