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«Item type Thesis or dissertation Authors Moss, Samantha L. Publisher University of Chester Downloaded 7-May-2016 19:55:26 Item License ...»

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University of




The physical, physiological and performance characteristics of

English youth team handball players

Item type Thesis or dissertation

Authors Moss, Samantha L.

Publisher University of Chester

Downloaded 7-May-2016 19:55:26

Item License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Link to item http://hdl.handle.net/10034/550901

This work has been submitted to ChesterRep – the University of Chester’s

online research repository http://chesterrep.openrepository.com Author(s): Samantha Moss Title: The physical, physiological and performance characteristics of English youth team handball players Date: July 2014 Originally published as: University of Chester PhD thesis Example citation: Moss, S. (2014). The physical, physiological and performance characteristics of English youth team handball players. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.

Version of item: Submitted version Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10034/550901




This thesis is submitted in accordance with the requirements of the University of Chester for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Samantha Moss July 2014 Summary STUDY 1 (CHAPTER 3) INTRODUCTION: In order to maximise the potential for success, developing nations need to produce superior systems to identify and develop talent, which requires comprehensive and up-to-date values on elite players. This study examined the anthropometric and physical characteristics of youth female team handball players (16.07 ± 1.30 y) in non-elite (n= 47), elite (n= 37) and top-elite players (n= 29). METHODS: Anthropometric profiling included sum of eight skinfolds, body mass, stature, girths, breadths and somatotype. Performance tests included 20 m sprint, counter movement jump, throwing velocity, repeated shuttle sprint and jump ability test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. RESULTS: Youth topelite players had greater body mass, lean mass, stature, limb girths and breadths than elite and non-elite players, while only stature and flexed arm were higher in elite compared to nonelite players (all P 0.05). Sum of skinfolds and waist-to-hip ratio were similar between groups (P 0.05). Top-elite performed better in most performance tests compared to both elite and non-elite players (P 0.05), although maximal and repeated10 m sprints were similar between standard (P 0.05). Elite outperformed non-elite players in throwing velocity only. CONCLUSIONS: Findings reveal that non-elite players compare unfavourably to top-elite international European players in many anthropometric and performance characteristics, and differ in few characteristics compared to elite European club team players. This study is useful for emerging team handball nations in improving talent identification processes.

STUDY 2 (CHAPTER 4) INTRODUCTION: Detailed analysis of demands during match play is an essential requirement for the development of both optimal training practices and match simulations.

This study aimed to provide a comprehensive analysis of team handball match play in youth English U18 Men’s National League players through the assessment of player movement demands, technical actions and heart rate during match play. Secondly, the impact of team

handball competition on fatigue during and after matches was also investigated. METHODS:

Video analysis was used to monitor the movement demands and technical actions of 22 players (16.23 ± 0.92 y) during competitive team handball matches (2 x 20 min halves) from the English Youth National League. Movement categories included standing, walking, jogging striding, sprinting, backwards movement, sideways low-intensity movement and sideways high-intensity movement. Technical actions included shots, body contact, jumps, and technical errors in attack and defence. Physiological and neuromuscular responses were

also performed in 21 players (age: 16.08 ± 0.72 y, stature: 180.06 ± 8.75 cm, body mass:

72.24 ± 9.68 kg), who were tested for physical performance measures (20 m sprint, countermovement jump, throwing velocity) and blood lactate at baseline, half-time and full-time.

Heart rate was also monitored continuously during matches. RESULTS: Total playing time was 36:24 ± 4:36 min, with players spending 94.24 ± 3.6% and 3.93 ± 0.82% of total time in low and high-intensity activity, respectively. Standing (38.15 ± 5.64%) and walking (21.99 ± 6.84%) accounted for the most time, while players sprinted for 0.92 ± 1.51% of total time.

Most prevalent technical actions were shots (7.0 ± 5.0), body contact (15.5 ± 3.3), and jumps (15.50 ± 9.0). Average heart rate was 178 ± 13 b·min-1 (88.3 ± 4.9% HRmax). There were no differences in the time spent in either high- or low-intensity activity or heart rate over the course of the match (P 0.05). However, total activity changes (165 ± 23 cf. 133 ± 29, P 0.001) and total body contact (11.5 ± 10.3 cf. 5.5 ± 3.0, P 0.001) decreased from the first to the second half. Neuromuscular performance and blood lactate concentration was unchanged between halves (all P 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Despite predominance for low-intensity movements, high average heart rates highlight the large physiological demand imposed by other activities during matches. While high-intensity running was maintained, English players underwent decrements in body contact in the second half of matches. However, match demands did not compromise neuromuscular function during sprinting, jumping or throwing.

Findings revealed notable differences to elite standard match analysis, relating to a lower frequency of sprints and activity changes in English players. This data exposes potential weaknesses in the English game and highlights the need to develop training practices that mimic the demands of elite competition. Specific conditioning to improve repeated highintensity running capacity with frequent changes in speed is warranted.

STUDY 3 (CHAPTER 5) INTRODUCTION: When exposed to intensified competition or training, elite team handball players experience decrements in neuromuscular function, while mood disturbances are observed as training load increases. Responses of non-elite players might warrant different approaches to player management and support processes. The aim of this study was to investigate neuromuscular fatigue and well-being of English

handball players during a training camp and an international tournament. METHODS:

Players were monitored for three days during the training camp (n= 9) and five days during the tournament (n= 14). Neuromuscular responses were measured using maximal 10 m sprint and counter-movement jump (CMJ). Player well-being was monitored daily using a questionnaire. Player match load was assessed by recoding heart rate (HR) and session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE). RESULTS: Players’ 10 m sprint performance did not change during the training camp (1.89 ± 0.1 cf. 1.96 ± This work has been submitted to ChesterRep – the University of Chester’s online research repository

–  –  –

Author(s): Samantha Moss Title: The physical, physiological and performance characteristics of English youth team handball players Date: July 2014 Originally published as: University of Chester PhD thesis Example citation: Moss, S. (2014). The physical, physiological and performance characteristics of English youth team handball players. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, United Kingdom.

Version of item: Submitted version Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10034/550901

0.1 s, P = 0.09; 3.7%) but did during the tournament (1.84 ± 0.07 cf. 1.98 ± 0.12 s, P 0.001; 8.03%). While there were reductions in CMJ flight time during the camp (0.54 ±

0.33 s cf. 0.51 ± 0.3 s, P = 0.008; 5%), values were unchanged during the tournament (P 0.05).The greatest decreases were found for well-being in both the tournament (20.08 ± 1.98 cf. 17.83 ± 1.7, P = 0.008; 11%) and training camp (18.8 ± 2.6 AU cf.

16.56 ± 3.4 AU, P 0.05; 11%). CONCLUSIONS: Performance decrements and decreased well-being were indicative of insufficient recovery of the neuromuscular system after intense match play. These findings can be used to inform practices that optimise recovery through appropriate player selection and interchange strategies, as well as ensuring the provision of adequate training stimuli to better prepare players for limited recovery during competition.

STUDY 4 (CHAPTER 6) INTRODUCTION: Team handball players evidence fatigue-induced decrements in highintensity activity from the first to second half of matches. Effective management of player work and rest periods during matches could help to minimise physiological loading and better maintain performance. This study aimed to establish the effect of two different interchange strategies on performance and pacing strategy during a simulated team-sports protocol.

METHODS: Eight outfield youth male team handball players (age: 16.1 ± 1.0 y, stature:

1.82 ± 0.11 m, body mass: 69.3 ± 6.6 kg) completed two conditions of a team sport simulation. LONG comprised 3 x 13:00 min periods of work, separated by 8:00 min rest between activity periods. SHORT comprised 5 x 7:48 min periods of activity, separated by 3:45 min rest between work periods. Absolute work time (39:00 min) and rest (16:00 min) periods were the same for both conditions. Participants were tested for 20 m sprint, countermovement jump and throwing performance during each condition, with heart rate being monitored continuously. Post-condition measures included Repeated Shuttle Sprint and Jump

Ability, session rating of perceived exertion, blood lactate and blood glucose. RESULTS:

Sprint time deteriorated progressively throughout the simulation (P = 0.005), but overall faster sprint performance was apparent in SHORT (3.87 ± 0.27 s) rather than LONG (3.97 ±

0.24 s, P = 0.03) by a ‘likely small’ difference. Throwing velocity revealed a ‘likely small’ difference that was indicative of better performance in SHORT (70.02 ± 7.40 km·h-1) compared to LONG (69.04 ± 5.57 km·h-1, P 0.05). There were no differences in throwing accuracy or counter-movement jump performance (P 0.05). Practically meaningful higher average heart rate (166 ± 8 b·min-1 cf. 169 ± 9 b·min-1) and summated heart rate (150 ± 15 cf.

AU 157 ± 21) were apparent in SHORT compared to LONG by a ‘likely small’ difference (P 0.05). Post-condition measures showed that SHORT resulted in ‘most likely moderate’ lower sRPE (224 ± 45 AU cf. 282 ± 35 AU, P = 0.001), in addition to ‘most likely moderate’ higher blood glucose (6.06 ± 0.69 mmol·l-1 cf. 4.98 ± 1.10 mmol·l-1 P = 0.03) compared to LONG. However, there were no differences in blood lactate (P 0.05) between conditions.

Repeated shuttle sprint running performance was also better preserved after SHORT work and rest periods, with ‘moderate’ decreases in 10 m and 25 m sprint times (P 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, these findings suggest that interchange strategies using SHORT as oppose to LONG periods of work and rest result in overall lower physiological load that leads to improved fatigue resistance and a better preservation of high-intensity movements throughout a match. This information could prove valuable to maximise player performance both during a match and a tournament where multiple matches are played consecutively.

Acknowledgements Throughout the completion of this thesis I have been extremely lucky to be surrounded by some remarkable individuals. My first thank you goes to my supervisors, Dr Craig Twist and Dr Nicola McWhannell. Craig, I will be forever grateful for your selflessness and hard work.

I have learnt so many invaluable lessons and can quite safely say that without your help, I would not be where I am today. Nicky, thank you for your constant enthusiasm, support and friendship that has made this such an enjoyable experience.

To Mick Hegarty; the most enthusiastic person I know. Your drive and passion to promote handball in England was infectious. Handball has given me so many unforgettable memories and I would like to express my gratitude for providing me with this fantastic opportunity. I hope that I can continue to play my part in developing team handball in England.

To my amazing family; Mum and Dad, you have always been so supportive of everything I do. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Thanks to my brother Rhys for your wit and humour that never fails to make me laugh. It’s almost time to stop asking “Are you finished yet?!” To my boyfriend Kevin Enright; doing our PhD’s at the same time must have made us the most boring couple around! Thanks for your motivation, your patience and for taking me out of the house this past year.

Finally, this thesis could not have been possible without the willingness of coaches and players to take part. It has been a pleasure to work with you all. I would like to extend my thanks to all of those individuals who helped to organise and collect data for the studies within this thesis: Lars Michalsik, Jordi Ferrer-Torras, Donna Hankinson, Scott Harrington, Bobby White, Gary Kelsall, Julien Antoine, Truls Valland Roaas, Chelsea Oxendale, Laura Wade, Jamie Highton, Marc Flynn, Chris Connelly, Paige Garvey and Kerry Wadmore.

Table of contents Contents Summary


List of figures

List of tables

List of Abbreviations



1.1 An introduction to team handball

1.2 Physical and physiological characteristics of team handball players

1.3 English team handball players

1.4 Aims of the current research



2.1 Anthropometric characteristics of team handball players

2.1.1 Positional differences in anthropometric data of team handball players

2.2 Physical performance characteristics of team handball players

2.2.1 Aerobic capacity of team handball players

2.2.2 Speed and agility characteristics of team handball players

2.2.3 Strength and power characteristics of team handball players

2.2.4 Throwing performance of team handball players

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