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23.11.2013, 17:50
A bridge from science to practice
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NEWS REPORT: 100 participants discussed and presented topics on women's handball at the EHF Scientific Conference in Vienna
 

A bridge from science to practice

100 experts from 30 European countries as well as Japan and Tunisia, 69 presentations, 15 posters and even more written abstracts: Following a jam-packed programme the two-day EHF Scientific Conference, this time dealing with “women and handball”, concluded in Vienna on Saturday.

Two years ago the first Scientific Conference had been organised by the European Handball Federation on the fringes of its 20th anniversary.

The range of the scientific presentations was wide, including approaches from training sciences, human sciences or sport medicine and also a medical mini symposium was organised on the first day with the focus on knee injuries in women’s handball.

In his opening speech EHF President Jean Brihault mentioned that the “EHF cares a lot for women’s handball on all levels - players, officials, referees and coaches. We are exploring new ideas for the progress in women’s handball.”

Jerzy Eliasz, chairman of the EHF Methods Commission, strengthened the fact that “coaches need a professional and scientific education to be successful”, adding: “The global interest in women’s handball is growing as the number of scientific studies on women’s handball have also grown.”

Two keynotes by Carmen Manchado (Spain, member of the EHF Competition Commission) and EHF Honorary Member Frantisek Taborsky (Czech Republic, founder of the Union of University Handball Teachers) focused on the performance factors in women’s handball like height, power, muscle size, fat mass and a gender comparison, analysing matches of the past two Olympic Games.

A plethora of presentations addressed scientific differences of women’s and men’s handball – including surprising results that women run longer distances in a match, cause a bigger number of technical mistakes, run in a lower strain than men - but men significantly stand still longer than women during a match.

A special focus in those presentations was on the physical demands of women in handball, but also from the medical point of view interesting facts were presented –like that the women’s risk of rupturing their ACL is five times higher as it is for men due to hormones and the different stability of the ligament.

Building a scientific handball community

Another focal point were the first scientific studies on introducing different ball sizes for younger age categories in women’s handball.

“The first concrete result of those studies was that in seven countries the new ball size 1.5 as intermediate version of size 1 and 2 are being tested,” said Helmut Höritsch, organiser of the Scientific Conference and Coordinator of the EHF Competence Activity Network (CAN).

In his conclusion Höritsch was impressed by the wide range of subjects and the fact that one third of the participants were women including the two EHF Executive Members Helga Magnusdottir (ISL) and Lydia Bojic-Cacic (CRO, Chairwoman of the EHF Women’s Handball Board).

“This conference proved the close cooperation of the EHF Methods Commission and the Women’s Handball Board,” Höritsch said, adding: “We will continue the series of scientific conferences and we even want to include more experts from different fields to implement a community of scientists.”

One of those female scientists presenting her studies was Marta Bon, coach of the Slovenian women’s national team.

Bon praised the result of the conference: “I am very satisfied, a big number of very interesting studies was presented. And many scientists combine the practical part of their researches, as they also work as coaches.

“This conference was a bridge from science to practice. And additionally it was brilliant to see that besides those experienced experts some young faces were among the presenters.”

Looking ahead to the third conference

Frantisek Taborsky underlined the new inputs at the conference's second edition: “We have seen new faces from countries like Belgium or Georgia. I am happy with the big number of experts and scientists taking part in this conference, even as in contrast to the first edition the agenda was limited only to women’s handball.

“And one saw clearly that all scientists had a practical approach how to implement their research result directly into training and coaching methods.”

Jerzy Eliasz shared this opinion: “The conference was a great success as it combined theory and practice from so many different views.

“Taking in consideration that it was a very specific subject focusing only on women’s handball it was great to see the wide range of experts. I hope that in two years EHF will organize the third Scientific Conference.”

A major result of the EHF Scientific Conference will be the official conference book including all articles, abstracts and presentations of the scientists, which will be published ion January.

“In contrast to 20 years ago when you had to search for scientific results, this compilation of scientific studies gives a compact overview and is highly useful for young scientists and also for coaches,” said Eliasz.

And Carmen Manchado’s final balance was true for all participants: “It is brilliant that such a huge number of scientists and experts focus on studies on women’s handball in such a high quality.”

And the participants also praised – and used – the new opportunities of integrating social media in the conference, as results were directly discussed with the public via Twitter.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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