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A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 May 03


language: English

Anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of professional handball players: influence of playing position and competitive level

René SCHWESIG 1, Souhail HERMASSI 2, Georg FIESELER 3, Lars IRLENBUSCH 1, Frank NOACK 4, Karl S. DELANK 1, Roy J. SHEPHARD 5, Mohamed S. CHELLY 2

1 Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Martin Luther University, Halle- Wittenberg, Germany; 2 Research Unit, Sport Performance & Health, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education, Ksar Saîd, University of ”La Manouba,“ Tunis, Tunisia; 3 Center for Orthopedic Surgery (ZOC), 34346 Hann. Muenden, Germany; 4 Department of Medicine I, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany; 5 Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


BACKGROUND: The aims of the study were to examine the anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of professional handball players classified by playing position. METHODS: Twenty-one competitors (age: 25.2 ± 5.1 years) were categorized as backs, pivots, wings or goalkeepers. Measures included anthropometrics (body height and mass), scores on the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (total distance covered, TD), Repeated-sprint ability (6 repetitions of 2 x 15-m shuttle sprints with recording of best time for a single trial, RSAbest) and performance on a complex handball test (HBKT) of throw slap (TS) and throw jump (TJ) with and without precision.
RESULTS: The anthropometric data revealed a significantly lower body height for wings and pivots than for goalkeepers. Wings, pivots and goalkeepers were significantly shorter than backs, but had a similar BMI. The TD was greater for the wings (2.400 m) than for backs (1.832 m) and pivots (2.067m). Wings also achieved a better RSAbest (5.41 s) than backs (5.68 s) or pivots (5.82 s). Body height was significantly related to throw slap (TS) and jump (JT) (r = 0.53, p<0.01; r = 0.51, p<0.01 respectively). No significant difference (p=0.675; 2=0.009) was seen between JT with precision and JT without precision.
CONCLUSIONS: Substantial differences of body build and physical performance between playing positions underline the importance of a careful assignment of such positions and the development of position-specific training for professional handball players by modifying both intermittent aerobic and anaerobic endurance components of training sessions.

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