Determinant Factors of Physical Performance and Specific Throwing in Handball Players of Different Ages
Ortega-Becerra, M, Pareja-Blanco, F, Jiménez-Reyes, P, Cuadrado-Peñafiel, V, and González-Badillo, JJ. Determinant factors of physical performance and specific throwing in handball players of different ages. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1778–1786, 2018—This study aimed to analyze various fitness qualities in handball players of different ages and to determine the relationships between these parameters and throwing velocity. A total of 44 handball players participated, pooled by age groups: professional (ELITE, n = 13); under-18 (U18, n = 16); under-16 (U16, n = 15). The following tests were completed: 20-m running sprints; countermovement jumps (CMJs); jump squat to determine the load that elicited ∼20 cm jump height (JSLOAD-20 cm); a progressive loading test in full squat and bench press to determine the load that elicited ∼1 m·s−1 (SQ-V1-LOAD and BP-V1-LOAD); and handball throwing (jump throw and 3-step throw). ELITE showed greater performance in almost all sprint distances, CMJ, JSLOAD-20 cm, and bench press strength than U18 and U16. The differences between U18 and U16 were unclear for these variables. ELITE also showed greater (p < 0.001) performance for squat strength and throwing than U18 and U16, and U18 attained greater performance (p ≤ 0.05) for these variables than U16. Throwing performance correlated (p ≤ 0.05) with sprint times (r = −0.31; −0.51) and jump ability (CMJ: r = 0.39; 0.56 and JSLOAD-20 cm: r = 0.57; 0.60). Muscle strength was also associated (p < 0.001) with both types of throw (SQ-V1-LOAD: r = 0.66; 0.76; and BP-V1-LOAD: r = 0.33; 0.70). These results indicate that handball throwing velocity is strongly associated with lower-limb strength, although upper-limb strength, jumping and sprint capacities also play a relevant role in throwing performance, suggesting the need for coaches to include proper strength programs to improve handball players' throwing velocity.