Team handball: working demands in match play and in training

Knowledge of the working demands in any type of sport is essential for many reasons. Firstly, understanding the physical demands of a sport is a precondition for the planning and execution of optimal training. Further, it is relevant to examine to what extent differences exist in the physical demands imposed by various playing positions. In case of such differences, physical training should be organized in a more individualized manner, rather than providing a uniform type of training for all players regardless of playing position.



Place: Norges idrettshøgskole

Formal title

Team handball: working demands in match play and in training - Position specific demands measured with use of integrated technology


This project aims to investigate the working demands of high level, female team handball players, with the use of inertial measurement units. In addition, the project aims to investigate the validity of a commercial available local positioning system. 


This project will be conducted in three different parts. In the first part, we will monitor official games with the national team. These games will be analyzed for physical differences between playing positions and if fatigue occurs during match play. Part two of the project will consist of monitoring of different training drills and official matches. In this part, we want to look at differences between the drills, and compare them to official match intensity. In the two first parts of the project, the players will be equipped with inertial measurement units to measure the intensity. In part three of the project we will do a validation study of a local (indoor) positioning system, for use in indoor team sports. This will be done in a team handball specific manner.


The studies show that PlayerLoad™ and high-intensity events (HIE) with the use of inertial measurement units was reliable, as long as it was not divided into intensity bands. The studies demonstrated a high occurrence of HIEs in female team handball. Differences existed between playing positions and between playing standards in the number of HIEs in match play. The results also suggest that PlayerLoad™·min-1 is not sustained throughout matches in international female team handball matches. The number of players involved in game-based training drills appeared to affect the intensity of the drill, whereby a lower number of players resulted in an increase of both PlayerLoad™∙min-1 and HIE∙min-1. Positional differences were apparent when comparing the intensity of game-based training drills to official matches. Wings showed higher HIE∙min-1 in training than matches, while backs and pivots did not. Lastly, measures of position, distance, and mean speed from the investigated LPS can be used confidently in time-motion analyses for indoor team sports, provided that positioning between field of play and walls/corners and anchor nodes are appropriate.


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