Differences in ball speed and three-dimensional kinematics between male and female handball players during a standing throw with run-up

Background The purpose of this paper was to examine differences in ball release speed and throwing kinematics between male and female team-handball players in a standing throw with run-up. Other research has shown that this throwing type produces the highest ball release speeds and comparing groups with differences in ball release speed can suggest where this difference might come from. If throwing technique differs, perhaps gender-specific coordination- and strength-training guidelines are in order. Methods Measurements of three-dimensional kinematics were performed with a seven-camera VICON motion capture system and subsequent joint angles and angular velocities calculations were executed in Mathcad. Data-analysis with Statistical Parametric Mapping allowed us to examine the entire time-series of every variable without having to reduce the data to certain scalar values such as minima/maxima extracted from the time-series. Results Statistical Parametric Mapping enabled us to detect several differences in the throwing kinematics (12 out of 20 variables had one or more differences somewhere during the motion). The results indicated two distinct strategies in generating and transferring momentum through the kinematic chain. Male team-handball players showed more activity in the transverse plane (pelvis and trunk rotation and shoulder horizontal abduction) whereas female team-handball players showed more activity in the sagital plane (trunk flexion). Also the arm cocking maneuver was quite different. Conclusions The observed differences between male and female team handball players in the motions of pelvis, trunk and throwing arm can be important information for coaches to give feedback to athletes. Whether these differences contribute to the observed difference in ball release speed is at the present unclear and more research on the relation with anthropometric profile needs to be done. Kinematic differences might suggest gender-specific training guidelines in team-handball.
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Subjects: handball technique analysis anthropometry sex male female throws velocity speed strength movement co-ordination cinematography
Notations: sport games technical and natural sciences
DOI: 10.1186/s13102-015-0021-x
Published in: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Published: 2015
Volume: 7
Issue: 27
Pages: 1-12
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: advanced