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Learning the Ropes from the Best Goalkeeper Coaches

Michael Barda, Béla Bartalos, László Hoffmann, and Tímea Sugár are all world-class representatives of their expertise, who participated in the 2nd International Handball Goalkeeper Coaching Conference at the University of Debrecen.

“Our most important objective will remain to provide a know-how for goalkeeper coaches that they can then easily utilize in practice by having learned about the comparison of various goalkeeper schools and styles in combination with the application of the latest state-of-the-art scientific research findings,” said László Balogh, Director of Debreceni Egyetem Sporttudományi Koordinációs Intézete [Sports Science Coordination Institute of the University of Debrecen] at the opening ceremony of the conference held on November 20th in Debreceni Egyetem Sporttudományi Oktatóközpontja [Sports Science Education Center of the University of Debrecen].

The director also added that the success of the first conference, which had been hosted last year, was clearly indicated by the fact that this year’s event was officially registered as a training course recommended by the EHF (European Handball Federation). However, this is not the only initiative that our university represents in order to contribute to the overall development of the field of handball.

“Within our Sports Science Coordination Institute, we have established a special handball workshop, in which we research handball-specific components in the areas of performance diagnostics. There is a 3D kinetic analysis group working there, headed by Imre Bíró, a former player of the Hungarian national handball team and a current staff member of UD’s Sports Science Coordination Institute, examining the cognitive abilities behind the process of decision making,” said László Balogh.

According to Péter Kovács, the best Hungarian handball player of the 20th century and current lector of EHF, we will soon reach a stage when, even in individual handball clubs, there will be separate coaches concentrating on the players of each individual position in the team, focusing on their respective requirements concerning technical, tactical, and fitness-related preparation elements.

“It is this same approach that is in the background of the unique training course offered by the University of Debrecen, too, which has been also warmly welcomed and embraced by EHF. It seems really necessary that these methods should be taught to the future goalkeeper coaches among the proper circumstances,” noted Péter Kovács.

Among those invited to this year’s symposium, we can also find EHF presenter and master coach Michal Barda. The former EHF cup-winning handballer pointed out at the opening ceremony that the field of handball would continue to need new ideas and methods, for which the most recent research findings of sports science seem to be essential.

Béla Bartalos, a former World Stars player and the goalkeeper coach of Hungary’s national under-21 handball team, highlighted the growing importance of the role of goalkeepers. In his opinion, the performance of a team is determined by the efficiency of its goalkeeper(s) up to 60 to 70 percent in contemporary handball, for which reason it is of key significance that the goalies should act in total harmony with the defense as well as the entire team.

János Györfi, European Master Coach, member of the Presidium of Hungarian Handball Federation, and Chairman of Sports Science Advisory Board, underlined how indispensable it would be to introduce new technologies into handball as soon as possible since, today, players need to be tested and their condition measured during practice and games, both at top-levels of activity as well as in resting periods.

Further topics to be discussed and sorted out at the two-day conference held at the University of Debrecen included the theoretical bases of handball goalkeeper coaching, the technical elements of Czech(o-Slovak) and German goalkeeper training, the most recent and topical coaching tasks and aspects, the saving of shots coming from backs, and the handball goalkeepers of the future.

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