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08.09.2014, 16:50
The coach inside the handball referee
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FEATURE: Marko Sibila analysed the teams participating at the Women’s EHF EURO 2014. Then the Slovenian handball coach and sports professor told the referees nominated for the event what the different tactics and techniques employed mean for their job
 

The coach inside the handball referee

When the referees come to Hungary and Croatia in December this year for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014, they will not only have clear knowledge of the game’s rules – as this comes naturally with their profession – but also about the tactics and techniques employed by the 16 teams participating.

And if you wonder why a referee’s preparation suddenly looks like a coach’s daily work, the man to ask is Marko Sibila (pictured right), associate professor at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Sport and head of the Slovenian association of handball coaches.

"Handball referees should be able to read the game and not only follow the rules,” Sibila says. “They have to be introduced to the techniques and the tactics of the teams because it makes their job easier."

Harmonised handball

At the main EHF EURO 2014 preparation seminar for the 15 pairs nominated (12 of them will eventually go to the final tournament) at the end of August in Vienna, Sibila presented his analysis of the EHF EURO 2014 teams and the consequences for refereeing.

His findings are based on the qualitative analysis of the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 by Peter Kovacs and his own analysis of several qualification matches for the EHF EURO 2014 involving the qualified teams.

"What we can expect is a very fast with many attacks. For example, if you compare the Men’s and Women’s European Championships in 2012 there were 58 attacks per game for the women, compared to 54 for the men," says Sibila.

"On the other hand, this fast game leads to a higher amount of turnovers and technical errors."

Furthermore Sibila detected a move towards a harmonisation and unification among the 16 teams. Many coaches nowadays opt – in broad terms – for very similar tactics in defence and attack.

For example, at the Women’s EHF EURO 2012 of the 12 top teams only Spain used a 5-1-defenfe as their default system. The remaining 11 all played a closed 6-0-system and only changed this in case of a man advantage on court.

Let the game develop

Add to this some knowledge about the team’s style of play, and the referees’ preparation will pay off once the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 comes around.

"There are many things that occur during a game, but some can be expected and then it’s easier for the referee to follow the game," says Sibila.

"They have to know something about the way teams play so that they can focus on certain things which can be either in accordance with the rules or against the rules.

"The most important thing is that there is no intention to be hostile against a team or a certain or a certain player," adds the Slovenian sports scientist.

"The referees have to give the players and the teams the chance to develop their style of game as much as possible.

"That’s one of the man aims of this kind of preparation."

Reluctant prediction

However, despite his research and analyses, Sibila remain reluctant to predict the teams eventually standing on the podium at the EHF EURO 2014.

"The teams that were on top in 2012, Montenegro, Norway, Hungary, have a good chance to repeat their success," he says.

"But teams like Germany, Poland, Croatia, Denmark and Romania are also very strong. There are lots of teams on very competitive level. Everything is possible."


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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