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Sixth EHF Scientific Conference underway

EHF / Courtney Gahan

The sixth EHF Scientific Conference, ‘Digitalization and Technology in Handball — Natural Sciences/The Game/Humanities’, began on Thursday morning with 125 participants from 26 countries joining the first online streamed edition of the event.

The English-language Conference will run through to Friday afternoon, with a number of experts presenting on various aspects of handball, including topics such as new coaching systems and approaches, the impact of Covid-19, injury prevention, refereeing and esports.

“Science gives knowledge to everybody who is participating in our game”

Proceedings were opened on Thursday morning by Chairman of the Methods Commission Pedro Sequeira, who spoke primarily about the importance of the Conference and the growth of knowledge surrounding handball.  

“10 years ago the European Handball Federation, through the Methods Commission, started with the Scientific Conference,” said Sequeira, before commending his predecessors Frantisek Taborsky and Jerzy Eliasz for the vision to introduce and develop the Conference.  

“After 10 years, it’s still not easy to find a European or an international federation that organises a Scientific Conference as we do.”

Sequeira said that scientific knowledge is vital to the continued development of the game of handball. All involved, from coaches and players to referees and delegates, benefit from the scientific knowledge surrounding the sport moving forward.

“This is very important for the development of the game. To develop the game, you also need a lot of knowledge. With our Scientific Conference, there is a possibility that science gives knowledge to everybody who is participating in our game.

“The new elected Methods Commission has the same ambition that Mr Taborsky and Mr Eliasz had in the past. Today we are in the sixth edition. I hope in 10 years we will be at the 10th edition. This means that scientific persons, [and] scientific knowledge, will continue to be together with handball.”

Sequeira also spoke about the contribution of the EHF Competence Academy & Network, which has grown through the years to become a thriving body within the EHF contributing critical knowledge to handball.

“A lot of gratitude from my side to them, not only with the Scientific Conference, but today specific to the Scientific Conference,” said Sequeira. “This is only possible because all the European Handball Federation supports us.”

“We all want that our game is all the time better and better”

Turning to the specific focus of the 2021 edition of the Conference, which has been held every two years since its inception in 2011, Sequeira outlined how technology is a vital tool for sport and that handball must make use of all available resources to continue to move forward.

“Things are really changing in all sectors, specifically in sports and of course in handball. Today, with the digitalization and technology, it is possible to put handball on a new level. Not only through grassroots, but also through education for our sporting agents — referees, delegates, coaches, club managers. Today this is incontrovertible, that if we want to develop handball, we need to be almost in the 22nd century,” smiled Sequeira.

Sequeira added that another reason the Conference’s global topic of Digitalization and Technology in Handball — Natural Sciences/The Game/Humanities is relevant is the European Commission’s 2030 Digital Decade objectives, which outlined that digitalization is a key pillar for the development of the continent. He concluded by outlining how all the Conference content is valuable as researchers and coaches in handball need continually updated information.

“In my personal opinion, the most important thing in handball is that we continue updating our knowledge — at all levels,” said Sequeira, also referencing how the Scientific Conference is relevant to the EHF Master Plan

“We all want that our game is all the time better and better.”

Keynote speech focuses on e-handball

Sequeira delivered his keynote speech on e-handball and how much of an impact the e-sports phenomenon is having effect on professional sports.

You can watch the whole speech and introduction on our EHF Activities YouTube channel.

For more information on the sixth EHF Scientific Conference programme, click here.

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