Hand reach star excursion balance and power tests: do they predict overhead throwing performance of elite level female handball players?
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Background: Throwing performance is an important factor for scoring goals in handball. Mobility and power are two physical factors considered to be important for producing high ball speed. Evidence in the literature for a relationship between mobility tests and throwing performance, and power tests and throwing performance, are scarce and variable. One explanation for the variable and poor relationship to throwing performance could be that the conventional mobility and power tests are not specific enough to throwing. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of mobility and power on overhead throwing with run-up, utilizing more sport specific tests (HSEBT and 1080 Quantum). The hypotheses being that: 1) functional mobility measured by the hand reach star excursion balance test (HSEBT) is significantly correlated with throwing performance, and 2) maximum power measured by the 1080 Quantum is significantly correlated with throwing performance. Methods: Thirteen elite female handball players were recruited for the study, with twelve completing the testing protocol. A HSEBT, consisting of twelve hand reaches were used to measure mobility. Power was measured by twelve tests, consisting of six hop, two push, two pull and two rotational tests, using the 1080 Quantum. Throwing accuracy and ball speed were used as the measures for throwing performance. Results: No significant correlations was found between any HSEBT tests and throwing performance. For the power tests, only left foot anterior to posterior hop significantly correlated with ball speed (r = 0.577, p<0.05). Additionally, the non-dominant hand posterior and superior diagonal pull (r = 0.601, p<0.1) and the right foot anterior hop (r = 0.538, p<0.1) were correlated with a statistical tendency to throwing accuracy. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that neither the mobility nor the power tests can be used as individual predictors of performance for overhead throws with run-up. The correlations found between the power tests and throwing performance is likely due to coincidence, rather than a statistically relevant relationship. However, the tests and idea of moving away from conventional testing to a more sport specific approach should not be completely discarded, since the study had a limited amount of subjects. Thus, more studies into the use of sport specific mobility and power tests are recommended.
Masteroppgave - Norges idrettshøgskole, 2015