EHF bringing deeper insight into players performance

In the wake of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 in January, a team from the EHF carried out deep analysis into the performance of players and teams to provide coaches with more insight into how tactics and technique work in practice on court. 

The work was led by EHF Methods Commission member Monique Tijsterman, assisted by EHF Master Coaches Zoltán Marczinka, Csaba Ökrös and János Hajdu, and Zoltán Kólya, CEO of My Handball System Hungary.
The detailed analysis produced by the group gives coaches more visual aids to be able to put the knowledge gathered and examined into practice. It was based on her own experience that Tijsterman felt it was important to introduce a more visual element to the EHF EURO trends analysis.

“For me, it was important if we write an analysis and I have free hands, then I wanted for sure to make analyses also for coaches — that they can bring something back to their own club, to their own training,” says Tijsterman.  “For us, it’s really important that the coach reads it and says, ‘okay, how can I translate that to my team, to my players?’”

The document presented at the end of the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 featured basic information such as an overview of the event, a general look at the participating teams, overall statistics, surprise sides, information on players, and a comparison between the 2020 edition and the 2022 event.

A key focus for the analysis of on-court trends was the way different teams employed defensive systems. It found, for example, that causing turnovers and turning the ball possession into counter-attacks was one of the core elements of successful EHF EURO 2022 participants. Many teams had this quick transition as a core element of their match plan – but this transition can only work if the defence is actively able to fight to regain ball possession.

Another key factor was that the centre back players were defending more and more in the direction of the wings to start a quick counter-attack match play – and the zonal defence was used much more often than before.
The analysis included links to video clips of the teams to clearly show exactly how their systems worked, as well as diagrams with comments made in the ‘My Handball System’ programme, which can be viewed in both 2D and 3D. 

How teams play seven-against-six, six-against-five and five-against-six in both defence and attack were also examined. In terms of different attacking systems and trends, Tijsterman and the team found an increase in the number of crosses with the line player along with even quicker transitions — a trend that has been steadily on the rise for some years and is continuing, seeing matches become even faster. Those using the analysis will be able to see videos and diagrams examining these attacking trends as well.

Finally, alongside the examinations of attack and defence, there was an analysis of the different goalkeeper styles, complete with videos.

On an individual level, the team also identified a top five list of players, focused on less obvious elements, such as who scores the most goals, but on young players to watch for the future and players who stand out with their feint, for example.

Ultimately, Tijsterman would like to be able to fully translate the analysis into specific training instructions for coaches. “If we can do that, then my job is done,” she said. 

A similar analysis has been carried out after the Women’s EHF EURO 2022 in November and the results will be available in 2023.