Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Iceland Saemundargata 2, Reykjavik, Iceland
Coaches play a multifunctional key role in high-performance team sports. One of the coaches’ responsibilities, in some sports, is to use team timeouts effectively. The sport science literature has however only given limited attention to the use of timeouts – this is especially the case in handball. This is somewhat surprising since timeouts can be used as a strategic intervention in the dynamic interplay on the field. This study examines why coaches’ use team timeouts in handball and the efficiency of those timeouts. The study is built on a mixed method analysis; a) on interviews with six experienced handball coaches and; b) statistical analysis on all team timeouts during the 2014 Men´s European Handball Championship. The former method was used to establish hypotheses of why coaches use timeouts and the latter to test those hypotheses statistically. The findings from the interviews suggest that there are several reasons why coaches use timeouts in handball, most importantly to stop a negative flow in the game. Other reasons where to emphasize or change play strategy, to rest players, to slow the game down or to try to secure a goal. The statistical findings show support to the coaches’ criteria of when they use timeouts. The results further showed that timeouts are efficient in stopping a negative flow in the game, but failed to show a significant relationship of the timeout leading to a goal in the following attack. Further research is needed to address various questions that arise from this study.
Keywords: Coaches views, Handball, Team timeout calling, Team timeout efficiency.
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