Carlos García-Sánchez1, Claude Karcher2,3,4, Rafael Manuel Navarro5, Raúl Nieto-Acevedo1, Enrique Cañadas-García1, Alfonso de la Rubia1

1Deporte y Entrenamiento Research Group, Departamento de Deportes, Facultad de Ciencias de la Actividad Física y del Deporte (INEF), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, C/Martín Fierro 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2University of Strasbourg, Faculty of Medicine, Mitochondria, Oxidative Stress and Muscular Protection laboratory (EA 3072), Strasbourg, France
3University of Strasbourg, Faculty of Sport Sciences, European Centre for Education, Research and Innovation in Exercise Physiology (CEERIPE), Strasbourg, France
4CREPS de Strasbourg, Centre de ressources, d’Expertises et de Performances Sportives, Strasbourg, France
5Faculty of Sports Sciences, European University of Madrid; 28670 Villaviciosa de Odón, Spain

Same Training for Everyone? Effects of Playing Positions on Physical Demands During Official Matches in Women’s Handball

Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med. 2024, 13(1), 11-18 | DOI: 10.26773/mjssm.240302


The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare the differences between playing positions on physical demands during official matches in women’s handball. Twenty-two semi-professional female players (4 wings, 14 backs and 4 pivots) from the Spanish 2nd Division were monitored across 13 official home matches. Total distance covered (TDC), high-speed running distance (HSR), high-intensity breaking distance (HIBD), accelerations (ACC), decelerations (DEC) and PlayerLoad™ (PL) were collected in absolute and relative values (normalized by playing time) using a local positioning system (WIMU PRO™, Realtrack Systems S.L., Almería, Spain). Playing positions differences were determined by variance analysis one-way ANOVA with partial Etasquared (ηp2) or epsilon-squared (ε²) and Cohen’s effect size (ES). Wings covered more TDC (3414.5±1710.1 m), HSR (492.7±280.0 m) and HIBD (171.2±104.7 m) compared to backs and pivots (p<0.05; moderate-large effects). Wings also registered more total number of ACC (750.5±362.2) and PL (85.0±7.8 a.u.) compared to backs and pivots (p<0.05; moderate-large effects), whereas backs performed more ACC/min (19.9±1.1 n·min−1) than wings (18.9±1.4 n·min−1) and pivots (18.4±3.9 n·min−1) (p<0.05; moderate effects). In conclusion, physical demands differ between playing positions during official female competitions and these differences should be considered by practitioners to better prescribe and periodize training load and to design more individualized training programs.


handball; external load; tracking system; load monitoring; accelerometry

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