Investigating predictors of ball-throwing velocity in team handball: the role of sex, anthropometry, and body composition
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In this work we investigated the role of sex, anthropometry and body composition in predicting ball-throwing velocity in skilled team handball players of different competitive level.
Forty-six handball players (22 males, 24 females) underwent standard anthropometry and body composition analysis using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Ball-throwing velocity in standing throw from 7 m and three-step running throw from 9 m to a left and right goal was evaluated on court using a radar gun.
Results showed that males throw faster than females in all types of throw, independently of several confounding variables. In both sexes, after correction for several confounding variables, bone mineral content and/or density positively correlated with ball-throwing velocity in all types of throw, but lean and fat mass did not. To minimize collinearity problems, we used the sophisticated Random Forests approach to select variables for regression analysis. In the resulting models, bone mineral content and/or density emerged as sole predictors of ball-throwing velocity to a limited (adjusted R 2 = 0.10–0.36) albeit significant extent.
It is concluded that, besides sex, the athlete’s bone quality may affect handball-throwing performance, suggesting that specific training aimed at improving bone quality would be of use to players.
KeywordsDXA Body dimensions Predictor Bone Testing Random Forests Variable selection
F.P. and V.C. were in the doctoral programme “Multimodal Imaging in Biomedicine” at the University of Verona. We would like to thank all the players in the handball teams who assisted with data collection.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study were approved by local IRB and were in accordance with the national ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed written consent was obtained from all parents/guardians of participants included in the study.
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