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Game-based analysis of handballing in Australian Football

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Handballing is the most efficient passing skill in Australian football with an 80% success rate. Other than the number and outcome of handballs, there is no game-based information available on handball quality. The aims of this study were to profile handball performance and to assess within-game factors associated with effective handballing. Handballs (N = 1140) from 14 Australian Football League games were coded for outcome, technical, decision-making and game-environment factors. Technically it was found that that most handballs during games were characterized by a stationary and square stance, and executed forward over a short distance. Decision-making components included passing under low pressure, within one and three s and with one to two passing options available. Under game-environment, handballs were predominantly made in the midfield and after the ball was caught in the air, with an 'easy-receive' lead-up. Efficiency was higher when the player was square, passed forward, and had a 'knees-bent' or running stance. Handballing efficiency was lower under increased pressure, when there were fewer passing options, in the attacking region of the ground, and after awkwardly receiving the ball before passing. These findings can help guide handball technical analyses and coaching programs.
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Keywords: AFL; EFFICIENCY; NOTATIONAL ANALYSIS; PERFORMANCE CODING; WITHIN-GAME

Document Type: Editorial

Publication date: 2013-12-01

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