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Players' exclusions effects on elite handball teams' scoring performance during close games

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The aim of the present study was to (i) describe the game situations in which player exclusions occurred and, (ii) to analyze their effects on teams' scoring performance, for teams that suffer the exclusion (numerical inferiority) and for the opponents (numerical superiority). A total 280 exclusions from 60 elite handball close games were analyzed (ASOBAL League, season 2011-2012). Match status, game location, quality of opposition, and game period situational variables were incorporated into the analysis. Descriptive data were computed to describe the game situations. Multiple linear regression models were used to evaluate the temporal effects on teams' scoring performance (dynamic time-dependent perspective). Results showed that when exclusions are sanctioned, the opponent teams take advantage of the numerical superiority and improve their scoring performance. This trend was not affected by match status, game location, quality of opposition, or game period situational variables. Conversely, the scoring increments were smaller than might be expected from a 2-minute numerical playing superiority. Psychological theories such as choking under pressure situations where good performance is expected could contribute to explain this finding. Specific player's psychological training must be oriented to deal with these situations. It is suggested that representative tasks designs include the simulation of these different exclusions scenarios.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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