Building blocks set by [email protected] programme in Michigan, USA

24 Nov. 2022

Building blocks set by Handball@School programme in Michigan, USA

The United States of America has been a critical market for the development of handball. The International Handball Federation (IHF) is lending its expertise to improve the sport both at men’s and women’s level, with several programmes currently rolling to try and improve at all the levels of the pyramid, from children to juniors and seniors.

As the IHF has put a lot of emphasis on developing handball at all levels, even at the youngest, this is what the purpose of the [email protected] ([email protected]) course is. The IHF launched a training and education programme for physical education teachers and coaches in schools across all continents in 2011.

The latest course took place between 9 and 16 November in the United States of America, with the chairwoman for the IHF [email protected] Working Group, Dr Ilona Hapkova, leading the promotion of handball for the physical education teachers and children, and developing a strategic plan for the Michigan state, one of the cradles of handball in the USA.

On the outskirts of the activities, Dr Hapkova also met with Edina Borsos, the USA women’s national team coach, and Sonia Gmar, the director of the International School of Los Angeles, a network of 60 schools in California. She wanted to promote the [email protected] programme, help introduce new study materials, and discuss further development directions in the Los Angeles area.

A two-pronged approach was needed, with interest in handball in the Michigan area being exploited, as the [email protected] course took place during the SHAPE Michigan Convention 2022, an event organised by the Society of Health and Physical Educators in America.

An exhibition area during the entire event was organised by Dale Farrow-Harris, a beach handball national player in the USA, and Joseph Williams, the president and founder of the Detroit Handball Club. At the same time, the attendees also had the pleasure of listening to a speech made by Reito Clanton, who represented the USA at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

A database with 67 physical education teachers holding courses for more than 200.000 children throughout Michigan has been established, with a preparation for a strategic plan which sees handball as an after-school activity being readied.

In another part of the course, a practical demonstration has been staged for 50 physical education teachers attending the SHAPE Michigan Conference, with the benefits of handball for children explained.

New areas of development were identified in Rogers City, with a strategic meeting with local authorities being on the list about the implementation of handball in their curriculum, with a practical demonstration of the sport at the Rogers Township Elementary school concluding the discussions.

Over 200 children have made first contact with handball both in Rogers City and in Detroit, with a school league being thought to be organised for the future, with the future of handball in the USA and especially in the Michigan area, looking better and better.

The USA men’s and women’s teams will participate in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, after a 32-year hiatus, with their latest participation in the competition at Atlanta 1996.

Photo: Handball Federation United States of America