Denmark deploy new talent strategy to develop handball

17 Mar. 2023

Denmark deploy new talent strategy to develop handball

Denmark have constantly been trying to improve handball in the country in the past 30 years, with excellent results to show over the last few years, both in men’s and women’s handball.

In the men’s department, Denmark have been truly outstanding over the last few years, setting an unprecedented record in the IHF Men’s World Championship, winning three titles in a row and creating a 28-match unbeaten streak.

The women’s side has also been excellent over the past few years, winning the bronze medal at the 2021 IHF Women’s World Championship and excelling at the younger age categories, where the Scandinavian side sealed the silver medal at the 2022 IHF Women’s Youth World Championship.

But Denmark do not want to stop here and aim to build on the success sealed over the past few years, having now presented a new strategy to develop young talents, setting the direction for the future of handball in the Scandinavian country, with a particular focus on how the players are developed in the context of the changes happening in the society.

“We believe that the current environment calls for new methods of training and developing players. It calls for a solid, values-based standpoint with our young talents at the centre. All of these players are dedicated, have a lot of talent, but they are also a product of the times they live in,” says Søren S. Frydendal, head of talent at the Danish Handball Association (DHF), according to the official website of the DHF.

The development of this strategy has started in 2019 and has been getting input from all of the stakeholders of the DHF, with workshops being held featuring coaches on the base of the pyramid, researchers and players, with the purpose of offering a better understanding of the current paradigm in Danish handball.

“Right from the start, there has been a great desire to involve many key people in the process of developing the talent strategy. Many have been heard; meetings have been held with researchers and professors, while players have been interviewed,” says Morten Henriksen, the sporting director of the DHF.

Eventually, the strategy development was finished at the start of 2023, underlining a key focus – while the players are at the front and centre of handball, no player is more important than the team, with creating a united front being at the forefront of the strategy.

In addition to the talent strategy itself, the DHF also launched a document – “From Strategy to Action” – which describes the ambitions, the desired effect and primary efforts in four selected areas: Collaboration for the whole handball player, more competence development and less selection, diversity, and enthusiasm and motivation.

“The community is an important key to success. No one can do world-class, value-based talent development alone, and we are very aware that the clubs and other training environments form and are the framework for the development of the skills of a player. In addition, we focus on the development of the entire handball player throughout the entire handball life, and this is expressed, among other things, through a focus on more skill development and less selection,” concluded Frydendal.