Children’s handball in the spotlight in Nicaragua
19 Oct. 2023
The profile of children’s handball in Nicaragua saw a boost in late August and early September, with a Handball at School course taking place around the National School Handball Championship. The coinciding events offered the chance to simultaneously improve the education level of teachers and coaches and provided a highly positive atmosphere for the growth of the sport.
The Handball at School course, which took place in the cities of Managua, Masaya and Granada, was led by IHF lecturer Dr Patricia Sosa González, with 43 of 63 beginner-level participants succeeding in obtaining the D Licence qualification. Each cohort, in the different cities, undertook 25 teaching units covering both theoretical and practical elements.
The participants were mainly physical education teachers or students, along with some teenage handball players who intend to start coaching in the near future. Those who were under 18 were ineligible for the D Licence, accounting for the gap in number of licences obtained versus participants, although they did receive a certificate of participation.
“In the three venues where the courses were held, there was a lot of enthusiasm not only from all the participants, but also from all the children participating in the practical sessions, who voluntarily signed up every day to enjoy the games and activities,” reported Dr Sosa González.
For the practical sessions, participants in Masaya and Granada had the chance to work with school children of both primary and secondary school age. In Managua, the participants worked mainly with children aged 12 to 14 from the handball section of the Nicaraguan Institute of Sports.
The National School Handball Championship was not linked to the H@S course, but the occurrence during the course enabled participants to observe young-age matches in action on the free days. Approximately 300 children participated in the championship, with 14 boys’ and 11 girls’ teams.
Handball in Nicaragua
In approximate numbers, the Nicaraguan Handball Federation reports 800 registered players in the country, across the age groups of children, youth and senior. There are also a total of around 20 referees across the seven handball associations in Nicaragua.
Along with the National Schools Championships, a junior national championship is held twice a year and there is a senior league currently featuring 10 men’s teams and four women’s.
One challenge noted by Dr Sosa González is the lack of indoor handball courts, of which there are few in Nicaragua. This should be a key area of focus for the continued development of the sport, along with more coaches, referees and officials.
“I am optimistic and believe in the development of handball and mini handball in Nicaragua,” concluded Dr Sosa González.