Edition #2 - Oct 2020
GAA Handball have teamed up with Tommy Gallagher Injury Management to provide members with important information in relation to Performance, Injury/Injury Reduction, and Rehab in Handball. This "Court Ready" series will consist of monthly articles, supported by key images and videos. Downloadable PDF's with exercises will be available at the bottom of each article, and permanently located in our Coaching Resources section.
Today we focus on Hip Rotation.
Handball, like all rotational sports, requires the player to use the ground forces to generate power in a stroke. One of the most important elements in this is Hip rotation. Issues with the hips are one of the most common things we see in the clinic: hip pain; reduced hip mobility; hip flexor injuries; hamstring and groin pain originating in the hips, and so on.
There are a few key movements that we look for. The first is Hip hinge. This is needed to allow the player get into a semi squatted position to maximise the power generated from the ground. Next, and possibly most important, we look at the amount of rotation in the hip joints. Any reduction in hip mobility is a red flag, both as a predictor of potential future injury, and a loss in power. We also look at the body’s ability to separate. This involves stabilising the lower body and rotating the upper body, and then the reverse. This is a trait we see in the top players, which allows them maximise their rotation forces to generate power.
Take the example of a right hand dominant Handballer. To allow a proper back swing, the right hip must rotate one way, while the left hip has to rotate the opposite. As you attack the ball, the hips must then work in the opposite direction. Therefore, if you have a hip injury or reduced hip rotation, you are losing speed, power, and an efficient stoke technique. The rest of the body has to compensate putting extra pressure on shoulders, lower back and hamstrings.
There are many reasons as to why you may be losing hip rotation. Obviously as we get older we tend to have a level of joint degeneration which often results in reduced mobility. Many people are born with hips that have reduced mobility and that is the way their body moves. However, most of us have reduced mobility that can be improved. As a Handballer, you may have reduced hip mobility which could be improved by exercise, which in turn will improve your handball.
Here are some of the exercises we prescribe to help improve hip mobility. If you have pain in any of these movements, or are struggling to do them, you should seek advice from your physio or Coach.
See video for Hip Rotation exercises.