Podcast: Flensburg-Kiel (2nd half)

Flensburg hosts derby rival Kiel in battle for first place in the German Bundesliga

Flensburg hosts derby rival Kiel in battle for first place in the German Bundesliga

2nd half topic:  I discuss my current frustration with the lack of handball TV viewing opportunities in the U.S and why the new handball related reality show could lead to a major network in the U.S. broadcasting handball

Synch the video with the audio: I give a running countdown starting at 52:18 on the ehfTV clock in the lower left hand corner.

Video: Link

Podcast: Flensburg – Kiel (1st Half)

Flensburg hosts derby rival Kiel in battle for first place in the German Bundesliga

Flensburg hosts derby rival Kiel in a battle for first place in the German Bundesliga

The super bowl is over and it’s time to get your sport fix with a little handball.  What better way to do that than by watching German Bundesliga leader, Flensburg, host arch rival and 2nd place Kiel in a battle for first place.  The match is available “on demand” at ehfTV and I’ve done some “casual commentary” that you can listen to while you watch the match.  Casual in that sometimes I call the action and at other times I have a running conversation with myself on different topics.

In the first half I explain why I think the Bundesliga is the best handball league in the world and how I became a fan of Flensburg.

Synch the video with the audio:  I give a running countdown starting at 00:35 on the ehfTV clock in the lower left hand corner.

Video: Link

 

Podcast:  World Championships Reflections with ehfTV’s Tom O’Brannigan

ehfTV's Tom O'Brannigan

ehfTV’s Tom O’Brannigan

ehfTV’s Tom O’Brannigan joins the podcast to share some of his thoughts on the IHF Men’s World Championships Final Four.  We discuss France’s 31-25 defeat of Slovenia and tonight’s Norway – Croatia semifinal matchup.

Along the way we discuss a few tangents to include handball twitter, the all-Irish surname handball team (Norway’s O’Sullivan is a member), handball TV coverage around the world and American Football.  American Football?

Tom O’Brannigan Twitter: Link
Team Handball News Twitter: Link

ehfTV: Link

Tom will be back behind the mic when IFK Kristianstad hosts Rhein-Neckar Lowen in the EHF Champions League Match of the Week (MOTW) on Sunday, February 19th : Link

 

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Podcast:  Netherlands Women’s Handball: How their 10 Year Development Plan Has Vaulted them in to the World’s Elite

How has the Netherlands moved to the top of the pyramid in Women's Handball? By building a pyramid in the Netherlands first.

How has the Netherlands moved to the top of the pyramid in Women’s Handball? By building a pyramid in the Netherlands first.

It wasn’t too long ago that Netherlands Women’s Handball could diplomatically be described as mediocre.  Now thanks to their 5-1 record in preliminary and main round play they are in the semifinals of the European Championships.  Their 3rd consecutive semifinals in a major competition (2015 WC, 2016 Olympics)

How has this remarkable turnaround been accomplished?

To find out I spoke with Netherlands Handball Technical Director, Sjors Rottger and National Team player Lois Abbingh.  Rottger describes the 10 year plan that has been implemented to identify athletes at younger ages and then provide them with the training they need to eventually sign professional contracts by age 19 to 21.  Abbingh reflects on her time at the Handball Academy in Arnhem and how it prepared her for international play and a pro career.

The Netherlands takes on Denmark tomorrow (Friday, 16 December) at 1815 (CET), 1215 (U.S. East Coast) and the match can be seen live on ehftv.com.  The Gold and Bronze medal matches will be on Sunday, also on ehftv.

Netherlands Handball Vision: Link

Lois Abbingh Official Website: Link

 

If you would like to advertise on the Team Handball News Podcast contact John Ryan at john.ryan@teamhandballnews.com

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

Podcast:  Redbirds Rising: Coach Ross Miner talks Illinois St Handball

Illinois State Redbirds after winning the 2016 Buckeye Classic.  Coach Ross Miner is in the back row at the far right.

Illinois State Redbirds after winning the 2016 Buckeye Classic. Coach Ross Miner is in the back row at the far right.

The Illinois St Redbirds won the Ohio State Buckeye Classic Tournament last weekend, their first ever major tournament title.  Coach Ross Miner talks about the tourney, the Team Handball Nation website, his experience at the Aarhus Academy and how he got into coaching.

And, what’s a podcast without a little controversy so we try to answer a couple of questions:

  • Is Illinois St is poised to crack into the top 3 hegemony (West Point, Air Force, North Carolina) that has dominated collegiate handball for the last 20 years? (I try to get a little bulletin board material)
  • Should the weekend tournament format for competition should be scrapped in favor of league play?

Some related links to topics discussed
Podcast on the Aarhus Academy: Link
The college handball club graveyard: Link

Sponsor of this week’s podcast:  Team Handball Nation:  “Your U.S. based source for balls, handball shoes and socks”: Link

If you would like to advertise on the Team Handball News Podcast contact John Ryan at john.ryan@teamhandballnews.com

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

Podcast:  Craig Rot Talks Youth Development in the U.S.

USA and Alberta Youth Teams at recent XPS Network North American Cup. Coach Rot is on the far right.

USA and Alberta Youth Teams at recent XPS Network North American Cup. Coach Rot is on the far right.

For the past 7 years Craig Rot has been at the forefront of youth development in the U.S., first in Minnesota and now in the Chicago area.  In this wide ranging podcast we discuss his efforts to introduce handball in schools and his after school program which is starting to produce more technically sound players.  Players that are playing key roles on youth national teams that Rot has coached at the Partille Cup, IHF Challenge Tournaments and most recently a 3 game series vs Alberta.

And, what’s a podcast without a little controversy so we debate the following topics:

  • The pros/cons of focusing on lateral growth to expose the sport at a top level to as many athletes as possible vs more in depth training on a select group
  • The challenge of getting “elite” athletes to play handball vice a more established sport
  • The pros/cons of dual citizen athletes playing on USA youth teams

If you would like to advertise on the Team Handball News Podcast contact John Ryan at john.ryan@teamhandballnews.com

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

Podcast: A Discussion on Handball in California and Argentina

femebal

Femebal: The regional federation centered around Buenos Aires has been the developmental force behind Argentina’s rise in the handball world

Cal Heat’s Martin Bilello and I discuss the state of handball in California and why there’s only been 2 major clubs there for several years.  In this free flowing conversation Martin also explains how handball is organized in Argentina and what the U.S. might learn from successful development programs there.

Femebal Website: Link

 

Subscribe to the Team Handball News Podcast in iTunes: Link

Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

Need balls, socks or shoes?  Check out the sponsor of this Podcast:  Team Handball Nation

Podcast: High School Handball in the Bay Area

The Lycée Français de San Francisco and Sterne School exchange high fives after the first every High School Handball match in California. The Lycee de Francais won the historic affair 19-17.

The Lycée Français de San Francisco and the Sterne School exchange high fives after the first every High School Handball match in California. The Lycee de Francais won the historic affair 19-17.

It’s not every day that U.S. high schools compete against each other in handball.  Outside of a league in Montgomery County Maryland this is the only other league that I’m aware of.  To find out more, I interviewed Martin Bilello to discuss how Cal Heat has been developing youth Team Handball in the bay area and worked with 4 high schools to establish the new league.

Cal Heat Website article: Link

Youth League Website: Link

Need balls, socks or shoes?  Check out the sponsor of this Podcast:  Team Handball Nation

 

Flashback Friday: A look back at past USA Team Handball meetings and some optimism going forward

club-symposium

Yes, We’ve been here before… As USA Team Handball gears up for what has unintentionally become a quadrennial meeting to discuss the state of handball in the U.S. here’s a bit of history regarding the past two meetings. And, a bit of sunshine optimism going forward.

USA Team Handball is holding a Club Symposium next weekend “to share the vision and programs being planned and for clubs to know that they are the pillars of the organization and your input is most valued in this planning process.”

Meetings similar to this were held in 2008 and 2012.  In June 2008, Dieter Esch hosted a Team Handball Summit meeting in St Louis which was essentially an open forum opportunity to educate him and newly hired General Manager, Steve Pastorino on issues related to handball in the U.S.  I attended and here’s my summary of that meeting: Link

The meeting was a positive sharing of information and I was optimistic about the future.  Alas, 3.5 years later both Esch and Pastorino were gone: Link

Jeff Utz replaced Dieter Esch as Board President and Dave Gascon took the reins as the interim General Manager. Working with the USOC they held a Strategic Planning Meeting in April 2012.  This meeting included a professional facilitator and was designed to be the kick off for the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for the organization.  There was lots of good discussion at the meeting and in my podcast interview Jeff Utz discussed the major focus areas for follow on work: Financial Stability, “Pipeline” Athlete Development, Promotion/Marketing and Governance/Management Structure. (This podcast interview is available for download  at the top of this post) These areas were later expanded to the following committees:  Link

Again, I was optimistic about the future of the sport in this country as USA Team Handball was finally beginning to think strategically about its future.  But, as I’ve pointed out before this effort never continued.  The committees were not empowered to do anything and were simply told to submit their brainstorming ideas to the Board of Directors.  In 2013, most of the committees were quietly removed from the federation website as if the strategic planning meeting had never occurred.  (For some reason, promotion/marketing and fundraising are still identified even though the individuals listed haven’t been involved with the sport for a couple of years.) For sure, no strategic plan was ever written.  My overall thoughts are summed up here: Link

And, so now we come to 2016 with a new meeting and new opportunities to move the sport forward in this country.  I know I come off as a real pessimist sometimes.  (Hey, if you attended both of those previous meetings and saw the outcome you likely would be too.)

But, it’s time yet again for a little optimism.  USA Team Handball’s new leadership, Board President, Dr Harvey Schiller and CEO, Mike Cavanaugh have now had a few years to take stock of the current state of affairs.  The Olympics have recently provided some added buzz to the sport.  There’s a solid possibility of a 2024 Olympics in L.A.  And, if not 2024, then surely 2028 is in the cards.  Some solid youth programs have been established in Chicago and other locales. Our Men’s Beach Handball team won a Pan American Championship and played in a World Championship.  Maybe there’s even a good TV deal on the horizon.  All these developments and possibilities could lead to what I think is an inevitable tipping point for handball in this country.  A tipping point by which the sport moves from quadrennial, marginal niche sport to a solid niche sport with a significant fan and player base.

I hope to be a part of the planning that speeds up the timetable for that inevitable tipping point.  Yes, time for a little optimism.

Podcast (Throw Back Thursday):  August 2012 Interview with 1972 Olympians

72 Team Handball Olympians (From left to right: Vinny Dicalogero, Rick Abrahamson, Dennis Berkholtz, Jim Rogers and Joel Voelkert

72 Team Handball Olympians (From left to right: Vinny Dicalogero, Rick Abrahamson, Dennis Berkholtz, Jim Rogers and Joel Voelkert

While I’m on the topic of “Glory Days” there’s not better way to continue the discussion then a re-listen of my interview with members of the 1972 Men’s Olympic Handball squad.  Back in 2012 the team had gathered in Las Vegas for their 40 year reunion.  I sat down with Vinny Dicalogero, Rick Abrahamson, Dennis Berkholtz, Jim Rogers and Joel Voelkert and we discussed how the team was formed, how they prepared for the games, their qualification tournament in front of a packed house in Elkhart, Indiana, their experiences in Munich and their thoughts about what had happened with Team Handball in the U.S. the past 40 years.

As many of you know, since this interview Dennis Berkholtz has re-engaged with the sport as the new chair of USA Beach Handball.

1972 Results

Group Play (0-3)
USA vs. Hungary 15:28 (8:16)
USA vs. Yugoslavia  15:25 (9:11)
USA vs. Japan 16:20 (9:9)

Placement 13-16th place
Semi: USA vs. Spain 22:20 (8:11)
Final: USA vs. Denmark 18:19 (6:12)

Overall Placement: 14th out of 16 teams

Podcast: Interview with USA Beach Handball’s Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Team USA’s Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Ebiye Udo-Udoma is a member of Team USA’s Beach Handball side.  With just a few month’s training the U.S. Men were able to win a Pan American Beach Handball title and qualify for the World Championships this past summer.

The interview covers Ebiye’s journey from regular handball to the beach version and how the U.S. team was able to quickly put together a competitive “sandlot” team with a little help from Brazil.  Later we discuss some of the advantages the beach game has over the court game and vice versa.  We close with a discussion of the future and the sports potential inclusion in the Olympics.

USA Beach Team Handball Facebook Page: Link

Video: Ebiye’s viral 720 degree handball shot and highlights from the Pan American Championship: Link

Podcast (Throw Back Thursday): April 2006 Interview with Canada’s Alexis Bertrand

Team Canada's Alexis Bertrand

Team Canada’s Alexis Bertrand

Back in 2006, while I was still living in France, I interviewed Canadian handball player, Alexis Bertrand, who was then playing for OC Cesson in the 2nd Division.  Alexis and I discussed what it was like for him to play in France and we also discussed the Pan American Handball Team Handball Federation (PATHF) to not let Canada participate in that summer’s 2006 Pan American Championship.  Canada had actually secured the 3rd spot at the 2004 championship and participated in the 2005 World Championships, only to be denied an opportunity to qualify for 2007.

In the years following my interview, Alexis continued to play in France, even playing one season in the Ligue Nationale du Handball (LNH), France’s top professional league.  Following the 2015 PANAM Games, Alexis retired from international play and he is now the head coach of the Canadian Sr Men’s team.

Alexis Bertand Career in France

2003-04 AS Monaco (N2)
2004-05 Ivry (N1)
2005-06 OC Cesson (D2)
2006-07 OC Cesson (D2)
2007-08 US Saintes (D2)
2008-09 OC Cesson (D2)
2009-10 OC Cesson (LNH-D1)
2010-11 Chartres-Mainvilliers (N1)

Canada PANAM Games Web Bio: Link

Wikipedia Entry (French): Link

Podcast: Men’s Olympic Quarterfinals Preview

John Ryan and Christer Ahl review the final results of Men’s Group Play and preview the upcoming quarterfinals.  Also, a mea culpa or two about the women’s quarterfinals this morning.

Updated odds to win gold (from bet365.com)

France 11-10
Denmark 11-2
Germany 11-2
Croatia 7-1
Slovenia 9-1
Qatar 16-1
Poland 17-1
Brazil 20-1

Subscribe in iTunes: Link