Commentaries on Handball in the U.S.

Here’s some links to commentaries and essays

Charting A Way Forward for USA Team Handball (Reboot): This series takes a critical look at different strategies USA Team Handball might consider implementing to improve grass roots development and National Team Performance.  (2019 – Ongoing) 

Introduction: Link

What We Have

  • Demographics (Men)
    • American Citizen Male Athletes (Overview): Link
    • USA Men’s Elite Player Pool (Overview): Link
    • USA Men’s National Team (Part 1: A Closer Look by Position- GK and CR): Link
    • USA Men’s National Team (Part 2: A Closer Look by Position- BC and RW/LW): Link
  • Demographics (Women)
    • American Citizen Female Athletes (Overview): Link
      USA Women’s Elite Player Pool (Overview): Link
  • USA Club Programs
    • Part 1: Understanding the USA Club Structure and At-Large Men’s Clubs: Link
    • Part 2: Collegiate Men’s Clubs: Our Most American Competition with Opportunities for Growth: Link
    • Part 3: USA Women At-Large and Collegiate Clubs: Link
    • Part 4: Why there are so Few Clubs and Why the Rosters Mostly Consist of Expats: Link
  • Finances
    • Part 1: USA Team Handball Revenue (Grants, Contributions and Sponsorships): Link
    • Part 2: USA Team Handball Revenue (Membership and the Importance of Tracking that Data): Link

What We Want

  • Part 1: A review of the USA Team Handball Strategic Plan and National Team Targets: Link
  • Part 2: A review of USA Collegiate Development Targets: Link
  • Part 3: A review of Fundraising Targets: Link
  • Part 4: A review of Marketing Targets: Link
  • Part 5: A review of the “Big, Hairy, Audacious Project: Link

How We Get There… Or More Accurately, Can We Get There

  • Part 1: The Project Management Triangle: Link
  • Part 2: National Team Targets: Link

Expatica Americana: In recent years, Americans that first learned to play handball in another country have played an ever increasing role with U.S. national teams.  This series takes a closer look at what can be expected from this key cohort. (Aug-Sep 2019)

  • Part 1:  What is a handball American Expat and Philosophically, What is an American?:  Link
  • Part 2:  Understanding this 51st state and its handball demographics: Link
  • Part 3: Can a small, but determined handball nation be competitive against larger nations? Can they win a title?: Link

Charting A Way Forward for USA Team Handball (Original):  This series identifies potential strategies USA Team Handball might consider implementing to improve development and National Team performance (2014 – 2017)

Introduction: Link

Options for Consideration

1) Modify the National Team Residency Programs to focus strictly on player development: Link
2) Increase the emphasis and support to National Team recruiting: Link
3) Develop or participate in a European based residency program to provide athletes more competition: Link
4) Upgrade College Team Handball: Following the rugby club model to nationwide participation (Part 1; Part 2)
5) Upgrade College Team Handball: Seeking NCAA status on the heels of the O’Bannon Ruling
6) The “Title IX Field Hockey Strategy”: Focus 90% of USA Team Handball’s resources on Women’s Programs: Part 1 Part 2
7) The “Iceland Strategy”: Focus a large percentage of USA Team Handball’s resources on one geographical location (Part 1; Part 2
8) The “Alberta Strategy”: Fully assess Alberta’s successful development program and fund a U.S. version in one region of the U.S.: Link
9) Youth and Junior Teams Emphasis: Fund U.S. participation for up and coming athletes first: Link
10) Funding direct to clubs: Reward high performing club programs with real and tangible financial support
11) High School Team Handball: Following in Lacrosse and Flag Football’s footsteps
12) True Youth Movement: Follow the AYSO soccer model to develop a massive player and fan base at even younger ages
13) U.S. Olympic Handball Festivals: Bridging the gap between club and national teams
14) The JUCO Transfer Strategy: Proactively Identify and recruit Junior College athletes: Link

Youth National Handball Teams: A Waste of Time? (March 2017)

  • Part 1: The Perilous Problem of Projecting Future Talent: Link
  • Part 2: Looking at “Development” from a Sr Team Planning Prospective: Link

Why a Residency Program at Auburn is the Best Way Forward for USA Team Handball… and Why Those Reasons Fall Way Short in Justification”:  A critical review of the most common short answer reasons that have been provided as justification for the Residency Program  (March 2016 – Ongoing)

Introduction:  Link

  1. Auburn is providing a great financial deal that the Federation would be crazy to turn down or leave.
    • Really? How Much “Value” is there really in Value In Kind (VIK) Funding?:  Link
  2. The U.S. had its greatest success with the Residency Programs of the 80s and 90s and therefore a Residency Program is obviously what’s needed today.
    • Part 1: True Statement, but How Glorious were our Glory Days?: Link
    • Part 2: True Statement, but Perhaps Some Key Decision Makers Don’t Fully Appreciate the Professional Aspects of Today’s Handball: Link
    • Part 3: True Statement, but that success occurred when handball was only “somewhat professionalized”: Link
  3. A Residency Program is needed because it provides a great platform to build around for sponsorship and grass roots development.

Is an Austere Residency Program Better than No Program?: The National Team Residency Programs at Auburn were run on a shoe string budget that required athletes to often pay their own way to competitions.  This series reviewed some of the problems with that setup. (May 2015)

  • Part 1: Why Can’t USA Team Handball Find $25K to Attend a World Championship Qualifier? Link
  • Part 2: Sending Mixed Messages to Athletes and Rumblings of Discontent: Link
  • Part 3: The Moral Obligation to not Short Change Athletes and the Problems Inherent with Self-Funding: Link

Grass Roots Vs. National Team Focus:  Commentary and analysis regarding this long standing debate on how best to develop Team Handball in the U.S. (May – July 2014)

Part 1: Recent National Team Losses Should Raise Doubts on National Team Focus: Link
Part 2: Aging Expats and Veterans Vs. Up and Coming Home Grown Talent: Link
Part 3: What’s the Right Level of National Team Support: Link
Part 4: Both Can be Done, but there are No Shortcuts: Link

Moneyball Handball:  Commentary and analysis regarding how USA Team Handball should apply “Money Ball” like tactics to identify and recruit athletes for its National Teams  (November  – December 2013)

Part 1: Broad Categories for Athlete Identification: Link
Part 2: Pushing the Outside of the Recruiting Envelope: Link
Part 3: USA Team Handball Recruiting (Past, Present and Future): Time for a Change in Mindset: Link

American Football and Team Handball: Commentary and Analysis regarding what can be learned from American Football  (October – November 2013)

Part 1: Proof that an alien game can take root in unlikely places: Link
Part 2: The historical pipeline and positions to target: Link

The Auburn Residency Program Decision: In August 2013 USA Team Handball entered into an agreement with Auburn University to establish a Residency Program.  These commentaries highlight why I felf this was a decision that could and should have waited. (August 2013)

Auburn Residency Programs: A great day for USA Team Handball? Maybe, but I’ve got a few questions: Link
Auburn Residency Programs: Some answers from CEO Matt Van Houten: Link
A Big Decision that Can and Should Wait for a Board of Directors: Link

Residency Programs (Right Strategy?/Right Time to Start):  Commentary on USA Team Handball’s plans to start residency programs and hire full time national team coaches (February-May 2013)

Part 1: Residency Programs: The Right Strategy?:  Link
Part 2: Residency Programs: Right time to start? (Prospects for 2016):  Link
Part 3: Residency Programs: Right time to start? (Financial Considerations):  Link
Part 4: Residency Programs: Right time to start? (Planning Considerations):  Link
Part 5: Head Coaches (Does USA Team Handball need full time coaches? And, if it does, did they hire the right ones?):  Link
Part 6: Federation planning: Right idea, flawed execution; time to right the ship:  Link

Why weren’t the U.S. National Teams at the London Olympics?:  This analysis tried to sum up point by point the reasons why U.S. National Teams have historically not been very successful. (July – December 2012)

Part 1: The simple analysis:  Link
Part 2: Where do you find and/or how do you develop great Team Handball players?:  Link
Part 3: A lack of funding:  Link
Part 4: A lack of funding: Where are the sponsors and donors?:  Link
Part 5: A lack of awareness and marketing: One in a million? The 312 real fans of Team Handball in the U.S.:  Link
Part 6: A lack of awareness and marketing: The Catch 22 TV paradox:  Link
Part 7: A lack of awareness and marketing: The historic lack of European support:  Link
Part 8: A lack of awareness and marketing: Europe sees the light, but can’t quite figure out how to properly invade the U.S. market:  Link

Air Force Basketball: Lessons for USA Team Handball:  Some lessons for USA Team Handball with a connection to the NCAA basketball program at the Air Force Academy (January – February 2012)

Part 1: Any Program Can Rise from the Ashes: Link
Part 2: Blue Chip Athletes from other Div 1 Sports are harder to come by nowadays: Link

USA Team Handball National Teams: Are There Too Many Guys with Short Haircuts and Accents? (May 2011)

  • Part 1: Military Athletes: Link
  • Part 2: Dual Citizenship Athletes: Link

Promoting Team Handball in the U.S.:  This commentary compared Rugby’s successful marketing and how USA Team Handball might adopt some of their strategies (February-March 2011)

Part 1: Las Vegas Rugby 7s Tournament: Undoubtedly, a model to follow:  Link
Part 2: How is Rugby getting promotion done right?:  Link

A Framework for Creating U.S. National Team Success:  Commentary addressing problems with the traditional residency program model, grass roots development and a proposed alternative. (July-August 2009)

Part 1: Introduction:  Link
Part 2: Grass Roots Programs:  Link
Part 3: National Developmental Teams:  Link

What’s Wrong with your Analogy?:  Short commentary on some of the problems with the ususal suggestions regarding which sport development model USA Team Handball should copy (April 2006):  Link