Match preparation

For coaches, finding the best way to prepare a match is a brain-busting. We spend long hours thinking about what needs to be done to win the next match. With this in mind, I intend to tell you about my work method at Naturhouse La Rioja. I will not go into physical issues, just into the work method of a Handball match preparation. 

Let’s suppose that we’re in a standard week, with only a match at the weekend.

Weekly planning

My work starts on sunday, watching the match we played the day before. Needless to say the enthusiastic spirit we watch the game with, depends on having winning or losing that match. After we watch it, I cut the video highlighting just the game sequences that need to be improved and the ones that allow to enhance positive aspects.  I must admit that I focus much more on those to be corrected. 

On monday beside the training session, there´s a meeting so called “video corrections”. This meeting takes place in the video room with all the players. The purpose is to show them the video highlights created on sunday in order to explain the strength and weaknesses of the previous match.

Mondays, tuesdays and also wednesdays are for creating video highlights of the opponent, between 4 to 5 matches, to study their attack, defense, advantages and disadvantages, individual aspects, and so on.

This is the hardest part of the week for me, it is very time consuming and gives me more headaches. The training moments are more bearable because it “only” implies the transmission of what has been worked and thought in all the previous work.

The training sessions from monday to wednesday are more focused on the physical level and on the previous match weaknesses corrections, and also on reviewing the fundamental concepts of our game model.

Opponent analysis

On wednesdays, thursdays and fridays, group video sessions take place, so the team can watch the opponent video highlights, in order to explain them how to attack and defend at the upcoming match. 

All this work takes shape after in a practical way in the trainings that are carried out after the video in which they train all the tactical aspects explained in the visioning, that is to say, how their game is defended, how their defense is attacked and so on.

All this preparation is reflected in a practical way in the next training sessions. Every tactical aspect is practiced – how the opponent defends, how their defense is attacked and so on.

The viewing of ours and opponents matches is a key part of match preparation, in my opinion. It is not the same to be told or to see for yourself.  I must recognized that players don’t appreciate watching the videos, in fact it’s what they like the least, but they’re also aware that the assimilation of this information in the face of a game can give you an extra goal or allow you to avoid one. 

The Match

This is just helpful. Handball is not a precise science and the movements of each player are trends, not accuracies. Hence the beauty of Handball. The coach offers patterns and solutions that must then be interpreted by the players, the leading figures that make decisions on the field. We dedicate many hours to help them, but they are the ones who win matches with their attitude, knowledge and quality.

For me the first days of the week are the hardest, the last somewhat less intense, although it´s when more pressure, responsibility and stress is accumulated because the next match is getting closer. 

As one coach said, the match is the player´s work. Our work is already done and we can only guide them.