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Original scientific paper

Are taller handball goalkeepers better? Certain characteristics and abilities of Slovenian male athletes

Igor Justin orcid id ; Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dinko Vuleta ; Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Primož Pori ; Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tanja Kajtna ; Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Maja Pori ; Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Although previous studies have found that body height and body mass are relevant for the selection of handball goalkeepers, there is still a dilemma whether taller goalkeepers actually have any advantage over
the shorter goalkeepers in certain performance characteristics. Therefore the purpose of this study was to evaluate the chosen anthropometric characteristics and psycho-motor abilities of Slovenian handball goalkeepers with a particular emphasis on the group of taller goalkeepers. Goalkeepers were classified into two groups: a group of taller goalkeepers (TG˃185 cm, n=24) and a group of shorter goalkeepers (SG≤185 cm, n=18). Different tests were used to assess hip flexibility, agility, explosive arm and leg strength and basic
sensory functions. Differences in the selected variables between the groups were tested with independent samples t-test. Correlations between the variables were established using Pearson’s correlation coefficient statistic. The level of significance was set at p<.05. The taller goalkeepers generated more energy (p≤.05) in squat jump and countermovement jump performance than the shorter goalkeepers. The two groups of goalkeepers did not differ significantly either in body mass or in body mass index (BMI). The established correlations for the whole sample of goalkeepers revealed that body height had a negative influence only on the average simple reaction time. Likewise, body mass and BMI had a negative influence on the scores in the explosive leg strength tests. The results confirmed the opinion of handball experts that taller goalkeepers should be preferred in the process of selecting athletes for goalkeeping in handball. However, the values of
body mass should specifically be considered, as well as certain motor and perceptual abilities.


physical fitness, biomechanics, tall athletes, sensory functions, energy expenditure, body size

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