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Qualitative analysis (3)

Changes in pace and rhythm

An increasingly important tactical element in today’s positional attack as well as in fast play is the systematic variation of changes in pace and rhythm aimed to surprise the opponents and ultimately achieve or make use of a positional advantage.

1. Tactically systematic change of pace and rhythm during positional attacks

The success of tactical attacking means during positional attacks is based on good coordination between the attackers involved. The quality of their speed of action combined with perfect timing is the basis for the highest possible effectiveness.

Today, the success of tactical cooperation during positional attacks is based on the following tactical key points:

  • Perfect techniques varied depending on the situation (passing and throwing techniques, variations of deep passes to the line player, appropriate feints)
  • Perfectly timed runs and passes by the players involved
  • Precisely timed change of pace and rhythm

Precise timing when changing pace and rhythm is the decisive key for success in modern handball.

The following video examples illustrate the use of tactically systematic changes in pace and rhythm in different situations during positional attacks:

  • Change of pace as part of group or team tactical attacking actions
  • Change of pace from a build-up phase with explosive start of a tactical attacking action
  • Change of pace from a (shorter) second build-up phase (after an unsuccessful attack)
  • Change of pace as tactical element of surprise at the beginning of a build-up phase

The {8c8ff7fa-cc69-4370-a83b-f360d30ecf8d,eight match scenes in video 12} illustrate these tactical options.

 

2. Tactically systematic change in pace and rhythm during counter-attacks or the beginning of build-up phases

In recent years, tactically systematic changes in pace and rhythm have become more and more important during counter-attacks. The aim of systematically varying the pace of play is to achieve an immediate advantage over the defence in terms of space and time. In addition, the defence is often still retreating and unable to immediately defend actively. This is the moment in which a well-organised attack can use special surprising attacking tactics including changes of pace.

The {23bc8ba5-05fa-4458-a901-78f415044ef3,five match scenes in video 13} illustrate the different options.

 

3. Outnumbering the opponents: quick attacks with few passes before finishing

In general, the attacking play has changed in recent years. Due to constantly developing athletic prerequisites of the players as well as today’s very high position-specific, individual playing abilities (with a comprehensive repertoire of throwing and passing variations or feints), tactical attacking concepts are also changing: In the past, positional attacks were initially prepared with a long build-up phase and a large number of passes. Typically, there used to be long, dynamic forward movements towards the defence, especially by the back-court players. Today, positional attacks sometimes look completely different, especially during six-against five attacks where the structure has changed significantly.

World champions Denmark are an excellent example: in general, Denmark attacked with less effort than many other teams. The Danish back-court players did not need longer run-ups and forward moves in positional attack. They are able to act closer to the defence, especially when outnumbering the opponents, and are explosive and dangerous from short moves. Here, their repertoire of quick straight and jump shot variations plays an important role.

Today, however, tactically systematic and explosive changes in pace and rhythm are also crucial. From a tactical point of view, being able to change pace has become more important than just being fast.

{34dd5578-1db0-4f9e-9683-07b528500e71,Video 14} illustrates how dangerous attacks may sometimes be started from a standing position and with only few actions before finishing.