The success of goal shooting in handball depends mostly on accuracy and throwing velocity. Several researchers have investigated the relationship between ball velocity and accuracy, but few investigations have included opposition, and there is no evidence on how opposition affects throwing accuracy. The present study analysed differences in throwing accuracy according to the opposition in handball players. Forty-three elite (E) and amateur (A) handball players (24±3 years; 187±3 cm; 91.8±9.1 kg) were assessed in two throwing tests: without (T1) and with opposition (T2). The instructions were: throw the ball at the highest possible speed, using the technique appropriate in handball, with three steps before throwing, from behind the free-throw line, at 9 m from the goal. The players were instructed to make precise shots following the goalkeeper intervention difficulty criterion1 2: throws had to target the corner of the goal. The goalkeeper (T2) was situated on the goal line. An observer assessed the impact location of the ball in the goal or goalkeeper using a slow motion camera. Each release was scored according to its precision: 0 (minimum) to 5 (maximum accuracy). E players (T1=4.46±0.66, T2=4.31±0.75) achieved better precision values than As (T1=3.63±1.09, T2=3.37±1.18) in T1 (p=0.016, t=2.519, df=41) and T2 (p<0.01, t=2.809, df=41). The analysis of mean differences showed that accuracy was lower with than without opposition (T1-T2=0.651±0.376; p<0.01; t=3.267; gl=42). The greatest difference between T1 and T2 was found in the A group (T1-T2=0.867±1.5, p<0.01, t=3.159, df=29) while in the E group there was no significant effect (T1-T2=0.154, p=0.165; t=1.477, df=12). The competitive level determines throwing accuracy, with and without opposition. The opposition has a negative effect on throwing accuracy, especially in A players.
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