2nd August 2019

Feedback from the handball conference

As part of the programme at the Handball Conference which took place on 22nd June 2019, we ran a group session to enable members to meet with staff and directors to discuss topics that they felt were important to them.  

Flipcharts were placed around the venue to enable members to post notes of key points and queries, throughout the day, that they wanted to cover in the session across the main areas of our work, including; Partnerships, Competitions, Coaching & Workforce, Performance and Administration.  

These formed the basis of the table discussions with key members of staff seated at tables for their respective work areas to answer questions from members and run through the topics posted throughout the day. Directors also joined the discussions to listen in to the points raised.  

The following pages outline the points raised and the detail of how we intend to try and address them if possible.  


You stated:  “There’s a difficulty in balancing demand for the sport with the coaching capacity available within Handball.”  

Our response: “We have developed a project that we hope will start to support this issue alongside supporting the development of the next generation of young coaches.” This has already been released  

You stated:  “EHA needs to establish links with professional coaching companies.”  

Our response: “We are developing a partnership with ‘Premier Sport’, a national coaching company who work in over 25% of primary schools in England. This is however taking some time to develop, but we are working on it! The Regional Partnerships team is also working with more locally based coaching companies to support and facilitate the upskilling of their workforce to be able to deliver handball.”  

You stated:  “We’re interested in receiving more information about the Nottingham Uni community outreach programme highlighted during the annual awards presentation.”  

Our response:  “We will develop a case study on this project and send out to clubs by the end of the year.  

You stated:  “It would be great to hear about good development practice – maybe through a biannual newsletter sharing projects from clubs.”  

Our response:  “We will develop a newsletter for clubs showcasing the good work and case studies clubs are working on. First one to be released by the beginning of the season  

You stated:  “We would like to see if EHA has the potential to seek sponsors to support local delivery work that would help to increase capacity.”  

Our response:  “Unfortunately, the EHA does not have the capacity or resources to help individual clubs seek sponsorship.  Guidance will be provided as to how clubs should look to seek local investment and we are always happy to support any local funding bids with letters of endorsement.”  


You stated:  “The EHA needs to improve the fixture change request form and process to make it easier for clubs to rearrange matches.”  

Our response:  “The form has been updated and simplified for the 2019.20 season and we will review at the end of the season.”  

You stated:   “The EHA needs to look at the potential to remove the need for ITCs by establishing a different league structure.”  

Our response:  “The rules governing the need for ITCs are put in place by the IHF and EHF.  We have enquired on numerous occasions about the possibility of removing the need for ITC in any league below the Premier League.  However, we have been told by the EHF that all players, regardless of the league or level in which they play, must have an ITC if they have previously played abroad or were born overseas.  This is specifically for players taking part in our official competition structure, even down to regional leagues. We are looking to run recreational (Rec-it) tournaments that will be played on a central venue, friendly basis to provide opportunities for people to play handball on a regular basis and players will not require ITCs to play in these events.”  

You stated:  “There is the potential for clubs to act as hosts for junior competitions in order to increase capacity to support the delivery of events.”  

Our response:  “We will ask clubs and seek to work with clubs in each region to host competitions where possible.  These discussions will take place from August through to the start of the season.”   

You stated:  “The EHA needs to investigate ways of linking experienced referees with junior referees at youth tournaments.”  

Our response:  “We are implementing Referee developers to each region who can support this area and will take on board the feedback from across the season.”  

You stated:  “The EHA needs to identify ways to reduce the number of forfeits in the leagues.”  

Our response:  “This is the first year in a while there have been a high number of forfeits in the PHL across the male and female leagues. There have been a similar number of forfeits in the regional leagues. We will monitor the situation for another season to assess if a change in teams results in an improvement in the PHL. For the regional league, we will consider a change to Head to Head result to reduce the impact of forfeits on league standings.”  

You stated:  “There needs to be a rethink of the proposed new league structure that takes in to account the differences between the Women’s and Men’s game.”

Our response:  “We will collate the feedback and address accordingly following the procedure outlined in at the beginning of the process.  This will be sent out to clubs for further consultation over the first couple of months of the new season.”   


You stated:  “There is an opportunity for greater involvement of clubs to support delivery of performance programme.”  

Our response:  “England Handball staff are responsible for the delivery of Performance Pathway activity in their designated regions.  Club support is welcome and we have good examples of clubs offering facilities at discounted rates. Our objective is to 'include' clubs more in our activities however a clear distinction must be made of roles and responsibilities of clubs when support is offered.''  

You stated:  “There needs to be an improvement in communication between Regional Academies and clubs who provide players.”  

Our response:  “It is our intention to include club coaches in player feedback discussions & goal setting. This presents a logistical challenge, with our coaches not able to visit every club. We have highlighted 3 points in the year when feedback takes place at our RA sessions, club coaches should be encouraged by the regional manager to attend. If they cannot attend, the feedback should be shared electronically''.  

You stated:  “There is a need for a contingency process for providing cover for coaches when they are unable to attend regional academy sessions.”  

Our response:  “This is already in place. Each region has 2 x performance coaches and a manager. If one of the coaches is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, the other performance coach can cover the session. The sessions follow a curriculum so the coaches know what they are delivering and on what dates. There has been a suggestion of club coaches supporting. The issues here are; 1) DBS checks, 2) Safeguarding, 3) Quality Assurance e.g. is the coach at the expected level for performance environment, and 4) Availability - if a Performance Coach gives short notice due to an unforeseen incident, would club coaches be readily available to attend? We feel that our solution of having performance coaches, vetted and available is enough of a contingency''.  

You stated:  “There needs to be more presence from performance pathway staff at league events and games to assist with recruitment.”  

Our response:  “This was aimed at EHA in general but in terms of performance we appreciate some Talent ID opportunities may be missed. Given that most of our coaches are connected to clubs, they are attending many games already however it would be inappropriate for them to wear EHA branded clothing when coaching their club. Given our small workforce is already committed to many Handball competitions, it is unlikely we will be able to action this. A potential solution for Talent ID is creating a 'scouting network'. These scouts would not necessarily be coaches/employees but may be tasked with attending game to identify talent. This is something for us to consider for the future.''  

Coaching & Workforce  

You stated:  “There is a need for more L1 and L2 courses to be organised.”  

Our response:  “We will continue to plan L1 courses and advertise these through social media and the website. We are currently looking at the L2 qualification and redeveloping it so it is more accessible.”  

You stated:  “The EHA needs to investigate the opportunity for developing a L3 coaching course.”  

Our response:  “We will look to take this idea in future meetings and discussions””  

You stated:  “The EHA should consider franchising courses to clubs – where schools want clubs to help with development but do not want to approach the EHA.”  

Our response:  “We will look to take this idea into future meetings and discussions”  

You stated:  “The EHA needs to think about how it advertises its courses – sending to a single club email address does not work.”  

Our response:  “We currently make use of social media and our website to promote our courses, but appreciate that this does not always reach the right person.  We are currently investigating the options for moving to individual registrations that will provide us with contact information for all members.  This will provide us with the ability to send targeted information, where individuals have consented to that request.  

You stated:  “The EHA needs to provide better access to the table officials course for volunteers.”  

Our response:  “As part of the registration benefits for 2019/20, we have provided five free downloads of the table officials course for each club.  This will hopefully enable clubs to get a group of volunteers qualified to help out at matches.  We are also putting in place discounts for additional purchases of downloads to help make the course as cost effective for clubs as possible.        

Additional comments about the conference As well as the discussion groups, a feedback form was produced for the event so that attendees could provide their thoughts on the organisation and the sessions they attended.  This was provided in two formats – hard copy and a QR code to access the form online.  

Some of the key points raised were;

  • That people were happy to see the wider handball community together at one event.
  • From a club development point of view, people would like more time to discuss handball related issues or generic club development themes.
  • People would like a handball coaching workshop/masterclass delivered
  • Tutors enjoyed the day, would like longer and would like a more practical based day
  • Referees enjoyed the day and input from Allan Stokes, but would like more interaction with the clubs, more time to discuss game management and rule changes and more practical elements in an appropriate hall.

We’re already working on the content and format of next year’s conference so please drop a line to Stacey Andrews, our National Partnerships Manager, via stacey.andrews@englandhandball.com with any ideas that you might have on the type of sessions you would like to attend.

Posted in Education, Coaching, Clubs