ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF THE GAME
The first references to Beach Handball were found in the Nineteen Eighties (8Os). The firs test and studies began, curiously, in the Netherlands and Italy. And I say curiously because in both countries handball is not a very popular sport. According to the data of COBH (Beach Handball Organising Committee), Beach Handball came up as a sport activity in 1992 thanks to the initiative of FIGH (Italian Handball Federation).
It spread throughout Italy quite quickly, and it was there that the first competition rules were set down. In Ponza and Bentotene islands, in July and August of 1992, the 1st Ponziane Island International Championship took place (Fernández, et.al.1999).
In Spain we find three geographical references where the practice of this sport began, somewhat in an anarchic, then gradually unifying its Rules and approaches: Oleiros (A Coruña), Lanzarote Island and Cádiz.
In 1993 the COBH organised the 1st International Beach Handball Championship; this meant a radical change since at that moment its development in all over Europe commenced (Spain, France and Portugal were the first references). This is the reason why this essay wants to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the “age of majority” of Beach Handball.
In 1994 the first International Tournaments were celebrated in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).This event meant a new step, in this case definitive, for the knowledge and development of this sport discipline in all over the world.
At that moment the main difficulty was the lack of uniformity about the Rules of Game. A good example can be found in the fact that the Rules of the Italian Federation in 1992, the Portuguese Federation in 1993 and the Spanish Federation in 1997 had important differences. The Federations gradually agreed on their criteria and, as a result, the European Handball Federation published the Rules for all the Tournaments and Competitions in 2002.
In my opinion, this meant, a new beginning because as it is clear that every game, sport or game requires unified criteria in its rules in order to be widely played. From now on, the different “schools”, countries or clubs will develop its tactics and strategies in different ways. It is well-known that other sport disciplines have had neither national nor international consolidation because its rules have been different in different places. Fortunately, it is not our case.
TACTICS AND PLAYING SYSTEMSWhen talking about tactical concepts directly related to Beach Handball, since I became interested in this game, it has always caught my attention the obsession of all teams to make the best use of the possibilities that rules offer. The first and clearest case of this is the practically universal strategy to change the goalkeeper in defensive actions or offensive actions. It is obvious that the double value of his goals makes everybody try to put their best player in the best offensive conditions but, as well, also in position as goalkeeper. And this has been very important for the success of the game. I mean the constant situations of 4 attack players against 3 defensive players. It is so important that, should this not be the case, it would be very difficult to score a goal in 3 against 3 situations and the spectacularity of the game would be affected.
(Jose Julio Espina Agulló)