Danish Handball shares experiences with small Handball Nations

The Danish Handball Association, DHF, hosts a seminar for small handball nations in connection with EURO 2014.

‘We have a goal’ was the slogan of the winning bid for the Men’s EHF European Championship from Denmark in September 2010. One of the proposals in the campaign was that Denmark would invite the small handball nations to a seminar in Denmark during the event. Denmark offered a seminar where Denmark could present the Danish model for development and recruiting for the sport of handball.

The seminar as well as the bidding campaign is supported by Sport Event Denmark. The seminar consists of two different tracks: One for coaches and one for leaders. Søren Simonsen who is Head of Development in The Danish Handball Association says that the seminar has been fruitful both ways:

“It is exciting to hear about the conditions for the participants in regards to promoting handball. In Denmark we have maybe become a little spoilt both in regards to the many volunteers and in regards to the major general interest and support for handball in Denmark,” says Søren Simonsen.

“And we can also learn from them. They see new possibilities within the sport. And they confirm our impression of being privileged with a fantastic and supportive frame,” says Søren Simonsen on his way out of a local handball venue where the seminar visited 80 school children in high speed at the DHF handball caravan.

20 handball players in the country

From 80 young handball players in the local venue to 20 handball players in total in an entire nation. Anke Scherer is the participant from Liechtenstein. She is the leader in the only club in the country, HC Unterland, which has 60 members out of which only 20 are active players.

“Football and volleyball dominate in Lichtenstein. The biggest challenge is to raise the awareness of handball in Lichtenstein. And we need volunteers,” says Anke Scherer from a country which had many more handball players 20 years ago. “We forgot to recruit back then and the numbers have gone down ever since. We fight hard to recruit new members. And we can really use Street Handball where we could recruit from schools and festivals. Street handball is perfect because you can play it everywhere as long as you have a ball.”

Learning from experts

Participant Risto Lepp from Estonia is a leader of a club with 150 youth players. On a national level there are around 3000 players in around 20 clubs. Risto Lepp is thrilled with the opportunity to have an introduction to the Danish model.

”It’s fantastic to come here and get inspired from the best within the development of handball. We want to build up a system using the knowledge from the best handball country. There is not much support with only one full time in the federation so we need volunteers to build up handball,” says Risto Lepp who is in line with his colleague from Lichtenstein when discussing the lack of manpower to drive a focus on handball.