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Coach Feedback : Nicolas Fredin  -  DCH (Ireland)

DCH players
Credit : DCH

Today we have coach feedback from Ireland. Let's discover DCH !

Who are you? Can you introduce us to your club and team?

I was a professional coach for seven years of my life in France, before making the decision to move towards new professional horizons, which meant temporarily giving up my handball-related activities.

Nevertheless, handball quickly reclaimed its rights in my life, first as a player in one of the most exclusive clubs in Dublin (Dublin International HC), before subsequently offering my services as a coach, always within the same club.

After a new distance from handball, notably for professional reasons, I agreed to invest myself in another leading club in Ireland, Dublin City Handball (DCH), a structure in which I took charge of the groups seniors, women and men.

DCH is a very special club in the sphere of Irish handball. Located in the heart of the city of Dublin, the structure attracts a considerable amount of players from all over the world. Many of them are students or young professionals, intending to stay in Ireland for a more or less short period.

This state of affairs has the consequence of generating an extraordinary turnover, during the same season, which can harm the continuity of the projects, in particular technical, that the club is trying to put in place.

Our players, although ambitious and with a real desire to compete, are nevertheless sometimes frustrated by the weakness of the means available to us to enjoy the practice of handball.

What would be the level of handball in Ireland? This is a real question that has always been difficult for me to answer. The only way of comparison we have is when we face foreign teams. In a tournament with the women's team in Sardinia, we managed to compete against Italian second division teams and if by chance we had travelled with our entire group, I think victories would have been in our reach. Individually, we have talented players (sometimes former professional players, even international). Combining these talents in a collective project remains a considerable challenge given the differences in handball culture, among other factors. In short, our two groups resemble in every respect high level teams, with multiple nationalities represented and the challenges inherent in this state of affairs, with the big difference that our practice is at an amateur social level.

How would you describe Irish handball?

I describe the practice of handball in Ireland as being rudimentary, sometimes in its infancy. Nevertheless, our sport, which couldn’t be more anonymous in Ireland (as well as in our British neighbors), is animated by a lot of lovers of handball, with a certain desire to want to develop handball in this region of Europe.

The Irish federation has two excellent elements, professionals, who participate actively and effectively (given the context) in the promotion of handball to a wide audience, very often unaware of the very existence of “Olympic Handball”.

However, we are facing major problems, starting with the infrastructure that does not allow us to practice handball in acceptable conditions. Cramped courts, with absurd dimensions, being the first concern. Only official matches take place on an official-size handball court, but financial constraints coupled with overuse of gymnasiums (incredibly few in Dublin) by other sporting activities, reduce the time slots available for training.

Despite all these difficulties, the game practiced by the various Irish clubs remains surprisingly acceptable, which has always surprised me over the years.

Woman taking statistics with Steazzi during a game
Credit : DCH

What are the statistics that you use the most during a game, and why?

Based on the brief observation made in the previous questions, I wanted to integrate a data aspect into the game project that I set up with my two teams.

After having had the chance to have a great meeting with the co-creator of Steazzi and to discover the simplicity of use combined with the completeness of the latter, it became obvious to me that with the figures and percentages in support, this would strengthen the communication of the instructions and more broadly of the game project, with players who do not all have the same mastery of our common language which is English. The application allows easy reading of the data for all our players and helps to understand the actions to be taken in order to improve.

During the matches that we have played this season, the analysis of the data generated by Steazzi and immediately available at half-time, has enabled us to rectify and/or reinforce our weaknesses and/or certainties, in order to disturb our opponents, which has paid off many, many times. Without such a tool, we would certainly have missed relevant elements, allowing us to objectify the situation and, when necessary, to tip some of our games in our favor.

Half-time being one of the essential moments during a match in order to make adjustments, the statistics that I consult are always directly linked to our game plan. For example, at the start of the season, the focus was made on our defence combined with the exploitation of the balls recovered by it. Steazzi immediately allowed us to obtain the data relating to this focus and showed us whether our goals were then respected. I added to that the analysis of our shots as well as those of our opponents, drawing conclusions about the performance of the goalkeepers.

I insist on the immediacy of access to data because it also facilitates the feedback that I communicate orally to the players, much more concise and precise, thus avoiding unnecessary redundancies that the absence of data can sometimes generate.

What statistics do you use the most after the game and why?

Afterwards, I consulted a lot the timeline of our games, which very quickly allowed me to identify weak periods of time, quite recurrent, from one match to another and thus to take corrective actions. Added to this is the fact of demonstrating it to my players thanks to a simple and easily understandable graphic for everyone.

Other data, more in-depth and which coupled with the video support, allowed me to easily identify the profile of our adversaries, whether in the individual aspect but also collective. As a result, it allowed us to disrupt many opponents, renowned for being far tougher than we were. This is also Steazzi, the opportunity to look at data of various complexities, thanks to a range of options offered by the application.

Intending to leave the field next season, however, I would like to continue in my help to the club, by further deepening the video analysis in addition to all the tools made available by Steazzi, in order to further interest our players in their individual performance. Although our club is aware of its amateur practice, the fact remains that players have an appetite for data, the latter being directly correlated to an increasingly widespread way of life, among our youngest players in particular, linked to self-development.

Coach feedback from Nicolas Fredin (Ireland)

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