Lifezone Team Handball Academy launches January 2018

Jan. 02, 2018, 12 p.m. (ET)

Lifezone 360, in West Dundee, Illinois, launches the Lifezone Team Handball Academy this January 9, 2018. The massive 130,000 square-foot sport facility, located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, offers a multi-sport approach for athletes, offering academy-style development in Basketball, Soccer, Lacrosse, Cheer and now Team Handball, with on-site Strength and Conditioning provided by the Parisi Speed School, which is directed by a former S&C coach for the Denver Broncos, as well as onsite Sports Medical staff.

Directed by Craig Rot, youth and junior national team coach and chairman of the USA Team Handball Development Committee, the Lifezone Team Handball Academy will offer programming for athletes ages three to adult.

“This is a unique program,” said Rot. “Introducing boys and girls as young as three to the sport of Team Handball, and then developing them across their academic years and beyond. Furthermore, it is our intention to become the first Team Handball dedicated facility in the country, offering programming throughout the week.” Rot is presently working with corporate partners to make sure this dream becomes a reality.

The academy begins with the development of physical literacy and athletic fun in Lifezone’s generalized sport program known as Cubbies (ages 3-5), introducing athletes to a multi-sport curriculum designed by Lifezone’s academy directors, and moves through Pre-Academy (ages 6-8), Academy (ages 9-12), Competition (ages 10-15) and Elite (ages 12-adult) levels for each of the sports, with the younger players rotating through the facility’s offerings.

“My hope is that our sports academy becomes THE destination for athletes in the Midwest who want to discover this great sport and develop under the best training and methodology,” said Joe Abraham, Lifezone 360’s Operating Partner. “As we expand to additional courts, we hope to be a national destination for tournaments, showcases and even international competition.” 

In line with the USOC’s adoption of the American Development Model by the Aspen Institute, Lifezone 360 believes the development of multi-sport athletes to be the key in improving the quality of youth sports nationwide, and has built its business model around this approach. Abraham believes “…Team Handball will open up recreational through elite development opportunities for a whole new breed of youth in the market. As an academy that stresses multi-sport involvement, we feel that Team Handball will give athletes another great sport to engage in - while developing cross-functional abilities.”

For the remainder of the season, the Lifezone Handball Academy elite teams will compete as Barrington Team Handball Club, finishing out the remaining Midwest Team Handball League schedule, but beginning in September of 2018, the teams will compete as Windy City Team Handball, with the intention of fielding teams of men and women in six gender-specific age categories. Rot’s Windy City Classics will continue as well, with three already slated for the winter session (February 11, February 28 and March 17), permitting the men’s elite team to maintain a bold 40-plus game schedule this season.

As a member of the International Handball Federation’s three-person Handball at School Working Group, Rot will be traveling to Basel, Switzerland later this month to continue work on the group’s seven-volume Team Handball development series that will be completed by 2020.  He looks forward to implementing their program with the Lifezone Team Handball Academy, and expanding his work in the coming years. “As with all my work,” Rot said, “It is my goal to broaden the base and sharpen the point of Team Handball in the United States. Our academy will offer specialized programming for athletes of all ages from recreational to elite, support the development of Team Handball curriculum in schools throughout the region, play a key role in developing national team players and coaches, and become a destination for Team Handball events throughout the year.”

The first “Intro to Team Handball” is scheduled for Wednesday, January 3, from 3-5 at Lifezone 360 (999 W. Main Street, West Dundee, IL 60118), and is designed for athletes ages 14 to adult. There is no charge for this event, but minors will need to be accompanied by a guardian to sign the waiver to participate. A second “Intro” will run Tuesday, January 9, from 8-9:30 PM. If you or your athlete are interested in attending the event, please contact Coach Rot at craig@usateamhandball.org. For more information regarding the facility, go to lifezone360.com.