Lots of college students head for the beach over their spring break, but the Team Handball Club at the The Ohio State University (OSU) decided this spring to pursue a different option, heading instead to Europe for some handball education.
The OSU coach, J.D. Orr had taken a trip to Europe as a player several years before and with help of USA Men’s Assistant Coach, Mark Ortega they were able to arrange lodging and a base for training with TM Tonder Handbold in Tonder, Denmark
The team participated in multiple training sessions and played two friendly matches vs Sine Handball Academy (14-41) and Ikast Handball Academy (21-32). Although both matches were heavy losses Coach Orr felt it was a great learning experience noting that they had not played a match with stickum before and that several players on his team have playing handball less than a year. “I’ve always known that our program has a long way to go, but after playing against superior competition we’ve got a lot better picture of just exactly what needs to be done. We’re hoping that this experience will pay dividends when we play at the Collegiate National Championships next month in North Carolina.”
While there the Buckeyes also had the opportunity to see three matches as spectators. Coach Orr highlighted that it was interesting to take in the atmosphere of a small town match in Tonder, a Danish League match at Aarhus and a German Bundesliga match in Kiel. The match in Kiel was the top highlight for the team. Orr noted, “As an American handball player you’re used to playing in front of no crowd and actually having to explain what the sport is to family and friends. It’s invigorating to see handball being played in front of a several thousand knowledgeable fans in a packed house.”
Ohio State is one of several U.S. Clubs that have submitted a proposal in response to USA Team Handball’s Collegiate Development Initiative. This initiative seeks to expand and improve the level of collegiate handball competitions in the U.S. and is backed by the International Handball Federation (IHF).
Coach Orr would like to thank Danish clubs, Tonder and Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (BSV), and German club, Kiel for their outstanding support to their program.