USATH Board of Directors: Strategic Plan Update

Feb. 05, 2019, 12 p.m. (ET)

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with a Strategic Update on behalf of the USA Team Handball Board of Directors.  We will highlight some of the strategies that have been activated by the organization in 2018 and provide you with some anticipated actions that are being planned for 2019.


The USA Team Handball Board of Directors initiated a strategic planning process in May 2018 that produced a plan looking out toward the future and the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.  The plan provides us with a path for creating an organization that will become a sturdy foundation for the future of our sport.  Strategic planning is a living process, where objectives and goals are broken down into action steps to be implemented over time.  The initial focus of this work has been to improve our organizational structure; identify, select, and develop talent to improve our international competitiveness; and promote team handball to sports fans in the USA through television.


The strategic plan identifies our future organizational structure and specifies the actions in which we will engage.  By describing the future behaviorally, we are able to clarify the primary competencies needed for our organization.  The result of defining our organization by competencies needed for the future, created a recognition that is necessary for us to make organizational changes.  This includes creating new positions and redefining roles for our current staff.  Therefore, in the coming days we will begin the process of searching for a business oriented Executive Director to lead the USA Team Handball organization.  This role will oversee all the general management functions of the organization.  The Executive Director’s key focus will be on developing a business oriented organization, strategic revenue generation, pursuing long term sponsorships partners, marketing, and sport promotion.


While USA Team Handball undertakes the Executive Director search and begins its transformation, Dee Miller and Bob Djokovich, Board of Director Co-chairs will lead and manage the day-to-day operation of the organization, on an interim basis.  As the new personnel come on-board and the organization begins to take shape, Dee Miller and Bob Djokovich will exist the day-to-day management activities, and resume their roles on the Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors is committed to providing regular communication to you, our membership and stakeholders, as the USA Team Handball transformation comes into focus.


As we strategically look toward the 2028 LA Olympics, talent-identification and the implementation of a talent development pipeline becomes a critical component for achieving the goals and objectives we have set for our national team competition improvement plan.  There are two efforts underway to assist our organization with talent-identification and pipeline development.  The Board of Directors formed a project team consisting of Bob Djokovich, Sarah Gascon, and Dave Buckman to begin a College and University Club Expansion Initiative.  This initiative is aimed at increasing the number of team handball programs playing in the college club sport system.  Requests for Proposals have been sent to Colleges and Universities that expressed a desire to develop programs in their geographical location.  The deadline for submitting the RFP is 11 February 2019. It is our aim to increase the number of female and male athletes playing our sport at the collegiate level; and in turn, expand our access to a boarder base of talent for development in the USA.  Additionally, we are planning talent-identification tryout camps to increase the pool of athletes that are interested in participating in our sport.  The first of those camps will be held 16 February 2019 in San Jose, California and Columbus, Ohio.  Notifications for these tryouts are posted on our USA Team Handball website and Facebook page.  Please check regularly for tryout notifications in the future as we continue to improve our strategic talent-identification efforts.


One of the features of our strategic plan is promoting handball to American sports fans through television broadcasts.  We were thrilled, this past week, to have the opportunity to view the main round games of the IHF Men's World Championships on television in America through NBC's Olympic Channel. This has been a desire for our organization for many years.  Additionally, we are happy to announce that the Women's World Championships will be telecast on NBC's Olympic Channel in December 2019.  It was great to see the live telecast of the Men’s Bronze and Gold Medal games, rounding out the week of incredible matches.  Anyone viewing the handball for the first time was treated to a thrilling finish between France and Germany in the Bronze Medal match.  France finished in fashion with a last second goal to win the game.  Denmark was an over powering force against Norway, in an all northern European final.  There was a great deal of behind the scenes activities to accomplish this major goal of our Strategic Plan.


Improving the competitiveness of our national teams has long been a goal of the USA Team Handball organization.  The placement of national teams in major international competitions such as the Olympic Games, World Championships, and Pan American Games has been a determining factor for receiving funding by the USOC’s Sports Performance Group (SPG).  The policy of “podium potential” employed by the SPG has informed their decisions for withholding financial support to USA Team Handball athletes and our national teams, over the past several years.  The Strategic Plan specifically set the goal of improving our national team competitiveness, and progress is being made.  In September 2018, the Women’s and Men’s National Teams achieved one of the initial goals we set by qualifying for the 2019 Pan American Games.  A feat not accomplished by our organization for 8 years.  The Pan American Games (PAG) that will take place in Lima, Peru, 26 July – 11 August 2019.  A first place finish in the 2019 Pan American Games, qualifies our teams for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and top 3 finish would provide the squads an opportunity to participate an Olympic Qualification Tournament.  Congratulations to the coaches, athletes, and staff on their achievement.  We are open to sponsorship and partnership opportunities that will support our dedicated athletes at all levels, but in particular, we are seeking preparation assistance for the Pan American Games.


The Board of Directors continually looks for strategic funding solutions for our national teams and our organization.  This year we will begin an Annual Fund and Giving Campaign to support the financial needs of USA Team Handball.  Our Campaign will begin near the end of the first quarter.  We encourage the membership to participate in this endeavor, look for information coming to you soon.


The USA Team Handball’s Beach Handball programs will have an opportunity to focus the west coast development of the sport in the upcoming months.  The World Beach Games will be hosted in San Diego 10 – 15 October 2019 and the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, AL, our national teams will take part in both.  The Women’s and Men’s Beach National Teams will use their experience from participating in the World Beach Handball Championships in Russia last summer to improve their international standings.  They have already begun their preparation for the upcoming tournaments.


As many of you are aware, in January 2018 the International Handball Federation began the process of dividing the Pan American Team Handball Federation into two independent Confederations.  The IHF appears to be committed to the creation of the South and Central American Handball Confederation and a North American Caribbean Handball Confederation.  There are two primary conditions for the division, the first is focused on developing a fan base for the sport and growing the number of team handball players in the North America, and the second is concentrated overcoming the complexities created by the vast distance necessary for competitions among nations, including the costs.  USA Team Handball is a participant of the Working Group composed of five country members, this collection is developing the business entity that will be incorporated to manage handball activities of NACHC.  The IHF is interested establishing an office headquartered in North America for the North American and Caribbean Confederation’s organizational operations.  The official vote to recognize the division of the Pan American Team Handball Federation will occur at the next International Handball Federation Congress occurring in the fall 2019.


USA Team Handball has much work to do in the area of strategic policy and procedure development and implementation.  A key area of focus for organization is strictly following the SafeSport compliance requirements for ALL our operations.  Please note that USA Team Handball and it’s’ membership organizations will follow all the mandatory audit requirements of the policies set forth by the USOC.


Safe Sport Certification Training Requirements and Background checks are MANDATORY and will include following:

  • Board of Directors
  • Committee Members
  • Employed Staff
  • Volunteer Staff
  • Event Organizers
  • Club Officials
  • SafeSport Club Champions
  • Referees
  • Coaches, including Clubs
  • National Athletes
  • Medical Trainers
  • Physicians
Every registered club, within USATH membership, is required to have a designated SafeSport Champion, and must be educated on the history, philosophy, and focus of the SafeSport movement.  The Safe Sport Champion will serve as the liaison on all matters involving SafeSport Training and Background Checks for their respective club on all things associated to SafeSport Compliance.


All of this is designed to result in a safe and secure environment for our membership, especially our youth members.  USA Team Handball will rely on the capability of dedicated volunteers to manage the SafeSport Certification and Background Check programs.  We request the membership embrace these new requirements for the benefit of the entire sport.


Thank you for your membership and participation in the great sport of handball.  Please provide your questions or comments to our email address: