With the interest and notoriety of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, those in the sport of handball are hoping to get an opportunity for growth.
Boston Team Handball will do its part this Saturday at the Starland Sportsplex in Hanover as the club hosts an exhibition game at 9.30am, followed by a free youth clinic for 10-18 year olds at 10.30am
The exhibition fight will be the start of the event as an example for the beginners to follow afterwards in the clinic.
“Basically, it’s about introducing very basic skills. To show them how to dribble, but show them how dribbling is different from what they might have done as a basketball player, ”said Drew Bradley, board member and US ambassador for handball. “The children will see how the sport is played and they will be able to imitate it.”
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Bradley, 25, was inspired to start competing in handball as a college student in Boston after seeing at the 2012 Olympics. After doing some research, he found Boston Team Handball and now, years later, he’s helping make a sport on the rise. As Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Olympics, the United States national team will automatically receive an application to participate. Bradley suggests clinics like the one on Saturday could potentially shape future Olympians – all they need is a start.
“We are slowly building what I think is a really strong foundation for growth in the US,” said Bradley. “It’s going to be a challenge because we stand behind many of these other sports and sports like soccer, basketball and soccer are gaining so much foothold in the youth field that it is only a matter of time and perseverance that it gets to this point” to break in there. “
Bradley is entering his seventh season as a left winger from Boston, will initially play in the exhibition game on Saturday morning and coach the newcomers shortly afterwards. He recalls learning the game in a similar way when he first hit the court in college.
“What a cool experience to be able to share things I’ve learned from so many people who have come and gone during my time here at the club,” said Bradley of coaching the clinic. “It’s rewarding to see that people are really enthusiastic about handball, are committed to it, come to training and get better quickly. That’s the really cool part. “
Right-back and right-winger Isabela Da Cruz will also step in on Saturday. The 15-year-old’s handball journey began three years ago in Brazil and she is already a reserve in the US women’s national team. As Da Cruz hones her skills to play professionally one day, she watches as top European players compete in the Champions League for inspiration. She aspires to be a similar role model for those who follow in her footsteps.
“I want to show how diverse handball is. You have so many moves and options and there are so many different things in the game, ”said Da Cruz. “It’s for everyone. I also want to show that it doesn’t really have a body type. When you are younger, you can play on the grand piano. When you are taller, you can play in the back. There is room for everyone. “
While individual basics are primarily taught on Saturday, the success of a handball team thrives with chemistry, teamwork and solidarity.
“A sport like handball can bring a lot of people together,” said Bradley. “Above all offensively, it is pass- and movement-oriented. In contrast to basketball, one person cannot always carry the full team load. It really takes complicated passing and coordination. It’s something that can be seen on almost every level. “
“In handball you have to be close to your fellow players because you have to play together, but not only that, I feel like Boston (team handball), above all there are a number of players who play outside of the home in the USA. So they all make their home, ”Da Cruz said of the sport that connects cultures. “Here you will find something from home.”