Ten thousand steps and more. Two by two, the participants pass each other with a balloon, throwing it alternately with their right and left hands. The task becomes somewhat more complicated when those in charge of the session, Aurore Rictio and Géraldine Thomas, ask to continue the exercise on one hop. Fortunately, the “ordeal” does not last too long… The fun activities follow one another, varied, but always with balls of different sizes, from that of a tennis ball to that of a fitness ball. Then comes the time for a four-on-four handball mini-match on a small pitch, and finally a moment of calm, around the coaches.
This Thursday, May 12, in one of the gymnasiums of the Maison du handball, in Créteil (Val-de-Marne), we were about twenty to discover handfit: young people enrolled in the second chance school of the city , in conjunction with the Maison sport-santé of Créteil – Mont-Mesly; sports educators in training; and two journalists. At the end of the forty-five minutes of initiation, the smiles can be read on the faces reddened by the effort. Many seem seduced by this sport-health activity imagined and developed since 2016 by the French Handball Federation (FFHandball).
To whom handball mainly evokes the exploits of the French team, or this discipline – sometimes a little brutal – practiced a long time ago at school, handfit could well open up a new perspective: that of a complete sport, collective and in the spirit of handball, but playful and without competitive pressure. The session is broken down into five stages where balls and balls are omnipresent, including for self-massages at the beginning and at the end. The activity can be practiced at all ages, with an adaptation for the most fragile: patients suffering from a chronic illness or even a long-term illness (ALD), elderly people in nursing homes, etc.
A carefully thought out activity
At the origin of this new discipline, a double observation, explains Nathalie Delord, in charge of development at the FFHandball. “The Ministry of Sports and the CNOSF [Comité national olympique et sportif français] had asked sports federations to offer activities aimed at well-being and health. In addition, we had noticed a loss of our licensees after 35 years”she says.
Beneath its fun exterior, the handfit has been carefully thought out. “The program has been validated by the CNOSF medical commission”, underlines Sandrine Bickert, doctor member of the federal commission of the FFHandball, who worked on the implementation of this practice. She specifies that there are two levels of training for supervisors: the first in a framework of well-being and fitness; a second, more advanced, to ensure sessions adapted to fragile people, in particular on medical prescription.
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