Research article
Volume 4, No. 2, 2012, 23-30
UDC 796.322-055.15(439:497.11):316.64
Robert Paic
Institute of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of PÈcs, Hungary
Education and Society Doctoral School of Education, University of PÈcs, Hungary
Attila Kajos
Business Administration Doctoral School, University of PÈcs, Hungary
Institute of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of PÈcs, Hungary
Milka -uki„,
University ÑAlphaì, Belgrade, Serbia
Darinka Korovljev
Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
GyˆngyvÈr PrisztÛka
Institute of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of PÈcs, Hungary
Milorad -uki„
Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
The results of the Hungarian and the Serbian male handball national teams are similar on
the international level; in the same time, the Hungarian club teams have more success in club
competitions. However, general supposition is that the Serbian handball players are more
successful and more acknowledged across the top European handball leagues. This is confirmed
by numerous Serbian internationals that play at high level in Hungary and other European
countries. We suppose that results of the youth national teams have considerable influence in
later success rate. In this article we were searching for the influential factors behind the success
of one Serbian youth team. Since there were no considerable differences in physical performance
and anthropometric parameters (the Hungarian players were even taller), we assumed the main
differences were in their relation and attitudes to coach and to training. In our study we support
this explanation with an analysis of the attitudes to the head coach, work and physical training.
Our samples were selected from one Serbian (Crvenka) and one Hungarian (KomlÛ) youth team.
For attitudes assessment a standardized PASSES scale was used (Hagger et al., 2007). The
results show that the Serbian youth players have better relations with their head coach and have
better stance for work and training, which might be an explanation for their better success.
Keywords: attitudes, success factors, coach, training, handball
R. Paic et al.
In our days modern handball requires not only good technical and tactical preparation
for being in a good shape but the mental-psychic factors have their significance as well. There
are plenty of situations where the mentally and emotionally more stable athletes provide better
performance, especially those at a younger age. Coaches have big part of the success of the team.
The way of work, use of certain factors, volume and intensity are also influential factors (-uki„,
2010). The coach also has a big part in the development and maintenance of emotional stability,
because it is not common that young generation have their own qualified psychologist or mental
trainer. Coach who supports the athletes' self-realization also gives them the feeling of
appreciation and the fact that they are valuable part of the community (De Backer, 2011). Many
times coaches are not aware of the fact that their attitude affects their players' progress and
decision making ability, especially because of the impact of negative criticism. Unfortunately, it
happens in many sports (Walters, 2012).
Mental factors can be different in various nationsí athletes' because of their different
preparation, different way of approaching the game, not mentioning their different training
methods. The Hungarian and Serbian senior male handball national teamís efficiency is similar.
(IHF ranking: Serbia 4. Hungary 5. [ihf.info 2012. may]), however there are many thoughts that
the ball players from the ex-Yugoslavia are more effective, successful and admired. A number of
ex-Yugoslavian players who are playing in Hungary as well as the youth men handball teams
results can prove that: IHF ranking: Junior: Serbia 6. (169 points ñ first Germany have 198)
Hungary 9. (86 points) Youth: Serbia 11. (86 points), Hungary (0 points) (ihf.info May 2012.).
Moreover, a few players from Serbia played in the Hungarian national team, who were
nationalized (Nikola Eklemovic, Milorad Krivokapic, Nenad Puljezevic). In our opinion the
reasons of the differences have to be searched in the youth age. The aim of the study is to analyse
the attitude differences comparing one Serbian and one Hungarian teamsí youth men handball
players' attitude towards their coaches and training. The study's principles are the works of
Gombocz J·nos - Gombocz G·bor (2006) and HajdunÈ L·szlÛ Zita - PrisztÛka GyˆngyvÈr (u.i.)
where the differences between the real and the ideal handball and basketball coaches are being
analyzed as well as the players' attitudes towards coaches. Our assumption was that the Serbian
athletes' attitudes to trainings are better than the Hungarian ones and that the Serbian players'
relationship with their coach is better as well.
The study model compares two youth (from age 14 to 18) men handball teamís players
(n=37). The Hungarian KomlÛi BSK (n=17) and the Serbian RK Crvenka (n=20) both had
players who represented their countries in a big tournament. The two teams were chosen because
they represent high quality youth systems in accordance of the country average, although at this
moment their first teams competing in the second level of their national divisions. Both teamís
young players compete in more levels. Players from KomlÛ have 5 trainings per week and plays
league matches on the weekends, while also competing in he Hungarian Youth Cup. Players from
Crvenka have 6 trainings a week and compete both in the youth league and cup. Both clubís
training lasts for 90 minutes, so we can conclude that both nationsí playersí competitions and
training schedule are similar. Previously achieved results (from season 2010/2011) shows that
the Serbian youth players were more successful. Crvenka finished the season 8th while KomlÛ
was only 16th.
We enrolled data from January 2012 to May 2012. A two-part questionnaire was used
from the method PASSES (The perceived autonomy support scale for exercise settings,
Attitudes of hungarian and serbian handball players
developed by Hagger and his co-workers (2007), which studies the studentsí attitude to their P.E.
teachers and classes. In our research we altered P.E. teachers to coaches and P.E. classes to
handball trainings. During the research both the athletesí anthropometric and scholastic record
were collected and recorded. The questionnaire results were divided into two groups. The first
contains questions about the coaches (15 questions); while the second interests on the subject of
trainings (18 questions. In the part which concerning coaches the answers were given on a 7-
point Likert scale where 1 meant I totally disagree and 7 meant I totally Agree; while the
answers about trainings are given on a 4-point Likert scale where 1 meant I totally agree and 4
meant I totally disagree. In the training questionnaire the principal question was ìWhy do you
work hard on trainingsî. The reverse direction of scaling could be confusing, but we didnít want
to change the original (PASSES) surveys methods. We processed the data with IBM SPSS
20 and Excel programs where we used simple mathematic-statistic
methods and factor analysis.
Results and Discussion
After analyzing the athleteís stance to their coaches we can conclude that Serbian young
players has different opinion about their coach and has more positive relation to him than the
Hungarians. We can see from the Figures 1 and 2 that the average points are higher in every
question related to trainer in specific fields.
Figure 1. Average points of Hungarian and Serbian players to questions from 1 to 8
Figure 2. Average points of Hungarian and Serbian players to questions from 9 to 15
R. Paic et al.
The most singnificant difference between Hungarian and Serbian young athletes were in
fhe fields of coach appreciation, trust, acceptance and handling and sharing their feelings. The
lowest results were resulted to the questions ìDoes your coach ask you for an opinionîand ìDo
you feel right the way your coach talks to youî. This reflects the trainersí authoritive behavior
and the lack of interactive communication. Thus we can conclude that Serbian youth players
gave more points in every aspect according to the relation to their trainer. Hungarian athletes
scores almost reaches the Serbians in the field of understanding and encourage.
Only three results proven insignificant when analysing the differences between the
answers of Hungarian and Serbian players (using ANOVA, with p<0,05 ñ 9 cases with p<0,01).
These were ìUnderstandingî, ìOpenî and ìEncourageî. All other answers showed significant
differences between the youth players of the different nations.
The most conspicuous difference when analysing the answers concerning training
questions, is that there is only one question out of the 18 where the average result increases 2 in
case of the Serbian youngsters (which means that the given territory at least partly motives the
athlete) while in case of Hungarian playersí this number is 8. Moreover, among the Hungarian
athletes 5 elements reach or even surpass the value of 2.7.
When concentrating on the differences of the points given to each training questions
average points (using ANOVA) 15 out of the overall 18 questions (p<0.05) were significantly
different. The Hungarian and Serbian players answers were alike on the following three
questions: ìBecause the training is important to meî
(HUN mean=1.05; SRB mean=1.05;
F=0.013; Sig.=0.909); ìTo be a good playerî (HUN mean=1.88; SRB mean=1.95; F=0.34;
Sig.=0.854) and ìBecause it is a good thing to practiceî (HUN mean=1.82; SRB mean=1.55;
F=0.766; Sig.=0.387). In all other cases the Serbian youth players gave significantly lower
grades then their Hungarian sport mates.
We can conclude from these answers that the Serbian youth handball players are more
motivated in connection with their trainings (the average was 1.36 while in the Hungarian
sample the average was 2.12).
The main question to ask is why these athletes coming from two different countries have
different motivations? What motivates them most separately? The tables 1 and 2 present the
relevant data.
Table 1.
Hungarian handball playersí answers to the question ÑWhy do you work hard on trainings?î
1. Because the training is important to me
2. Because I find it useful
3. Because I miss it when I donít practice
4. Because I find it enjoyable
5. To do well on the training
Attitudes of hungarian and serbian handball players
Table 2.
Serbian handball playersí answers to the question ìWhy do you work hard on trainings?î
1. Because the training is important to me
1. Because I find it useful
3. Because I find it enjoyable
4. Because I miss it when I donít practice
5. Because I enjoy it
5. Because I have to do it on my coaches command
5. Becuse it gives me the feeling of joy and
5. Because it helps me in learning and developing
It is also interesting, which factors motivate them the least. These factors are presented in table 3
and 4.
Table 3.
Hungarian handball playersí answers, for the question ÑWhy do you work hard on trainings?î
18. Because I will be punished if I donít practice
17. Because I will get into trouble if I donít practice
16. I am ashamed if I donít practice
14. Because it is expected from me
14. Because I feel guilty if I donít practice
Table 4.
Serbian handball playersí answers, on the question ÑWhy do you work hard on trainings?"
18. Because I will be punished if I donít
17. To be a good player
16. Because I am ashamed if I donít practice
15. Because it is a good thing to practice
13. Because I will get into trouble if I donít practice
13. Because it is not good when I donít practice
It is within the tables that the Hungarian athletes are motivated in only one area.
Surprisingly one of the answers is positioned at the back (Hungarianís 8th, Serbianís 17th place)
ìTo be a good playerî. Originally we supposed the fact to be a great player will be one the most
determining factors, but it turned out to be false in both of the nations.
Factor analysis. We could establish by analyzing the second group of questionsí that all
items (18) were involved into the creations of the factor groups (Table 5). The obtained results
were in all areas appropriate for conditions for factor analysis. The KMO (Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin)
R. Paic et al.
criteria was 0.658 which is considered as medium-adequate factor creating variable mixture. The
Bartlet-test also had high significance level
(368.219 Chi-Square distribution at
significance level).
The questions integration to factors was confirmed by certain variables communalities
(the lowest communality was 0.677 which is beyond the most strict 0.5 level) as well the
determination of factor analysis with maximum likelihood method index number (59.549 Chi-
Square rate at 0.492 significance). Maximum likelihood tests have shown the main component
analysis and the Kaiser-criteria (factors eigenvalue min. 1) approves 6 equivalent factors (the
significance level was 0.267 with 5 factors). The factors explain 76.81 % of variance, so we can
accept them as good consideration. By all these facts we can separate 6 different factors.
Table 5.
Isolated factors and corresponding variables
Name of the factor
Because I enjoy the training.
Because the training is useful.
Because I want to do well on the training.
Because it is expected from me.
Because I will get into trouble if I donít practice.
Authority / Avoiding conflicts
Because I will be punished if I donít practice.
Because it is not good when I donít practice.
Because it gives me the feeling of joy and
Self-calming/ Urge
Because I feel guilty if I donít practice.
Because the training is important to me.
Because I am ashamed if I donít practice.
Because the trainings are joyful.
Because I have to do it on my coaches command.
Because it helps me in learning and developing.
(Desire to) Develop
Because it is interesting.
Because I miss it when I donít practice.
Because I will be a great player.
Because it is a good thing to practice.
The comparison of the Hungarian and the Serbian athletesí scores on each factor is
shown in the table 6.
Attitudes of hungarian and serbian handball players
Table 6.
Comparison of Serbian and Hungarian players average points given to factors
Autority / Avoiding conflicts
Self-calming/ Urge
(Desire to) Develop
* means significant difference (ANOVA) with p<0.1
1 ** means significant difference with p<0.05
We can read from the table above that the Serbian playersí motivation is more
individualistic. In the centre of their motivation is effectiveness and to progress. On the other
hand, Hungarian playersí motivation is to satisfy their coaches and themselves. We must state
that the strongest motivational aspects among Hungarian youth athletes stays below Serbianís
lowest ones.
When analysing the significance of differences, we find that the factors concluding the
previously mentioned not significantly different variables are significantly different as well.
Except for Demonstration/Self respect, which contains ìBecause I enjoy trainingî, but
significant difference at this factor is only valid on a 90% significance rate. Altogether we can
conclude that the Serbian young playersí motivation in the trainings is way better, no matter what
kind of motivations they have. The next important question would be the research of the
background motivation.
We have found interesting results after collecting the anthropometric parameters of the
young handball players. Average height of the Hungarian players is 184.5 cm while it is 181.8
cm in case of the Serbians. Average weight was 75.2 kg at KomlÛ and 76.6 kg at Crvenka.
Scholastic record was better among the Serbian young athletes (average 3.75 to 3.07 among
Hungarian athletes).
As for the limitations of the study it is important to mention that this research can be
regarded only as a ìpilotî study and we cannot conclude anything precisely. The main goal of the
research was to test the validity of the questionnaire, and that was the reason of working with
small sample size and with players only from second division. Besides that, the results are
provoking and showing the differences between two countriesí youth athletes. We must
emphasize that the differences are not (or not only) in the technical abilities but in the varieties of
Serbian young handball playersí (from Crvenka) attitudes towards their coaches differ
from their Hungarian (from KomlÛ) sport mates, especially in the area of trust, handling their
feelings and admiration. This means that Serbian youth athletes are more open, have more
confidence toward their coaches, which makes the opportunity to be much more effective and all
in all successful. The lower points given to coaches on the area of communication, which is
similar to Walters and co-workersí (2012) research results among male baseball coaches made
more negative comments than female trainers. It is very important for coaches to know the
constructive and destructive power of their communication skills and efforts. Their methods can
result a higher but also much lower performance. In studies of Gombocz and Gombocz (2006)
R. Paic et al.
and HajdunÈ L·szlÛ and PrisztÛka GyˆngyvÈr (in press) we can realize the differences between
ideal and real coach image, especially in the field of authority. The ideal coach is more reliable
and communicative than we experience is the real world. Both countries players work hard on
their trainings because they think that handball is important, useful, enjoyable and they all strive
to become a great player. Surprisingly, over their more individualistic motivations the
expectation from the coach and the avoidance of punishment is has stronger motivating power
among Serbian handball players then Hungarians. Finally, the stance to training is way more
positive among Serbian athletes, which can be one of the reasons of a better overall performance.
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Rankings on International Handball Federationís website (www.ihf.info )
Rankings on European Handball Federationís website (www.eurohandball.com )