Last fall Rehband met with Sabina Jacobsen, an elite handball player and the team captain of the Swedish national team when she was preparing for the 2016 European Championships. Sabina told us about her journey to become a professional handball player, her role as team captain and how she trains to avoid injuries out on the handball court.
Since Sabina was young, handball has been a large part of her life. Growing up in Lund, in the south of Sweden, Sabina’s mother worked as the assisting coach of the men’s elite team: Lugi. Sabina often accompanied her mother to Lugi’s practices and games, which gave her a good understanding of the game at a young age. When Sabina was 9, she started playing handball. She pursued her handball career playing for Lugi and didn’t change clubs until 2012 when she moved to Denmark to play for Randos. Sabina looks back at her time with Lugi fondly and says, “I’m very pleased with the years in Lugi. I received a great handball education, progressed each year, and I received trust and responsibility which have helped me to constantly develop and made me a great handball player. “
Sabina has always enjoyed the game of handball and still thinks it is fun to play. “The most important thing is to have fun,” she says when asked about what advice she would give to herself as a young handball player and continues, “I think that is what makes you continue playing, that you think it is fun to go to practice and it is fun to play games.”
Sabina has great experience from being team captain, both with the national team and her club team. When asked to describe herself as a team captain she replied, “I think many people feel secure around me, and that they can trust me. I’m a fighter, I love to win and I hate to lose. I give everything and I never give up. I think a lot of people associate these qualities with a team captain.” When further explaining what kind of player she is, Sabina says, “I’ve learned that it doesn’t help to think negatively, so I always try to have a positive attitude to everything. On the handball court I’m a person who talks a lot and tries to get the whole team together and be solution-oriented.”
Sabina tells us that she has always been good at playing defense. “When I was younger I was more of a playmaker, but when I moved to Denmark they wanted me to play left 9. Then I tore my ACL, and was gone for a year”, she says and explains that it was easier for her to play defense after her injury. The rehabilitation from her injury was very successful and Sabina was able to start training handball again after 5-6 months. Sabina says that she accomplished this by closely following her rehabilitation program.
Sabina explains that her team focuses a lot on stability exercises for knees, shoulders, core and back in their training for preventative purposes. When Sabina was younger, it was also common to practice falling techniques for safely landing on the floor when playing. As a young athlete, all of Sabina’s teammates wore the blue Rehband knee sleeves to protect their knees when falling. “Which was really good, because otherwise you will get real problems with your knees when you get older” she explains. Sabina says that she would recommend that handball players wear knee sleeves and ankle supports for preventative purposes. Due to having sprained her ankles many times, she also focuses on building strength in her ankles with a lot of balance training.
When asked about the level of injuries within handball, Sabina explains that due to handball being a very contact-intensive and fast-paced sport with quick turns and movements, the sport puts a lot of strain on your body and joints. She says that the risk in training heavily and not listening to your body can result in overstrain injuries. “When experiencing tired muscles,” Sabina reasons, “Don’t skip practice to be able to play the game, skip the game and train instead. Train smart, do strength training, be in good shape, and don’t forget to do cardio as well.”
Sabina uses knee supports from Rehband, namely Rx Speed. She likes the snug fit of the knee supports and how they don’t inhibit her movements when playing handball. This is an important aspect of supports for a handball player. As a child, she wore the iconic blue knee supports. “I remember that the Rehband supports were the fancy knee supports in the sports shop,” Sabina says and describes that she felt proud to have Rehband knee supports rather than another brand.
Today, Sabina also commonly wears Rehband compression for recovery. Due to the many games with both her club team and the national team, and long bus tours there in between, she finds compression helps her body fully recover and be prepared when it’s game time.
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