“We’re going to ban the use of resin worldwide!” IHF President Hassan Moustafa’s announcement last winter was clear. In the future, the world association wants to use self-adhesive balls instead of the traditionally used resin.
With the Maxi Grip, Derbystar / Select has presented its model of a resin-free handball, which was named ISPO Award Product of the Year 2018 in the Team & Social Sports segment.
In an interview with ISPO.com, Andreas Filipovic, Director of Sales and Sponsorship at Derbystar / Select, explains how the self-adhesive ball can also help amateur clubs, what digital revolution his company wants to use next to change handball, and the value of the ISPO Award.
ISPO.com: Mr. Filipovic, how did the development of your resin-free handball come about?
Andreas Filipovic: The trigger was the resin ban for certain players or in many sports halls. We want to meet the needs of players who aren’t allowed to use resin, such as teenagers and amateurs. We’re focusing on innovation, and we want to make the game possible and improve it for all players. Our ball is ideal for young players who want to improve their game with the help of the resin effect, but aren’t allowed to use resin. The Maxi Grip is precisely the right product for this niche.
What are the benefits of a self-adhesive ball compared to conventional resin?
With its sticky surface, the Maxi Grip gives balls excellent grip without any resin, so hall floors and jerseys don’t get dirty. It’s always costly for clubs to clean their hall floors when they use resin, something our innovation helps avoid. The product is also ideal for children, and makes handling the balls easier.
The announced resin ban in handball has not been well received everywhere. How are you familiarizing athletes with the Maxi Grip?
Our customers’ increased interest in the product confirms the success of our innovation, and this naturally supports us in our marketing plans and our communication. We’re organizing select team sports nights where we’ll present the ball.
Our employee and former handball player Joachim Kurth is traveling on our behalf throughout Germany, inviting clubs to lectures at specialist retailers to present and explain the Maxi Grip.
We have the ideal target group here, especially for interested club representatives. We’ve also called on clubs to test the Maxi Grip in the specialty magazine “Handballwoche.” The response so far has been outstanding, exceeding all expectations.
Where else do you see further potential for development? What will the handball of the future look like?
We are working continuously on further developments in the areas of technology, material, and design. We are exclusive on the market with the Maxi Grip . We were also the first to take this path, and our current cooperation with the company Kinexon once again makes us a pioneer. Kinexon installs a chip in the ball that impressively demonstrates the possibilities of digitalization in handball and soccer.
How exactly can we picture that?
We focus on new technologies. An high-tech chip integrated inside the ball records information on ball speed, throwing position, and the position of the ball in the goal as well as the game system.
More precisely, this means that spectators can directly observe the ball speed and the distance to the goal – an unbelievable added value for players, coaches, and fans. The iBall was used in an official capacity for the first time at the EHF Final Four in Cologne.
Did it help to send the Maxi Grip into the race for the ISPO Award?
Absolutely, because ISPO stands for tradition. ISPO Munich is the most renowned sports trade fair/platform where decision makers and opinion leaders come together. A product comes off as more credible and more reliable if it’s been give an ISPO Award.
The ISPO Award has a very high status, in the industry and with customers. The attention generated by receiving this award is also an incentive for us to work on further development.
Where do you keep your ISPO Award trophy?
The trophy is kept in one of our showrooms, and is set to make an appearance in each of our showrooms in Denmark, Goch, and Sweden, among others. We are proud of the award, and it goes without saying that, in addition to our products, we’re also present the award to the outside world. People regularly approach us about the ISPO Award at customer meetings, and we’re delighted by the continued congratulations that we receive.
The showroom is also used for internal meetings, and the award reminds every single employee of our successful product development and, naturally, should also serve as motivation for new ideas.
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Team & Social Sports: SELECT: MAXI GRIP