Game theory is a mathematical theory of conflicts. Although it was initially developed for the economical analysis and predictions, it has found its application in the sports conflicts. In this paper, the minimax theory is applied on the example of the 7-m throw in handball.In order to determine efficiency of the various strategies during the 7-m throw, on the sample of 90 games of the Ist Croatian Handball League in season 1998/99., 622 shoots from the 7 meter line were analyzed. In two person game (goalkeeper vs. shooter) following strategies were analyzed: large (>3 m), medium (1.5m -3 m) and small (<1.5 m) step-out as the possible goalkeeper strategies and high, semi-high and low shoot as possible shooter strategies. Outcome of the game can be score or no score. For the conflict analysis, minimax theory was used. Minimax theorem states that a player should evaluate each possible strategy by its lowest expected value to the player over all possible strategies by the opponent, and should choose a strategy whose lowest expected value is maximum. Low shoot has the highest efficiency overall because it has the largest body-ball distance. Leg defending movement is slower than the arm defending movement and also, lower extremities are additionally engaged in maintaining pose and body stability as opposite to hands which are free. These results are verified by the observed frequency of the shooting for the possible strategies. (Table 2). Semi-high shoot is the most efficient for the goalkeeper because corresponding defensive movement is done on short trajectory by arm and leg as well. This means that the area between the knees and the shoulders is relatively easy to reach for the goalkeeper. The results are indicating that this kind of shoot should be even rarer then at present (16%). Goalkeepers are achieving the highest efficiency by large, then medium and small step-out. This is the consequence of the ball velocity during the 7 meter shoot which exceeds 100 km/h for the top players that makes it impossible for the goalkeeper to respond in time, so minimization of the undefended area by stepping-out remains the best movement for the goalkeeper |