A Beginner's Guide to Playing Handball

A Beginner's Guide to Playing Handball
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A Beginner’s Guide to Handball Rules

Handball, also known as Team Handball in the United States, has been around since the end of the 19th century. It is a big sport in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular around the world with many nations now having a National Team in Handball. It has been an Olympic Game since the 1930s. For some, the Handball rules can seem fairly complicated. This guide aims to give the reader an idea of the Handball Rules and how to play Handball.

Handball is a fast paced game that includes a lot of body contact. It is played by two teams; each team consisting of seven players, one goal keeper and six field players. An adult game is played in two 30-minute periods with a short break in between. The Handball field is 20 x 40 meters and the sport is mainly played indoors. The team can make as many changes as they like during the game.

How the ball can be played

  • The player can use anything from the knee and upwards to throw, hit, stop and catch the ball.
  • The player can take a maximum of three steps whilst holding the ball.
  • The player can bounce and dribble the ball.

If a player with control of the ball bounces the ball and then picks it up, he needs to pass the ball to one of the other players. If the player bounces the ball, picks it up and the bounces the ball again the referee will give the opposite team a free throw because of a double bounce.

  • If a player catches the ball, he has three seconds to pass it to another player, start to bounce it or dribble the ball.
  • The player cannot pass the ball to the goal keeper if he is inside the 7 meter goal zone.

Awarded Throws and Penalties

When a player breaks the rules, the referee can give out different penalties.

  • A Free throw re-starts the game if the referee has made an interruption. This can be given if someone has broken the rules or if the team in control of the ball is playing a very passive game.
  • A 7-meter throw is given when there is a clear chance of scoring and the player is being stopped in an incorrect manner by the opposite team.
  • It is also given if a player plays the ball to his own goal keeper whilst the goal keeper is within the goal zone.
  • A Yellow Card is a warning which can be given for more severe rule breaks such as direct action towards the opponent and not the ball or if the player is showing bad manners that does not belong on a handball field.
  • If a player has received two yellow cards or has played particularly dangerous, a two-minute suspension from the game is given.
  • If a player has received two two-minute suspensions and commits another foul, the player is given a red card and has to leave the game and the playing area. The team with the red-carded player is also penalized with a two-minute suspension.

Aim of the game

The aim of Handball is to score as many goals as possible during the 60-minute long game. Because Handball is such a fast paced game, the team in the lead can never relax. The opposite team could easily score several goals in a minute and turn the game around and it is not unusual to see scored goals in the region of 30 and upwards.