Handball is a fascinating game played throughout five continents, by over 180 countries and 19 million people of all ages. Combining speed, strength, stamina, agility, technical precision, skill and teamwork, handball has become one of the fastest-paced and exciting Olympic sports.
The objective of the game is to throw the ball into the opponent's goal. Defenders may use their body to make contact with attackers to prevent them from having a clear shot at goal. Attackers attempt to break through the defence or shoot over the top of them to score a goal. Two teams compete with 6 court players and 1 goalkeeper playing per team. Substitutions can be made at any time. Each goal counts as 1 point and games regularly finish with teams having scored over 20 points.
The game is played on a 40m long and 20m wide court with 2m high and 3m wide nets at either end. The game consists of two 30 minute time periods with a 10/15 minute rest in between. All players alternate between an attacking position and a defending position, depending on who has possession of the ball. The ball is usually moved around the court by passing and dribbling however, as in basketball, you cannot double-dribble. Players can hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds before having to pass or dribble. Players can take up to three steps while holding the ball.
Goalkeepers stand in a 6m goal area that court players are not allowed to be in, however they may leap into this area whilst shooting provided they shoot before they land. Goalkeepers can leave their goal area when not in possession of the ball and participate as a court player.
With physical contact, unlimited substitutions and shots at goal that can reach over 100 km/hour, there is always something exciting happening on the pitch. To learn more about handball and the rules of the sport, we recommend this site.
Want to see what Handball looks like? Watch the video below!