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How to play handball | WJTV

An introduction to handball

A popular European team sport with a history dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years, handball is an increasingly popular activity around the world. Requiring strength, endurance and dexterity, handball is a fairly simple but demanding game.

For the uninitiated, there are many similarities to basketball and soccer, so those familiar with these sports may find it easy to adapt. There’s not much to do to get started: you need people to play, a place to play, sportswear and, of course, a handball. Here’s how to play.

What is handball?

Origins of handball

The first modern handball game is believed to have been played in Germany, inspired by games played throughout northern Europe in previous decades. There is even evidence that games similar to handball were played as far back as ancient Greece as well as in medieval times in Europe.

Handball Setup

Team handball is played on an indoor court slightly larger than a basketball court, extending 40 meters long by 20 meters. Each team has seven players on the field at a time, including a goalkeeper on each side. The six players running on the ground are called fielders or defenders. There is a center line dividing the field into two halves and a semicircle surrounds each goal.

The main equipment is the ball itself, usually a 32-panel leather ball. A men’s handball is slightly larger than the women’s handball, measuring 58–60 centimeters in circumference compared to around 54–56 centimeters.

handball goal

The goal of handball is simple: to score more goals than your opponent. This is done by advancing the ball downfield and throwing it completely across the goal line into the net. Handball is usually played in two 30-minute halves; the team in front at the end is the winner.

How to play handball

court players

Field players may touch the ball with any part of the body above the knee; they cannot kick the ball. When a player has the ball, they are allowed three seconds to stand still and three steps in any direction before they have to get rid of the ball – pass or shoot – or start to dribble. Dribbling, like in basketball, extends the time a player can possess the ball.

Outfield players may not enter the goal crease unless they land there after kicking the ball. Conversely, goalkeepers can leave their territory provided they comply with the rules applicable to outfield players.

handball throws

There are several types of throws in handball.

  • Throw in: As in football, if the ball goes out of bounds, a player stands on the sidelines and throws it at his teammate.
  • Free throw: A player has the possibility to throw it from a specific place if it was illegally interrupted by the other team.
  • Throw seven meters: Like a penalty in football or a free throw in basketball, this is awarded to a player when he is interrupted during a clear opportunity to score. They stand seven yards from the goal line and shoot to score.
  • goal throw: The goalkeeper is awarded a shot when he blocks a shot out of bounds or the attacking team misses the mark.

handball equipment

The main component of the game is the ball; depending on whether you are playing competitively or recreationally, the size of the ball may vary. Many players wear goggles to protect their eyes, while appropriate footwear, such as basketball shoeis also necessary.

Players on the same team usually wear the jerseys of the same color. To differentiate themselves from the players in the field, goalies should wear jerseys in a single color.

Handball variants

American handball, also called wallball, is a popular game variant. It can be played with two or four players on a small field with one, three or four walls. The game is played in the same way as tennis or racquetball. One player serves the ball by hitting it against the wall, while the other player tries to send it back against the wall to their opponent. If a player falls to return the ball, a point is scored.

What you need to buy to play handball

Skybounce Rubber Handballs

This pack of 12 handballs offers great value for those looking for recreational play. Designed for indoor and outdoor play, they’re ideal for beginners and intermediates looking for casual fun. Sold by Amazon

Head Impulse Racquetball Goggles

Head Impulse Racquetball Goggles

It is important to protect your eyes when playing this fast-paced game as the ball travels at high speed. These comfortable and inexpensive glasses from Head are lightweight and unbreakable, perfect for a variety of games. Sold by Amazon and Dick Sporting Goods

Puma Liga Core Jersey

Puma Liga Core Jersey

Available in a dozen colors, this v-neck jersey features moisture-wicking material to keep you dry while you play. Sold by Amazon

Under Armor Men's Tech Graphic Shorts

Under Armor Men’s Tech Graphic Shorts

Lightweight and breathable with plenty of stretch, these athletic shorts are made with a soft, quick-drying fabric for maximum comfort. They also feature pockets. Sold by Amazon

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Anthony Marcuse written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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