Learn To Play Handball: Rules, Techniques, Equipment And Instruction

Team Handball is an exciting, fast-paced sport played by two teams of seven players. It is a sport that is part football, basketball, and soccer all rolled into one.

The term "╦ťhandball' can actually be quite confusing. There are two different types of sports called handball. One type is regular handball in which two, three, or four players hit a small rubber ball against a wall to score points. The other type, and the type that will be talked about here, is called Team Handball. Team Handball is an exciting, fast-paced sport. It consists of two teams with seven players on each team trying to score points by throwing a ball into their opponent's netted goal. It is a sport that is part football, basketball, and soccer all rolled into one. Team Handball originated in Europe in the 1900's and was first played in the Olympic Games in 1936 in Berlin. Women's teams were added to the Olympic Games in 1976. Since then, Team Handball has become a very popular sport.

The rules in Team Handball are actually quite simple. Six players move the ball down the floor trying to score points and a goalie defends his/her goal. Each ball that enters the opponent's goal earns the scoring team one point. Game scores usually reach anywhere from 10 to 50 points or more. If a game is tied two extension periods of 15 minutes each is granted. If, after the two extension periods, there is still a tie, then an individual shootout from the 7 meter line takes place. A regular game consists of two halves that are 30 minutes each. Each team is allowed one time-out per half. Half time is usually 10 minutes. The game is usually played indoors on courts that are 65' 7" by 131'3". There is a dividing line in the middle of the court and a goal area in the center at either end.

Each team consists of wingmen, center-left, center-right, centers, and goalie player positions. Each team also has players on the bench during each game to act as substitutions for players on the court. Substitutions are allowed at any time during a game as long as the player they are substituting for has already left the court. As in any other sport, the job of the offense is to score and the job of the defense is to defend the goal. Players pass, throw, catch, and dribble the ball around the court. Players can dribble for an unlimited amount of time. They can run with the ball as long as they don't take more than 3 steps before or after dribbles. Court players use their upper bodies only. The goalkeeper is allowed to use any part of his/her body to defend the goal. Defenders are allowed to use frontal contact to keep opponents from approaching their goal.

Players cannot endanger an opponent with the ball. They cannot pull, hit, or punch the ball out of an opponent's hands. Players use their upper bodies only and cannot come into contact with the ball below the knees. Players cannot attack from the sides or from behind their opponent. The referee determines if contact is unnecessarily rough and will call a foul or penalty if necessary. If these rules are violated, a penalty is called and the team that was violated receives a free throw from the exact spot where the foul or penalty occurred.

Very little equipment is needed in the sport of Team Handball. Men use a 15-17 ounce leather ball that is 23-24" in circumference. Women and juniors use a ball that is 12-14 ounces and 21-22" in circumference. Children use a much smaller ball and often participate in games of Mini-Team Handball. Many players find the sport to be quite rough and choose to dress with kneepads, elbow pads, and ankle supports. Be sure to stretch and warm up before each game and keep your eyes on the ball at all times. Most of all just have fun.

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