Julie Otzma

Julie Otzma

Greetings! I am Julie Otzma, the driving force behind HandballInsider.com, a passionate endeavor dedicated to providing a wealth of handball information.

Handball 101: Unraveling the Thrills of this Dynamic Sport


Introduction to Handball

A fascinating sport that combines speed, agility, and teamwork. This introductory guide will provide you with a basic understanding of what handball is and its global popularity.

    • What is Handball?

Also known as team handball or Olympic handball, is a team sport where two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team. It’s a fast-paced game that requires quick thinking, agility, and excellent teamwork. The team that scores the most goals wins the game. You can learn more about handball on its Wikipedia page.

    • Popularity and global reach of the sport

A popular sport globally, especially in Europe. According to the International Handball Federation, there are over 27 million registered handball players worldwide. The sport is played in 183 countries and is part of the Summer Olympic Games. The popularity of handball continues to grow, with more and more people discovering the excitement and camaraderie of the game.

History of Handball

    • Origins and Evolution

The game of handball has roots that can be traced back to ancient Greece, where a similar game was played using a small ball and a court. The modern version of handball that we know today was first played in the late 19th century in Denmark. It was initially an outdoor game, played on a field similar to a football field. Over time, the game evolved and adapted to an indoor setting, which is the most common way it is played today. The rules have also changed over time, with the introduction of dribbling and the reduction of the number of players from 11 to 7. Read more about the evolution of handball on Wikipedia.

    • Key Milestones in the History of Handball
      • In 1928, the International Handball Federation (IHF) was established, marking a significant step in the international recognition of the sport.
      • The first Men’s Handball World Championship was held in 1938, and the first Women’s Championship followed in 1957.
      • Handball was first included in the Summer Olympics in 1936. It was dropped after that year and didn’t make a return until 1972.
      • In 1972, the game was played indoors for the first time in the Olympics, marking the shift from outdoor to indoor handball.

These milestones have played a crucial role in shaping handball into the globally recognized sport it is today. Learn more about the history of handball on Wikipedia.

The Handball Game

Handball Court

    • Dimensions and layout

A standard handball court measures 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. It is divided into two halves by a center line. Each half has a rectangular goal area and a semi-circular free-throw line.

    • Key areas: goal area, free-throw line, center line

Also known as the crease, is a six-meter semi-circle where only the goalkeeper can enter. The free-throw line is a nine-meter semi-circle from the goal, where penalties are taken. The center line divides the court into two halves.

Handball Ball

    • Size and Weight

Vary depending on the age and gender of the players. For adult men, the ball has a circumference of 58-60 cm and weighs 425-475 grams. For adult women, the ball is slightly smaller, with a circumference of 54-56 cm and a weight of 325-375 grams. For younger players, smaller and lighter balls are used. It’s important that the ball is the right size and weight for the players to handle it properly and prevent injuries.

    • Material and Grip

Made of leather or synthetic material, it has a slightly sticky surface to provide a good grip for the players. The fast-paced and high-intensity nature of the game, where players need to catch, throw, and dribble the ball with precision. The grip also helps players to perform various techniques like spins and fakes.

The handball ball is a vital part of the game. Its size, weight, material, and grip are designed to suit the needs of the players and the dynamics of the game. To play handball effectively, it’s important to get familiar with the ball and handle it with confidence.

Handball Rules

10 Rules of Handball

  1. Number of players and substitutions: A handball team consists of 7 players, including the goalkeeper. Each team can make an unlimited number of substitutions during the game, with players entering and exiting the game at their team’s substitution area.
  2. Duration of the game: A standard handball game is 60 minutes long, divided into two halves of 30 minutes each. There is a 15-minute break between the halves.
  3. Scoring in handball: A goal is scored when the entire ball crosses the goal line inside the goal. Each goal counts as one point.
  4. Fouls and penalties: Fouls in handball include actions such as hitting, pushing, or holding an opponent. Penalties may include free throws, penalty throws, or disciplinary actions.
  5. Goalkeeper rules: The goalkeeper is the only player who can touch the ball with any part of their body within the goal area. They cannot cross the goal area line while in possession of the ball.
  6. Timeouts and interruptions: Each team has the right to request one timeout per half. The game may also be stopped for injuries or technical issues.
  7. Equipment and attire: Players must wear uniforms consisting of shirts, shorts, and shoes. They may also wear protective equipment such as knee pads and mouth guards. The ball used in handball is small and easy to grip.
  8. Referees and their roles: Two referees control the game, making decisions on fouls, goals, and penalties. They are assisted by a scorekeeper and a timekeeper.
  9. Player positions and their roles: Each team has seven players: one goalkeeper and six outfield players. The outfield players are usually divided into two wings, two backs, and two pivots.
  10. Start and restart of play: The game starts and restarts with a throw-off from the center of the court. The team that wins the coin toss chooses either the right to the first throw-off or the side of the court they prefer.

These are the basic rules of handball. By understanding these rules, you can enjoy the game more, whether you’re a player or a fan. For more detailed rules, you can visit the official handball rules page on Wikipedia.

How to Play Handball

  • Basic Skills: Throwing, Catching, Dribbling, Blocking

    • Throwing: This is the primary way to move the ball towards the goal. It’s important to have a good grip on the ball and use your whole body to generate power.
    • Catching: A crucial skill in handball is the ability to catch the ball accurately. This requires good hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes.
    • Dribbling: This skill allows you to move with the ball. It’s similar to basketball dribbling but with a bounce that’s a bit higher.
    • Blocking: This defensive skill involves stopping the opposing team’s throws. It requires good timing and positioning.
  • Offensive and Defensive Strategies

    On the offensive side, strategies may include quick passes, using the width of the court, and creating space for shots on goal. Defensive strategies often involve blocking shots, intercepting passes, and forcing the opposing team into making errors. Teamwork is in both offensive and defensive play.

  • Training Tips and Drills

    • Passing Drills: These drills improve your accuracy and speed in passing. They often involve passing the ball to a teammate while on the move.
    • Shooting Drills: These drills help improve your shooting accuracy and power. They can involve shooting at a goal from different angles and distances.
    • Defensive Drills: These drills enhance your blocking and intercepting skills. They often involve simulated game situations.

Handball Around the World

A popular sport played across the globe. One of the most prestigious platforms where this sport is showcased is the Olympic Games.

Handball in the Olympics

    • History of handball in the Olympics

First introduced to the Olympic Games in Berlin, 1936, as an outdoor sport. It was not until the 1972 Munich Games that it was reintroduced as an indoor sport, which is the format we see today. The women’s competition was added later, in the 1976 Montreal Games. Learn more about the history of handball in the Olympics here.

    • Recent Olympic handball champions

In the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the men’s handball gold medal was won by Denmark, while the women’s gold went to France. Both teams demonstrated exceptional skill and teamwork, marking a significant moment in their respective handball histories. Find more about the recent Olympic handball champions here.

The Olympics continues to be a thrilling spectacle, showcasing the sport’s global popularity and competitive spirit. As we look forward to future games, we can expect to see more exciting matches and emerging talents in this dynamic sport.

Professional Handball Leagues

  • Overview of Top Handball Leagues Worldwide

    There are numerous professional handball leagues around the globe. Here are some of the most prestigious ones:

    League Country
    Bundesliga Germany
    Liga ASOBAL Spain
    Lidl Starligue France

    These leagues feature some of the best players in the world and offer high-level competition.

  • Notable Clubs and Players

    Many clubs have made their mark in these leagues. For instance, in Germany’s Bundesliga, the THW Kiel club is a dominant force. In Spain’s Liga ASOBAL, FC Barcelona Handbol has a rich history of success.

    These clubs have nurtured some of the world’s best players. For example, Nikola Karabatić, a French player, has won numerous awards and is considered one of the greatest handball players of all time.


    • Why handball is a thrilling and dynamic sport

A sport that combines speed, agility, and strategy, making it a thrilling game to both play and watch. The fast-paced nature of the game keeps players and spectators on their toes, while the constant movement and action make it a dynamic sport. The strategic element of handball, where teams must work together to outsmart their opponents, adds an extra layer of excitement. Whether you’re a player on the court or a fan in the stands, handball is sure to keep your adrenaline pumping.

    • The future of handball

As more people discover the thrill of handball, the sport’s future looks bright. Schools and community centers around the world are introducing handball to their sports programs, giving more children the opportunity to learn and love this dynamic game. Professional leagues are also growing in popularity, with matches attracting large crowds and media attention. With continued development and promotion, handball has the potential to become one of the world’s most popular sports. The future of handball is indeed promising and exciting.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or a newcomer to the sport, handball offers a unique blend of physical challenge and strategic gameplay. Its future is bright, and we can’t wait to see where it goes next. So, why not grab a ball, gather some friends, and give handball a try? You might just find your new favorite sport.

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