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Handball: A Comprehensive Guide to the Rules, Positions, and Techniques

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What is Handball? A Comprehensive Guide to the Rules, Positions, and Techniques

Handball is a sport that is both action-packed and exciting. It is a game that is full of intensity and strategy, and is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. The game is made up of two teams, each with seven players each, playing on a court with two goals at either end. Here, we will have an in-depth look at handball and provide a comprehensive guide to its rules, positions, and techniques.


Originating from an early form of field hockey, or ‘knattleikr’, handball is thought to be over 1000 years old and was known as a game of simplicity and minimalism. The rules of handball were refined during the late 19th century, and by the mid 20th century it had become an official Olympic sport. Today handball is an international game, enjoyed by millions across the world.

Basic Rules of Handball

Handball is a rather simple game. The objective of the game is to move the ball around, throwing it with the hands, in the attempt to get it past the goalkeeper and into the goal. In the event that the ball passes the goal line negatively (meaning not into the goal) a goal throw will be awarded to the opposite team at the place from which it left the court.

Each game is made up of two halves of 30 minutes each, with a 15-minute half time break in between. Each team is allowed a maximum of 7 players on the court at any one time and up to 6 substitute players on their team bench.

Penalties and Disqualifications

In Handball, players are typically allowed a certain degree of physical contact within boundaries. Pressure and strong defense is part of the game, however, physical contact such as hitting and contacts with elbows, shoulders and legs is prohibited.

The most common and severe penalties in handball are two minutes of suspension, resulting in the opposing team playing with one player more during that time, and a seven-meter throw, enabling the opposing team to take a direct free-throw from close to the goal. In cases of misconduct, such as spitting and swearing, outright disqualification is possible.


Scoring in Handball is simple. Whenever the ball passes the goal line, the attacking team is awarded one point. In cases of a foul, the defending team can be awarded a goal-throw or a 7-meter-throw, both worth one point. If a team takes the lead by six points or more, the team will win the match.


Each team is made up of seven players, with each player typically assigning a specific position, such as right back, right winger, and left winger.

Goalkeeper – The goalkeeper is the last line of defense, so they must be agile on their feet, able to withstand strong pressure and quick to react to save shots on the goal.

Right Wing – The right wing is tasked with attacking the opposing team’s defense, assisting in the team’s offense. They are responsible for throwing the ball accurately from near the sideline, into the goal area.

Left Wing – The left wing position is mainly focused on defense. Defenders must be ready for the defensive role, need to be able to control the pace of the game, and prevent their opponents from finding ways to get around them.

Right Back – The right back must be highly skilled in both defense and offense; able to attack on the offense, play a physical role on defense, create scoring chances for their team, and prevent the opposing team from scoring.

Left Back – Standing opposite the right back, the left back carries the same responsibilities, however on the opposite side of the court.

Center Back – The center back is the main link between their offensive and their defensive lines. They must be fast, and able to create successful attacks.

Centers – The two centers are the main playmakers of their team’s offense. They must be able to read the game, understand the opponents’ strategies, and create scoring opportunities.


There are a variety of different techniques involved in handball. Below are a few of the key techniques involved in the game:

Passing – Passing is key to the game of handball. It is used to move the ball around the court to get into the most optimal position for success.

Shooting – Shooting is the most important part of handball. Being able to make accurate and powerful shots on the goal is key for success.

Blocking – Blocking is an important defense technique in handball. Defenders can use both their bodies and their hands to impede the progress of their opponents’ attacks.

Counter Attack – Counter attack is one of the most important techniques used in handball. It is used to turn a defensive situation into an offensive one, giving the attacking team a chance to score.

As you can see, handball is an exciting and dynamic sport. It requires skill, agility and teamwork. With its simple rules, tactical positions, and interesting techniques, it is no wonder that handball is one of the most popular sports in the world. So, if you ever wanted to give the sport a go, now you know the basics.

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