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All about Goalball [ History, Rules, … ]

Goalball ou Golbol (in Portuguese) is a Paralympic sport made to be played by people with visual impairment, which left them with no vision or partial vision.

Goalball History

Like the great majority of Paralympic sports, it also came with the goal of better-integrating people with poor eyesight, especially the soldiers who had returned without the vision of the XVth World War.

The goalball was developed in 1946 by the Austrian Hanz Lorenzen and the German Sep Reindle, in which the game consisted of throwing a ball on the ground and scoring a goal in the opposite goal.

The rules of this sport have changed little over time, with only minor changes.

In 1976 it had its first appearance in the Paralympic Games, here still like sport of exhibition (without medals) and from there it has officially become a Paralympic modality until the present day.

Goalball Game

The goalball game is divided into 2 parts, each with 10 minutes long, taking an interval of 3 minutes in between.

Whoever has scored the most goals at the end of that time wins. If they have tied it is played a prolongation of 6 minutes divided in 3 minutes each part, beating who to score first.

If still the game has not been decided then goes to the decision in the free throws.

Goalball Court

goalball court has to measure 18 meters long by 9 meters wide, this is divided into 3 distinct zones:

  • Attack zone;
  • Neutral zone;
  • Defense zone;

These zones are used to indicate where to do what. All of them have several 5 centimeter wide markings for players to get their bearings better.

Underneath these lines and markings is a cord that gives relief to these lines.

defense zone and zone of attack measure 9 meters wide by 3 meters deep while neutral zone has 6 meters deep.

The beacons for this sport have measures 9 meters long by 1,3 meters wide, being still quite rigid and robust.


Goalball Equipment

Let’s now see some of the equipment needed to practice goalball:


This one has a dimension similar to the basketball, but it is heavier, having about 1,250 kg, it does not have an air chamber which means that the ball does not jump as much.

The unique features are the small bells on the inside to make you hear the movement of the ball and have 8 small holes that make the sound heard better by hitting the ground or rolling the ball.

goalball ball

– Sales

Although blind, not everyone has total blindness. To give more justice to the sport and to be able to play together, a sale is used so that everyone is on an equal footing.

Substitutions and Requests for Time

Currently, 4 substitutions can be made during the game, and one of them must be done in the first half. If this does not happen then it decreases to 3.

As for the time requests, each team is entitled to 3 per match, having a duration of 45 seconds.

If the game is for extra time, 1 is entitled to the same length of time.

Referees and Staff

There are many referees and other support in a game of goalball, being:

  • 2 referees, who are responsible for all decisions about the game and control the progress of the game.
  • 2 timekeepers, being responsible for controlling the playing time and the intervals, while the second one is the one that controls the time for the attack of each team (10 seconds) and also the requests of time requested by the trainers.
  • 2 annotators, which have different functions. The first one records the number of goals scored and draws the minutes of the match and the other controls the number of throws made by each team.
  • 4 Line Judges, which are each at one end of one of the beacons and are intended to signal immediately when the ball leaves the field and also when the goals are scored.


Some Rules and Offenses

Let’s show some of the goalball rules, which correspond to some type of infraction:

  • If the pitcher throws the ball before the ball is allowed, the ball goes into the possession of the opponent;
  • If, when trying to pass the ball to a team-mate, he or she ends up leaving the sideline, the ball goes to the opponent;
  • If the ball passes beyond the center line when the player defends the ball or hits the post, then it goes to the opponent;
  • Among others…

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