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Basics of Handball [ History, Rules, … ]

History of Handball

A sport of German origin, from the nineteenth century.
Initially practiced only by women outdoors. To change that in 29 October 1919 the German Professor of the Normal School of Physical Education in Berlin, Karl Schelenz with the help of Max Heiser and Erich Konig worked to make handball a mixed and competitive sport.

For further dissemination of this project, he sent it along with the native rules of the Handball field to countries such as:
– U.S;
– Ireland;
– Italy;
– Switzerland;
– France;
(Among others)

With its “project” accepted, the handball we know practiced not only by the female but also by the male, making the sport more competitive.

The father of Handball (Karl Schelenz), is named after him because he was adapting the old Torball in the current Handball, making it a popular game in Europe.

It was quickly publicized by the fact that in the Faculty of Physical Education where Karl worked, there were many foreign students who shared the knowledge gained about sport in their respective countries.
Over time (1920 to 1930) Karl began lecturing on Handball in various schools around Europe.

History Handball

Evolution of the Game

Initially played by 11 players from each team. Currently, the FIHA, International Federation of Amateur Handball establishes as official 7 players per team.

Objective and General Rule

As in other field games, your goal is to score goals (which are considered only after they fully enter the goal) and the use of the feet is prohibited for the displacement of the ball (not counting the goalkeeper while in your area) . Currently played in large venues during the Olympic Games.


The only object that is used is a small ball (handball), which must be of leather or another synthetic material that reaches a certain weight, in order to be better handled by the players and for a better launch of it.

Constitution Of A Handball Court

The measures of the handball court are 40 meters long and 20 meters wide.

  • Lateral lines and bottom lines: Delimit the court
  • 4 meters line: Limits the goalkeeper’s performance during charges of 7 meters
  • 6 meters line: Determines the area of the goalkeeper
  • 7 meters line: Guidance the position of a shot of 7 meters
  • 9 meters line: Used in charge of faults, allows the formation of defense barriers

Handball Court

Duration Of A Handball Game

It has a duration of 60 minutes divided into 2 times of 30 minutes with intervals of 10 minutes dividing the two. In case of a tie the game is extended with two 5 minutes.

Technical Team

The game is supervised by two referees, assisted by a secretary (who is the scorer of goals and fouls) and also by a timekeeper.

Handball Rules

To see all the rules click ahead.

– Having possession of the ball, the player has the right to take only three steps. Then you must make some movement to pass the ball forward.
– It is only allowed to move more than 3 steps with pose and ball when it is continuously bounced on the ground, as it happens in a basketball game.
– The team that has the ball must go to the attack, not being able to stay with the ball in its defense to pass time.
– A player is allowed to take the ball to his opponent with only one hand holding it open. It is not allowed to take the ball out of the opponent.
– A player is allowed to block his opponent with his own body. In the event of physical assaults, the referee must score a throw of 7 meters, similar to the soccer penalty.
– A player is prohibited from staying in the goalkeeper’s area (goalkeepers). But he is allowed to jump and throw the ball in the air.

Disciplinary Sanctions

In the game, the sanctions are progressive following the order: warning, exclusion, disqualification, expulsion.

Yellow card:
It serves to warn any athlete or coach. Applied in some fouls, by complaints or when after a foul the player does not leave the ball in the indicated place, being able to vary with the criterion of each referee.

Two minutes:

This is only applied to players. Those who receive this penalty must remain out of the game for a period of two minutes (which will be controlled by the timekeeper), and after being able to return to the game with the permission of the referee’s table. During this period the team is less than one player, this punishment is generally applied to misdemeanor fouls and incorrect substitutions.

Red Card: (or disqualification)
When a Red Card is applied, the player must leave the court, neither being able to remain on the reserve bench nor to return to play. The team stays for two minutes with one player less and after can complete the team with another player. (A player who receives more than 3 “Two Minutes” during the match is automatically disqualified, undergoing all of the above)


This is an extreme resource of arbitration, used only in cases of physical and verbal aggression. The player suffering from exclusion cannot return to the court or sit on the bench, and his team remains until the end of the match with one player less.

The cases in which the game is restarted with a Referee Shot:

– Players of two teams commit anti-regulatory actions at the same time on the court.
– The ball touches the ceiling or object fixed on the court.
– The game is stopped without any infraction taking place and the ball is not in the possession of any team.
– The first or the second half has been closed before the scheduled time and the players have left the court. In this case, the handball game is resumed by a referee’s shot executed from the center of the court after the whistle. Without whistling, the center referee throws the ball up where the ball was at the time of game interruption. If the location is located in the goalkeeper’s area or in the 9m, the shot is executed from the nearest location outside the 9m line. In this shot, the players, other than one team, must be at least three meters from the referee. The two players must be on each side of the referee, each on the side of his own goal.

handball rules

Number of Substitutions

The number of substitutions is unlimited but they have to be made in the space of 4,45m that each team has especially for this, they are also made without interruption of the game and it is necessary that a player leaves completely of the court, before another enters his place, in the event of an incorrect substitution, the referee must be advised by the match official. And then the player who committed the offense receives a two-minute penalty.

Common Questions

How to Hold the Ball?

It is the most important foundation as it is the basis for all other fundamentals. It is the way to hold the ball with one hand. It should be held with the tips of the fingers (pressing the ball) open and the palm of the hand slightly concave.

How to Have a Good Reception?

Without the domain of the same, it can imply the loss of an attack phase, possibility of an enemy attack …
It should always be done with both hands parallel and slightly concave to ensure its efficiency.

For a good reception:

  • Eyes always on the ball;
  • Go against the ball;
  • Shrink your arms slightly to absorb contact with the ball;
  • The ball must be immediately protected so that the opponent can not recover it;

Most Common Errors: 

  • Wrong position of hands (palms facing each other);
  • Hold the ball with your fingers only;


Types of Pass:

  • Shoulder Pass;
  • Front Pass – medium height; 
  • Lateral pass at launch time;
  • Launch Arm Side;
  • Counter to the Launch Arm;

Pass on Pronation:

  • Front;
  • Side of the Launch Arm;
  • Step Behind The Body;
  • Pass Overhead Executor;

Pass with Two Hands:

  • Front Chest Pass;
  • Pass in Suspension;
  • Passes With Effect;


  • Progression;
  • Of Protection (being the player of back or of side to the adversary);


They can be executed in the following ways:

  • Stopped (used in 7 meters bid);
  • Suspended;
  • With falling forward;
  • With twist and fall;
  • With bearing;

More Related Articles

– Unknown Handball Trivia
– Types of Handball Throw
– Beach Handball

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