European Handball 101 : For Dummies

By: Gurbir, Arian, Demani

What Is European Handball?

European Handball is a team sport where one team has to score the most points to win. In order to be successful, one must follow all the rules as well as be able to work well with a team. It also requires a tactical and a skilled mindset. Each team fields seven players (six fielders and one goalie). The objective is to score the most goals and avoid allowing the other team to score. In the end of time the team with the most goals wins.

Equipment Required to Play

There is not a lot of equipment required. All you need is a court, a ball, and enough players to start a game. The court for handball is 40 metres long and 20 metres wide. The ball is usually between 54-60 cm, ranging on the division and gender playing. You also need two nets, that is usually two metres by three metres.


General Rules:

  1. Gameplay will consist of 5 players and 1 goalie; co-ed teams must play with at least 2 females (excluding the goalie).
  2. The game will start with a jump ball at centre court.
  3. Games will consist of two 20 minute halves, with a short half-time.
  4. There are no time outs permitted, exclusion: personal injury or playoffs.
  5. A goal is scored once the entire ball has crossed the line; if the ball only partially crosses over the goal line and is saved then it is not a goal.

Out of Bounds:

  1. Once the ball goes over the sidelines it is out of bounds and is awarded to the opposing team at the point it went out.
  2. On a throw-in, the ball must be passed to a teammate before a shot on goal can be attempted (i.e. no direct shots on goal from out of bounds).
  3. All defenders must stay back at least 3 feet from the in-bounder when the ball is being thrown in.


  1. Only the defending goalkeeper is allowed inside the goal crease.
  2. All shots on goal must be attempted from outside the crease (goals scored while any body part is within the crease will not count).
  3. Goalies are allowed to pass the ball forward to offensive players as long as the pass isn’t over half.

Ball Handling:

  1. Players are allowed to move with the ball for a maximum of 3 steps and then must pass to another teammate or attempt a shot on goal. (A step is considered when a player lifts any foot off the ground and places it back down, even if it is in the same spot).
  2. Players are permitted to dribble the ball for a maximum of ONE time and then must pick it up.
  3. Players are only allowed to hold the ball for 5 seconds without moving when closely guarded by a defender.
  4. A drop ball will result in a change of possession.
  5. Players may use their hands (open or closed) to catch, push or hit the ball. Use of the chest, head and knees are also permitted. However use of leg below the knee is not permitted.
  6. A player may not handle the ball more than once consecutively (not allowed to pass to oneself) unless the ball is first deflected or recovered after being hit from the player's hands by a defender.

Set-Up Procedures

1. Distribute the class into teams

2. Set up the game by putting a net on each end of the court

3. Have both teams field seven players (six fielders and one goalie)

4. Start game and play fair!

Labelled Court Diagram

The following is a labelled diagram of an official European Handball court:
Big image
Give and Go
Jumping into the crease
Elbow Movement

Tactical Video

Tactical Moves in Offense Set-play by Peter Kovacs
Handball tactics