How to play

Handball is a high octane, physical contact sport that shares many of its main properties with football and basketball – only played much, much faster.

Teams of seven-a-side – six outfield players and a goalkeeper - play on indoor courts (40m by 20m) with the aim of moving the ball by hand between team-mates and hurling it into a goal similar to those used in hockey. It’s not uncommon to see 50 goals in a single 60-minute match.

Players pass or dribble, bouncing the ball as they run - with three steps permitted in between each bounce - to move upfield, though outfield players are barred from the semi-circle around each goal.

This leads to some spectacular shots at goal, as a player in mid-air is not deemed to have entered the area until he or she hits the ground.

Players thus throw themselves forward into the semi-circle, only releasing the throw directly prior to impact. A physical sport, defenders are allowed to block their opponents, with or without the ball, so long as they don’t use hands, arms or legs to do so.

Players can control the ball with any body part above the knee and are allowed to stand still with the ball only for three seconds, though opponents can’t deliberately grab or punch the ball out of another player’s hand.