Team Handball: Techniques, Equipment & Rules

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  • 0:04 Team Handball
  • 0:22 Rules
  • 2:00 Equipment
  • 2:20 Defensive & Offensive…
  • 2:56 Conditioning Programs & Skills
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Team handball, an Olympic sport, combines aspects of basketball, hockey, and soccer to create a fast-paced, grueling team game. Learn about various aspects of this exciting sport.

Team Handball

Handball was created by mixing two cups of basketball with three cups of soccer and adding a pinch of hockey. This hybrid sport combines skills, techniques, and actions from many different sports, and it has increasingly gained popularity over the past few decades, with an estimated 19 million current handball players across the world.


Handball features two seven-player teams competing against each other. The sport is played on indoor courts with two goals situated at either end. The object of the game is to throw the ball into the other team's goal, and the team that has the most goals after two 30-minute halves wins the game.

Each game of handball begins with a throw-off. During the throw-off, each team must be on its own half of the court. The team starting with the ball selects one of its players to be the thrower, who's the person that starts with the ball. The thrower will step to the middle of the court and must place one foot on the half-court line. To being the game, the thrower can pass the ball to a teammate or they can attempt to shoot the ball into the goal. Throw-offs also occur after each goal is scored.

The field players are allowed to touch the ball with any part of their bodies, except for below the knee. Therefore, the field players are not allowed to kick the ball during play. Once a player gets the ball, they can only stand in place for a maximum of three seconds. Players have three main options with the ball: they can either dribble, pass, or shoot the ball at the goal. If a player takes more than three steps without doing any of these three options, it's considered traveling, and the other team gets the ball.

During play, only the goalie is allowed in the goal area. Sometimes called the zone or crease, this area is marked off by a semi-circle in front of the goal. Additionally, only the goalie is permitted to touch the ball when the ball is in this area.

In order to make the game safe, defensive players are not allowed to hold, hit, trip, or push the ball carrier or any other offensive player. If a player commits one of these fouls, they will receive a yellow-card which serves as a warning. A second foul can result in a two-minute suspension, and a third foul can result in a red-card, meaning the player is disqualified for the remainder of the game.


Handball is played with a leather ball that's smaller than a basketball but bigger than a baseball. Each player on a team has the same uniform, with the exception of the goalie who wears a different colored uniform. Just like many other sports, handball players often use resin on their hands to improve their grip on the ball. The goals in handball are two meters high and three meters wide.

Defensive & Offensive Strategies

The main goal of the defense is to steal the ball from the other team and ultimately prevent scoring. In order to steal the ball, a defensive player may use the flat part of their hand to knock the ball away from the opposing player as they dribble or pass downfield. Defensive players can also block opposing players with their body, preventing opponents from being able to move toward the goal.

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