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Rules of Handball Explained

Handball is a fast-paced indoor team game. It is all about passing and dribbling a ball with your hands to score goals and win the game.

The information in this section explains the basic fundamentals for playing handball, the rules for the court, and how player roles differ.

How to Play Team and Olympic Handball?

Playing the basic rules of handball provides you with an energetic workout. It helps to keep your body fit and healthy.

UK handball rules and regulations allow two teams of seven players (7) with an option to use up to seven 'rolling substitutes'.

Players rush around the court with the aim of scoring the most goals. They achieve this by throwing the ball into the opponent's goal.

The International Handball Federation formed in 1946 and has governed the sport since. But in fact Denmark and Germany created the origins and codified rules of the modern game in 1906.

The England Handball Association rules popularized the indoor game around the United Kingdom. It also remains hugely popular in parts of continental Europe.

For example:

Around 20 million sporting participants enjoy playing this free flowing, high-speed, pacey team sport around the world today.

The simple rules and standardized regulations apply to both indoor, and outdoor, variations. They are otherwise called field handball and beach handball - or sometimes sandball.

Rules of Playing Handball GameRules of Handball Game

Aim of the Handball Game

The aim and basic rules for handball is to score more points than your opponent. Players must achieve this within an allocated time frame.

Handball Court Playing Field

The field of play (court) must have two goals in the center of each end and a ball. The IHF court rules determine handball pitch dimensions, which should measure 40 meters by 20 meters (131 by 66 feet).

Team Handball Rules and Regulations UKThe goal line at each end (6 meter line) divides an area between the goalkeeper and the rest of the outfield players.

Each defending goalkeeper is the only player allowed to stand on the floor in the goal zone.

Handball Basic Rules of Equipment

A semi-circle area, marked off outside each goal area, is often called the crease - or zone. A semi-circle with dashed markings is the free throw line (9 meters from goal).

The ball must be a size which fits inside players' hands. Handball balls are usually made from leather or synthetic material. The full handball equipment list includes three regulation sizes of balls.

Note: Players should use only one of these different ball specifications when playing the basic rules in handball:

Handball Players Rules

The standard handball game rules feature two teams with seven (7) players on each side. There can be no more than seven 'rolling substitutes' per team. This means there is no requirement for players to consult the referee when making substitutions.

The rules and regulations of handball player positions allow six (6) outfielders and one goalkeeper. Furthermore, all team members would need to wear appropriate attire for official games and tournament competitions.

General UK Handball Regulations

Scoring in Handball

You score a goal by throwing the ball from outside the zone into the goal (or while 'jumping'). As a rule, a lot of goals get scored. Handball teams often score between 20 and 35 goals each.

Handball Umpires and Officials

Handball rules and regulations get officiated by referees. They can award players with either a yellow card (for a warning), suspension (for 2 minutes sitting out), or a red card (for a dismissal). It depends on the seriousness of the infringement or offense committed.

Winning a Game of Handball

Winning a game in the rules of handball means you have scored more goals than your opponent. Extra periods of overtime will get played if the game ends in a draw (a maximum of two 5 minute periods).

Note: A shoot-out gets used to determine the result of the game if the scores are still level after extra time.

Advanced Handball Rules

A to Z Sports Rules and Regulations: A list of popular indoor and outdoor sport categories.
Basic Handball Rules: A guide for beginners explaining 10 simple rules of playing handball.
Handball Court Dimensions: Check out the standard court size and goal line markings.
Handball Equipment List: A concise list of equipment needed to play team handball.
Handball Questions FAQ: Find answers to all the common questions asked about handball.
Handball Positions: Check the 7 court positions with player roles and responsibilities.
Handball Terms and Definitions: An extensive list of handball terms and phrases from A-Z.
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Handball Rules and Regulations PDF: [Free Download Option]

Handball Regulations for the United Kingdom