The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Players Positions

Handball Positions for 7 Players

A full squad in a handball team consists of 14 players. But only seven play on court, each with differing roles and positional responsibilities.

PLAYING POSITIONS IN HANDBALL: There are 7 handball positions participating in the game at any one time.

The group of players who play on the pitch will include one goalkeeper and six outfield players.

Outfield players in handball include 2 full backs, 2 wingers, a circle runner, and a center player.

Some players wear a number on the back of their shirt. They will use it for positional identification.

Explanation: The handball equipment list allows each player to choose the shirt number at the start of the season. But, team numbers do not correspond to any particular positions in handball for the modern game.

Goalkeeper Handball Positions (number 1)

The goalkeeper is the player with the responsibility of defending the goal. He or she can do so, using almost any part of their body.

Goalkeepers are the only team member who can touch the ball 'legally' with their feet. Thus, a good handball goalkeeper will stop or deflect shots from the opposition. Their reactions should be quick, agile, and they should know how to read the game.

Left and Right Wing (number 2 & 7)

The player occupying the left wing would usually be right-handed. They cover the left hand side of the court. Whereas the right wing player will usually be a left-handed player. Their role is covering the right hand side of the pitch.

Diagram Showing Team Handball Positions on the CourtThese wing players stand on the far left and right side of the defense while the team is defending (along the touch line).

They initiate counter-attacks along the lines when the team pushes forward.

As a rule, the left and right wing players are smaller than their team mates. But, they are usually very fast and agile patrolling the lateral sides of the court.

They typically have excellent technical skills with a high degree of wrist flexibility for shot control.

Left and right wingers are busy countering their opposing numbers. They are always looking to create openings for others in attack mode. They are best known for making shots at goal from difficult wide angles.

Left and Right Back (number 3 & 6)

The left and right backcourt players form a large part of the back line. They would stand to the left and right of the center back. As a rule both backcourt members will have a rather imposing build and often the largest players on team.

Together with the center, they all form a wall of defensive power and accuracy. Their main role is trying to prevent the opposition from shooting.

When defending, they try to block shots and cover the circle runner. These handball players positions become free-scoring long-range shooters when the team is attacking.

Handball Position Center (number 4)

Often referred to as the center-back or center-half, this player occupies the middle of the court - as a rule. The center spearheads the attacks and shoots or tries to penetrate the defence.

The player in this handball position is also called the 'team point guard'. This is according to common handball terminology. The player handles a blocking role of the opposition's pivot, while the team is defending.

Center players occupy the creative European handball positions of playmaker. It is typical for them to direct play in a handball defense and attack.

Pivot Handball Positions (number 5)

The role of a pivot in handball is that of an attacking player. The pivot player is also called the 'line player'. These handball positions play most of the game along the 6 meter line at the opposition baseline.

This circle runner (or pivot) forms a close partnership with the centre back. They both try to exploit gaps and weaknesses in the defence of the opponents. Number 5 in handball is also required to shoot and often has to do so while unbalanced or in the air.

They would generally play in front of their defense trying to intercept the ball. A pivot would also try to prevent the opponents from passing when they attack.

The circle runner is quick and gets in among opposing defenders. Their chief role is either creating openings for teammates or getting into a good scoring position themselves.

Substitutes and Roles of Officials in Handball

Check the codified handball rules and regulations for player substitutions. They can occur at any time during the game and without limits or stoppage time. Seven substitutes are usually allowed on the sidelines for each team.

A substitute cannot begin playing until the player they are swapping for has left the pitch. This is one of the main handball court rules that apply to player substitutions.

There are four handball officials and their duties vary. They comprise of a scorekeeper, a timekeeper, and two referees. The chief role of handball officials is controlling the play while at close quarters.

Team Handball Positions and Number of Players