Essential Handball Rule Books and Resources for Players and Officials

Written By Robert O

Handball isn’t just a sport; it’s a showcase of human ability and the power of teamwork. 

Navigating the complex network of handball rules and guidelines isn’t easy – believe me, I understand. I’ve spent countless hours sifting through materials to gather the most crucial ones for you.

This article is your beacon through the dense rulebooks and resources every player and official should know inside out. So, lace up your sneakers, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in together!

Key Takeaways

  • The IHF Handball Rules Book is crucial for fairness and fun in the game, updating with changes like electronic timeouts by July 1, 2024.
  • One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball sets clear and updated standards for playing one-wall handball, including court dimensions and equipment rules.
  • “Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball)” by IHF explains everything from basic play to referee signals, ensuring everyone understands what’s happening on the court.
  • The Handball Rules Resource keeps players and officials up to date with the latest adjustments in rules as recently as January 2024.
  • Lance Lowy’s “Handball Handbook” breaks down complex rules into simple parts, helping players and referees at all levels improve their understanding of the game.

The IHF Handball Rules Book

A group of handball players studying rules book on court.

The IHF Handball Rules Book is like a treasure map for players and officials. It shows you how to play fair and win right.

Overview and importance of the IHF Handball Rules Book

The IHF Handball Rules Book is like a guide for playing the game right and staying fair. It’s packed with everything players, coaches, and officials need to know about indoor handball.

From what gear you must wear to how the game runs, this book covers it all. Think of it as your go-to handbook for avoiding fouls, understanding penalties, and making sure everyone enjoys the game.

Also, with big changes coming on July 1, 2024 – like updates highlighted in yellow – this book keeps everyone in the loop. For example, there are new ways teams can call time-outs using electronic devices that talk to the scoreboard system.

Plus, goals now have to keep balls from flying out when scored. By sticking close to these guidelines from the International Handball Federation (IHF), matches turn out better for everyone involved.

Highlights of the IHF Handball Rules Book

I just finished reading the IHF Handball Rules Book – it’s packed with must-know info for any handball player or official. This book sets the standard for how the game should play out on the court, keeping everything fair and fun.

Here are some key points I found really interesting:

  1. The book lays down exact measures for the court. It tells us how big each zone and line should be. This way, everyone plays on a similar field, no matter where they are.
  2. It specifies that only official USHA balls can use in matches. This rule makes sure that every game is fair since all players use the same kind of ball.
  3. Players must wear gloves in most matches to keep the ball dry. This helps everyone grip and throw more easily.
  4. Eye protection is a must – have for all players at all times during a game to prevent injuries.
  5. The rules give specific duties to the tournament director and Chief of Referees. They make sure that games run smoothly and that referees enforce rules properly.

These points help maintain fairness and safety in handball, keeping the excitement alive in every match.

Next up, let’s explore what makes one-wall handball unique with insights from the One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball.

One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball

A well-equipped one-wall handball court in a bustling cityscape.

The One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball is a game-changer for players and referees alike. It lays out clear, easy-to-follow guidelines that make playing and officiating one-wall handball straightforward and fair.

Overview and significance of the One-Wall Rulebook

This One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball is a game-changer. It sets the stage for all the action, detailing how we play one-wall handball. This includes everything from court size to what kind of balls and gloves we need to use.

The USHA makes sure these rules are fresh, updating them often on their site.

One cool part? They’re strict about using only official or approved balls in all their competitions. And they don’t stop there – they have specific dos and don’ts on what players wear and how they should gear up.

Knowing this stuff means you’re ready to play by the book, making every match fair and square.

Next up, let’s dive into the Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball) by IHF…

Key takeaways from the One-Wall Rulebook

I recently got my hands on the One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball, and I was amazed. This guide is a game-changer for everyone involved in handball. Let me share some key points that stood out to me:

  1. Court Dimensions are Crucial – The rulebook lays out clear specs for the court size. Knowing the exact dimensions gives players and officials solid ground rules.
  2. Serving Rules Make or Break the Game – It explains how players must serve, which is vital in starting off the game right.
  3. Scoring System Details – Understanding how points are scored during serves or rallies clears up any confusion during gameplay.
  4. Handling Timeouts – Guidelines on when and how timeouts can be called help manage the pace of the game.
  5. Dead Ball Situations – The book clarifies what constitutes a dead ball, ensuring smooth play continuation.
  6. Penalties and Disciplinary Actions – It outlines possible penalties for unsporting behavior, keeping the game fair and respectful.
  7. Game Variations for Different Player Counts – Whether it’s singles, cutthroat, or doubles, there are specific rules for each setup.
  8. Injury Protocols are Clear – Knowing how to deal with injuries during a match is critical for player safety.
  9. Tiebreaker Clarifications – The tiebreaker rules ensure every game has a clear winner.
  10. Sidebar Protocols Help Maintain Order – Where players stand when not active in play keeps everyone organized.
  11. Playoff Rules Keep Competitions Fair – Understanding playoff structuring helps in organizing tournaments better.
  12. Forfeits and How They’re Handled – Guidelines on forfeited games ensure fairness in tournament progressions.

Exploring these insights from the One-Wall Rulebook has made it clear that knowing these rules inside out can significantly impact your understanding and approach to the game—whether you’re playing, officiating, or just a fan looking to understand more about handball dynamics.

Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball) by IHF

The “Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball) by IHF” serves as your go-to guide for understanding how indoor handball works. It breaks down everything from basic play rules to intricate referee signals, making sure you’re well-informed whether you’re on the court or cheering from the sidelines.

Overview and relevance of the Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball)

Indoor handball thrives on clear rules set by the International Handball Federation (IHF). These guidelines touch on every game aspect, from the court size to how long games last. They also cover what gear players need and how injuries get handled.

Plus, there’s a section for each signal referees use to talk during matches. This makes sure everyone – players, refs, and fans – knows what’s happening.

Whether it’s about stopping play or handling unsporting behavior, these rules keep the game clean and competitive. They even tell us about player switches and where they should happen to not interrupt the flow of play.

For places that host matches, there are specs for courts and nets so every game feels just right no matter where it is played. Understanding these principles doesn’t only help with playing or watching; it helps anyone dive deeper into this fast-paced sport without feeling lost at all.

Salient points from the Rules of the Game (Indoor Handball)

Diving deep into the Rules of the Game for indoor handball reveals a treasure trove of crucial information. I’ve pulled out the most important bits to share with you.

  1. Team size matters – Each team has seven players on the court, including one goalkeeper. Keeping teams fair and matches exciting hinges on this rule.
  2. The game’s duration is clear-cut – A standard match lasts 60 minutes, divided into two halves of 30 minutes each. This timing keeps the game fast-paced and engaging.
  3. Substitutions can happen anytime – Teams can switch players as much as they want, making strategies flexible.
  4. Protective gear is non-negotiable – Players must wear protective eye wear. This rule prioritizes safety above all else.
  5. The playing area is specific – It details a rectangular court with goal areas that only goalkeepers can enter. Knowing where you can and cannot go is key.
  6. Handling the ball has rules – Players can hold the ball for up to three seconds or take three steps without dribbling it. This keeps the game moving swiftly.
  7. Scoring goals involves strategy – A goal is scored when the ball crosses the opponent’s goal line within the frame of the goal; understanding what counts as a score sharpens tactics.
  8. Breaking rules leads to penalties – For minor infractions, free throws are given; more serious ones might result in two-minute suspensions or even penalty throws.
  9. Referee decisions are final – They have complete authority during a match, so arguing with them isn’t wise.

I hope this breakdown helps you grasp indoor handball’s essential elements whether you’re playing, coaching, or just enjoying watching games!

Handball Rules Resource

For anyone looking to dig deeper into the world of handball rules, the Handball Rules Resource is your go-to guide. It’s packed with everything you need, from basic regulations to in-depth strategies, making it perfect for players and officials at all levels.

Overview and relevance of the Handball Rules Resource

The Handball Rules Resource is like a treasure chest for the handball world. It covers everything from how big the play area should be to how long games last and different game situations.

This tool makes sure everyone—players, coaches, and referees—knows exactly what’s going on during a match. It also clears up any confusion about the rules. Imagine playing or watching a game where no one is quite sure of the guidelines—that would be chaos! Thankfully, this resource provides clarifications that make understanding specifics easier.

I find it super helpful because it uses simple language to explain things. This means you don’t need to be an expert to get it; even fans who are new can learn a lot. Plus, since changes were made as recently as January 2024 and they keep updating their website with new info, you’re always in the loop with the latest rules adjustments.

Whether you’re dealing with dead-ball situations or figuring out penalties, this guide has your back.

Essential points from the Handball Rules Resource

I’ve been on the lookout for great resources to amp up my handball game. And guess what? I found some gold in the Handball Rules Resource. Let’s dive into its most important points.

  1. Serving is a big deal. You have to bounce the ball once before hitting it. This starts every rally and can score points if done right.
  2. You need two wins. A match isn’t over until one side grabs two games by reaching 21 points first.
  3. Gloves keep things fair and dry, except with bigger balls where they’re not needed.
  4. Ball choice matters too. Only balls approved by USHA are allowed during their events.
  5. Playing solo or with friends is okay! Handball can be singles, cutthroat (that’s three players), or doubles.
  6. The person in charge at tournaments makes sure everyone follows the official rules.
  7. There’s a right way to score points—either through an ace serve or by winning rallies.

Each point opens up more about how playing field standards, gear requirements, and match structures shape our game. Keep these insights close, and you’ll navigate your next match like a pro!

Handball Handbook by Lance Lowy

The “Handball Handbook” by Lance Lowy is a must-read. It breaks down the game into simple parts everyone can understand.

Overview and importance of the Handball Handbook

Lance Lowy’s Handball Handbook is a game-changer. It gives players and officials full details on handball rules, making it easier for everyone to understand the game. This book has everything – from hand signals that referees use during games to clear explanations of tricky rules.

It even talks about the right sizes for courts and goals, so every match feels fair no matter where you play.

You can find this handbook in many languages on the IHF website. That means players and refs from all over can learn what they need to know. The book makes sure communication between team members and officials is crystal clear with its detailed hand signals section.

Plus, it lays out all the specifics for playing areas and equipment size, keeping things consistent across different venues.

Highlights from the Handball Handbook

Moving from the broad strokes to the specifics, the “Handball Handbook” by Lance Lowy turns out to be a treasure chest of insights. This book breaks down the complex game into digestible pieces. Here’s what stands out:

  1. The basics made easy – The book starts with handball in its simplest form. It talks about how the game works, for singles, doubles, and cutthroat. You learn how scoring happens, from an ace serve to winning a rally.
  2. Gear up right – There’s a big focus on using the right equipment. Gloves are a must to keep the ball dry, but not in every match. Plus, wearing protective eye gear is non-negotiable for safety.
  3. Rule deep dive – Lowy goes into each rule with detail and clarity. From dead ball scenarios and delay-of-game penalties to handling unsportsmanlike conduct on court.
  4. Leading by example – The role of a tournament director gets its spotlight too. It shows how they make sure all official rules are followed through an event.
  5. Penalties explained – Understanding penalties and disciplinary actions becomes straightforward here. It sheds light on why certain actions result in specific consequences.

This handbook acts as both a guide and mentor for anyone involved in handball, be it players or officials, making complex rules seem like second nature over time.

Specific Aspects of Handball Rules

Digging into the rules of handball gets really interesting when we hit the specific parts. They make or break a game – talking about dead ball situations, how players should act to avoid delays, and what counts as unsporting behavior.

Plus, there’s stuff on how to handle injuries like concussions safely, managing timeouts well, and making fair penalty calls. This section peels back layers on those unique handball situations that can sometimes stump even seasoned fans and players.

Dead ball rules

I love handball, and I know you do too. Understanding the dead ball rules can really make a difference in how we play and enjoy the game. Here are the basics you need to know:

  1. A dead ball happens when it goes out of bounds. The other team gets to throw it back in.
  2. The game stops for a dead ball after a goal is scored. The team who got scored on starts with the ball again.
  3. If the referee calls a foul, that’s also a dead ball situation. The team fouled against gets possession.
  4. Players can’t move the boundary markers during play to stop the ball from going out of bounds.
  5. During an injury timeout, if someone needs medical help on the court, that’s a dead ball moment too.
  6. When there’s equipment on the field—like a broken sweatband—that shouldn’t be there, play pauses until things are clear again.
  7. If players argue or fight, referees will stop the game right away.

Each point here makes sure everyone plays fair and safe. Plus, knowing these rules keeps the game flowing smoothly without any confusion about what should happen next!

Delay-of-game rules

Moving on from the dead ball rules, let’s dive into the delay-of-game regulations. These rules are here to make sure the game flows well, without unnecessary stops or pauses. They help keep things fair and fast-paced.

  1. Starting late: A team must be ready to play at the scheduled time. If they’re not, officials can penalize them.
  2. Taking too long for actions: Players have a set amount of time for certain actions, like throwing-ins or free throws. Going over this can lead to a turnover.
  3. Goalkeeper delays: The person guarding the goal has only three seconds to put the ball back into play after saving it.
  4. Stalling: Teams can’t just pass the ball around without trying to score when they’re leading. Officials watch for this tactic and can call penalties.
  5. Substitution slow-downs: Swapping players should be quick and smooth. Dragging it out results in a penalty.
  6. Restarting after goals: After a team scores, the other team needs to restart play quickly. Hanging back too long is not allowed.

These key points ensure that handball stays exciting and engaging for both players and fans alike by reducing delays and keeping the action going strong!

Unsporting behaviour rules

After talking about delay-of-game rules, it makes sense to discuss unsporting behavior rules. These guidelines ensure fair play and respect among players, officials, and fans. Let’s get into the unsporting behavior rules in handball.

  1. Respect is key – Players must always show respect towards referees, opponents, and teammates. This means no arguing with decisions or using foul language.
  2. Play fair – It’s important not to cheat or use any tricks to gain an unfair advantage.
  3. Keep calm – Losing your temper can lead to penalties. Players should stay cool, even in tough situations.
  4. Safety first – Any action that could hurt someone is off-limits. This includes hitting or pushing on purpose.
  5. Equipment matters – Wearing the right eye gear is a must for safety. Make sure it meets the standards.
  6. Be on time – Players need to warm up in the court at least 10 minutes before their match starts.
  7. Listen to the line judges – They have a big job calling faults and out-of-bounds balls.
  8. Rules outside the book – If something’s not in the rule book, the referee makes the call but can be overruled by higher-ups.

These rules keep handball fun and safe for everyone involved. Following them helps everyone enjoy the game more and keeps things

Concussion and injury rules

Playing handball is a blast, but getting hurt isn’t. Protecting ourselves and others on the court matters a lot. Here’s what every player needs to know about concussion and injury rules in handball.

  1. Always wear protective eyewear – Protective goggles are a must-have for all players. They shield our eyes during the game. If you don’t wear them right, you could get penalized.
  2. Know the signs of a concussion – Players should learn how concussions can happen and what symptoms to watch for. These include headaches, dizziness, and trouble remembering things.
  3. Stop playing if there’s an injury – If anyone gets hurt, the game stops immediately. This gives everyone time to check on the injured person.
  4. Medical checks are key – After an injury, especially with suspect concussions, players need approval from a health professional before they can play again.
  5. Report all injuries – Coaches or team officials must note down any injuries that occur during the game. Keeping records helps understand what happened and prevents it from happening again.
  6. Follow return-to-play guidelines – Returning too soon after an injury can be dangerous. Players must follow specific steps before they get back into the game to ensure they’re truly ready.
  7. Learn proper techniques – To lessen injuries, players should practice safe playing techniques taught by experienced coaches.

Handball is super fun when we all stay safe and look out for each other on the court!

Timeouts and sideline rules

I love watching and playing handball, and I’ve learned a lot about the game’s rules. Today, I want to talk about timeouts and what happens on the sidelines.

  1. Teams get to call timeouts. This lets them plan and think of new ways to play during a match.
  2. Each team can call a certain number of timeouts in a game. The rule book says how many they get.
  3. A coach or player uses a specific hand signal for a timeout. Everyone on the team needs to know this signal.
  4. The referee must approve the timeout before it starts. Play stops only after the referee says so.
  5. During a timeout, players can talk with their coach, drink water, and rest for a moment.
  6. Timeouts last for one minute. Everyone must be ready to play again when the time is up.
  7. Sideline rules are strict too. Players and coaches must stay within their area.
  8. Only certain people can stand or move along the sidelines during a game.
  9. If someone breaks sideline rules, the team can get a penalty. This could change the game’s outcome.
  10. Hand signals help teams communicate with referees from the sidelines without shouting or leaving their spots.

Understanding these rules helps players and fans enjoy the game more, knowing exactly what’s happening during timeouts and on the sidelines!

Penalty rules and judgments

Moving on from the timeouts and sideline rules, we now dive into the crux of handball – penalty rules and judgments. This part focuses on how officials decide on violations and what penalties they impose.

  1. Types of Penalties:
  • Minor fouls earn a free throw for the other team.
  • Serious offenses might lead to a two – minute suspension or even a disqualification if really bad.
  • Referees use their judgment to call fouls based on actions like delay of game or unsportsmanlike behavior.
  • They watch closely for any rules being broken during play.
  • A player’s third suspension in a game leads to disqualification.
  • Teams play with one less player during suspensions, which can change the game’s flow.
  • Acts that show disrespect towards referees or opponents draw penalties.
  • These include arguing with officials or using rude gestures.
  • Not resuming play quickly enough leads to penalties.
  • Holding the ball too long without attempting to score is another example.
  • Referees often have difficult decisions, especially when actions happen fast.
  • Their calls can greatly affect the outcome of the match.
  • Understanding what constitutes a foul requires experience and knowledge.
  • Officials must make quick decisions that are fair and consistent.

Each rule and judgment in handball aims to keep the game fair and safe for everyone involved. It’s about balancing strictness with understanding the spirit of the game.

Handball Penalties and Disciplinary Actions

Handball is a fast-paced game, and with that speed comes the need for clear rules and penalties to keep things fair. Protective eyewear is one rule you can’t ignore. If a player steps onto the court without it, they risk forfeiting the match.

This shows how seriously safety is taken in this sport. Then there’s serving–mess this up, and an “out serve” could be called against you, affecting your team’s chances of scoring.

Video Replay Regulations play a big part too. Referees use these to make sure no crucial action misses their eyes during the heat of gameplay. This tool isn’t just about catching mistakes; it ensures every decision on the court stands up to scrutiny.

Additional Resources for Players and Officials

For players and officials looking to dive deeper, many more resources await. These include extra guidelines from the International Handball Federation on gameplay specifics like tiebreakers, game forfeitures, and how playoff games work.

You’ll also find helpful info on organizing round robin tournaments and making sure everyone stays safe with risk evaluation guides. Don’t stop here; keep exploring to become even better at handball!

IHF (International Handball Federation) resources

I want to share with you the treasure trove of resources from the IHF. These gems are perfect for players, coaches, and referees who love handball.

  1. Documents for Indoor Handball – The IHF offers a wide range of paperwork for indoor handball. This includes game rules, guidelines on gear that players can wear, and how teams call timeouts. They pay attention to every detail to make sure games are fair and fun.
  2. Coming Changes in Game Rules – A fresh set of rules for indoor handball will begin on July 1, 2024. It’s exciting! These updates ensure the sport stays fresh and challenging for everyone.
  3. Gear Guidelines – There’s a clear list of what players can and cannot wear during indoor handball games. Safety is key here. This ensures players don’t wear anything that could hurt themselves or others during a game.
  4. Timeout Technologies – For indoor matches, specific technologies help manage team timeouts better. This means less confusion about when teams can take a break to strategize.
  5. Beach Handball Rules – Not all handball is played indoors! There are detailed rules for beach handball too. These include what athletes need to wear and even the kind of sand used! It makes beach games as professional as indoor ones.
  6. Wheelchair Handball Rules – Handball is for everyone! There are special regulations for wheelchair handball, making sure players who use wheelchairs have a great time playing this awesome sport.
  7. Resources on Tiebreakers and Playoffs – Sometimes games end in ties, but there needs to be a winner! The IHF provides materials on how tiebreakers work, along with rules for playoffs and round robin events.
  8. Risk Assessment Guides – Playing safe is important in any sport. That’s why there are guides on assessing risks before games start. It helps prevent injuries so everyone can enjoy playing without worry.

Exploring these resources has taught me so much about the complexities and joys of handball at every level of play!

Resources on tiebreakers, forfeits, and playoff rules

We just talked about the IHF’s vast resources. Now, let’s look into something equally crucial. Knowing about tiebreakers, forfeits, and playoffs isn’t just helpful—it’s essential for both players and officials in handball. The IHF website is a goldmine for this information, available in many languages.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Understanding Tiebreakers:
  • Tiebreaker rules ensure fair competition. They come into play when teams have equal points.
  • The IHF details various methods to break ties: goal differences, head-to-head records, and more.
  • Teams can forfeit games for reasons like unsportsmanlike behavior or not following tournament rules.
  • Forfeits usually mean a loss is recorded against the offending team.
  • Playoffs up the ante in handball competitions. The rules here are stricter.
  • Understanding these playoff regulations ensures teams know how to prepare and what to expect.
  • Accessibility is key. That’s why the IHF offers these documents in several languages.
  • This move makes sure everyone has access to the same critical information.
  • Round robin setups have their unique challenges.
  • Knowing how tiebreakers work here is critical for determining which teams advance to later stages.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct doesn’t just affect game outcomes; it impacts team standings too.
  • Learning about disciplinary actions helps maintain a respectful playing environment.
  • Player safety comes first, always.
  • Officials must stay informed on managing injuries and concussions during high – stakes games.

Each point above ensures that both new and seasoned handball enthusiasts grasp the complex parts of gameplay without getting lost in jargon or dense text blocks. Knowledge of these areas makes sure everyone plays by the book and enjoys the sport to its fullest!

Resources on round robin events and risk assessment

I found some super useful stuff on the IHF website. They have everything you need to understand round robin events and risk assessment in handball. Here’s what caught my eye:

  1. Detailed guides on organizing round robin tournaments – These help you set up matches so every team plays each other once. It keeps things fair and exciting.
  2. Risk assessment documents in multiple languages – Safety first, right? These papers show you how to spot risks at events and tackle them head-on.
  3. Clear explanations of hand signals for game situations – Knowing these signals makes it easier to follow what’s happening during a match, whether you’re playing or watching.
  4. Updates on substitution area rules – Subs are crucial in keeping the game fresh. The guidelines make sure teams swap players smoothly, without any confusion.
  5. Standards for playing courts and goals – This info ensures that all games play out on courts that meet professional standards, making every match fair.

Next up, let’s talk about handling penalties like a pro…


Understanding handball rules is key for both players and officials. The IHF Handball Rules Book, One-Wall Rulebook by US Handball, and others lay out everything you need to know. They cover game basics, penalties, and even what gear you should wear.

These guides are your go-to resources for mastering the sport. With these books in hand, stepping onto the court becomes less confusing and more fun. Whether on defense or aiming to score, knowing these rules will make you a better team member or referee.

Stay informed, stay ahead of the game!


1. What happens if a player plays the ball out of order in handball?

When a player plays the ball out of order, it’s considered a violation. Officials might pause the game and give possession to the opposing team. It’s crucial for players to know their turn to avoid these mistakes.

2. Where can I find rule books on handball?

Rule books for handball are available online through official sports organization websites. They provide detailed guidelines on how to play, including what happens if someone plays the ball out of order.

3. Are there resources for officials to learn more about enforcing rules?

Yes, officials have access to training materials and workshops designed specifically for them. These resources help with understanding complex rules, like managing situations when a ball is played out of order.

4. How often do handball rules change?

Handball rules can evolve, so it’s important for players and officials alike to stay updated with the latest rule books and resources. This ensures everyone knows current standards, including procedures around playing the ball out of order.

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