The Essential Guide to Handball Rules: Everything You Need to Know

Written By Robert

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


Are you intrigued by the fast-paced, action-packed sport of handball but puzzled about the rules? I’ve been there too – a prospective player lost in the complex world of fouls, positions and gameplay.

This extensive guide is just what you need to unravel the intricacies of handball, from understanding basic regulations to uncovering strategic insights; ‘ll help make sense out of every dribble, pass and shot.

Ready for this exciting journey down handball alley? Let’s dive in!

What is Handball?

Handball is a fast-paced team sport that originated in Europe and has gained popularity worldwide. It involves two teams competing to score goals by throwing a ball into the opponent’s net, using only their hands.

History and popularity

Diving into the rich history of handball, it’s fascinating to learn that its origins trace back to ancient times in Greece and Rome. However, the modern version we’re familiar with today was meticulously shaped during the 19th century in Northern Europe.

Over time, handball’s popularity skyrocketed globally, thanks to its uniquely dynamic gameplay and strategic elements. With appearances at numerous Olympic games since 1936 and boasting millions of fans worldwide, handball stands proud as an enthralling team sport loved by many.

Participation and viewing figures

Participation in handball has been steadily growing over the years, both at the amateur and professional levels. It is a sport that attracts players of all ages, from young children learning the basics to seasoned athletes competing in competitive leagues and tournaments.

Handball’s fast-paced nature and physicality make it an exciting game to watch and play.

Viewing figures for handball has also been on the rise, with increased media coverage and accessibility through television broadcasts and online streaming platforms. Fans can now easily follow their favourite teams and players from around the world, catching all the action right from their living rooms or mobile devices.

How to Play Handball

To play handball, the objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by throwing a ball into their goal, while following a set of rules and fouls.

The object of the game

In handball, the object of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team. It’s a fast-paced sport that requires both teamwork and individual skill. As a player, my goal is to move the ball forward and try to throw it into the opponent’s goal while avoiding their defenders and goalkeeper.

Every time I successfully get the ball past their defence and into their goal, my team earns a point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. To achieve this, I need to use quick passes, accurate throws, strategic positioning, and effective communication with my teammates on the court.

It’s an exciting challenge that keeps me engaged from start to finish!

Number of players and positions

As a player, it’s important to understand the number of players and positions in handball. A standard handball team consists of seven outfield players and one goalkeeper. The outfield players are divided into various positions, each with specific roles on the court.

These positions include fullbacks, wingers, circle runners, and centres. Fullbacks primarily defend the goal area while also supporting attacks. Wingers are responsible for fast breaks and scoring goals from wide angles.

Circle runners focus on creating opportunities near the goalposts, often taking advantage of defence gaps. Centres play a crucial role in both attack and defence by distributing passes and coordinating plays.

Rules and fouls

Now let’s dive into the important rules and fouls in handball. With its fast-paced nature, handball has a clear set of regulations to ensure fair gameplay. The main objective is to score goals by throwing the ball into the opponent’s net while preventing them from doing the same.

Each team consists of seven players, including one goalkeeper and six outfield players.

There are several key rules to keep in mind during play. First, players cannot take more than three steps without dribbling or passing the ball. This promotes quick movement and strategic passing among teammates.

Fouls can occur if a player holds onto the ball for too long, takes more than three steps without dribbling or passing, or illegally contacts an opponent.

When it comes to fouls, handball follows strict guidelines to maintain fairness on the court. Common fouls include pushing an opponent with excessive force, tripping someone intentionally, or obstructing their movement while attempting to throw or catch the ball.

These fouls can result in free throws for either team depending on whether they were committed by attackers or defenders.

Handball Leagues and Tournaments

Handball Leagues and Tournaments showcase the highest level of competition in this thrilling sport, with major tournaments like the Olympics and World Championships attracting global attention.

Major tournaments and competitions

As a handball enthusiast, I’m always excited to watch the major tournaments and competitions that showcase the best teams and players in this dynamic sport. Some of the most highly anticipated events include the Olympic Games, where handball is one of the standout sports.

The World Handball Championship is another prestigious tournament that takes place every two years, bringing together national teams from around the world. Additionally, there’s also the European Handball Championship, which features top European nations battling it out for supremacy on the court.

These tournaments not only display exceptional skills and teamwork but also provide a platform for up-and-coming talents to make their mark on the international stage. Watching these thrilling matches will undoubtedly leave you impressed with this fast-paced and physical game.

Biggest handball leagues

One of the most exciting aspects of handball is its competitive leagues around the world. Some of the biggest handball leagues attract top talent and offer thrilling matches for fans to enjoy.

The German Handball Bundesliga, known for its high level of play and passionate fans, is widely considered one of the best handball leagues globally. Another prominent league is the French LNH Division 1, which features talented teams and fierce competition.

In Scandinavia, the Danish Handboldligaen and Swedish Handbollsligan showcase some exceptional talent as well. These leagues provide a platform for players to showcase their skills and give fans an opportunity to witness top-quality handball action firsthand.

Watch Handball, You’ll Be Impressed!

Get ready to be amazed by the breathtaking highlights and jaw-dropping goals in the world of handball! Discover where you can watch handball matches and experience the sheer excitement of this fast-paced sport firsthand.

Highlights and top goals

As a handball enthusiast, I can’t help but get excited about the incredible highlights and top goals that this sport has to offer. The fast-paced nature of the game allows for some truly awe-inspiring moments on the court.

From powerful shots that sail past the goalkeeper to skilled dribbling and lightning-quick passes, handball showcases the athleticism and skill of its players in every match. Whether it’s a perfectly executed jump shot or an acrobatic save by the goalkeeper, these highlights and top goals are what make handball such a thrilling sport to watch.

If you’re looking for non-stop action and jaw-dropping plays, watching handball will definitely leave you impressed!

Where to watch handball matches

As a handball enthusiast, there are plenty of options available when it comes to watching exciting matches. Major handball tournaments and leagues are often broadcasted on sports channels, making it convenient for fans to follow the action from the comfort of their homes.

Additionally, many websites and streaming platforms also provide live coverage of handball games, allowing you to catch all the thrilling moments in real time. If you prefer a more immersive experience, attending local handball matches can be a great way to witness the game up close and cheer for your favourite teams.

Whether you choose to watch online or head out to a stadium, there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the fast-paced and intense world of handball.


In conclusion, understanding the rules and regulations of handball is essential for both players and fans alike. From the history and popularity of the sport to the intricacies of gameplay, this guide has provided a comprehensive overview.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned enthusiast, mastering these essential handball rules will allow you to fully appreciate and enjoy this thrilling sport. So go ahead, grab a ball, find a court, and let the game begin!

What are the basic rules of handball?

The basic rules of handball include using only your hands to pass, catch and shoot the ball, not stepping into the goal area as a field player, and dribbling the ball while moving.

How many players are on each team in handball?

A handball team consists of seven players, including six outfield players and one goalkeeper.

What is considered a foul in handball?

Fouls in handball can include actions such as pushing, tripping or holding an opponent, impeding their movement with your body or arms, or making excessive physical contact when defending.

Can you explain the two-minute suspension rule in handball?

If a player commits a serious infringement of the rules or receives multiple minor penalties within a game, they may be given a two-minute suspension where they must leave the playing area for that duration and their team plays shorthanded until their return.

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