Understanding Handball Player Positions: A Complete Guide

Written By Robert

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

Ever feel like trying to decode handball player positions is a puzzle that’s got you stumped? Trust me, you’re in good company. The game moves at lightning speed, making it all too easy to lose track of who’s playing where.

Honestly, for the longest time, I was right there with you—squinting at the screen, trying to distinguish a pivot from a winger. But then I stumbled upon this intriguing tidbit: though a handball team boasts 16 players on its roster, only seven take to the court at any given moment.

This revelation sparked my curiosity. Because let’s be real, we could all benefit from some insights into this dynamic sport. So, off I went on a research adventure and what unfolded is this guide—a straightforward breakdown of each handball position and their pivotal roles within the squad.

From goalkeeping dynamos to those swift-footed wingers, we’re about to demystify the whole setup together.. Are you ready for an honest-to-goodness chat about handball positions? Let’s dive right in!

Key Takeaways

  • Goalkeepers are the last line of defense on a handball team, using quick reflexes to block shots and even setting up counter-attacks.
  • Left and right backs play a crucial role in defense but also use strategy to disrupt the opposing team’s plays.
  • Centers act like quarterbacks, leading the team by directing plays and controlling the game’s flow.
  • Left and right wings excel at moving quickly across the court to start counterattacks or create scoring opportunities.
  • Pivots work close to the goal, finding gaps in defenses and supporting teammates by creating chances for them to score.

Detailed Analysis of Handball Player Positions

Let’s dive deep into the heart of handball, exploring every player’s role on the court. From guarding goals to scoring points, we’ll uncover what makes each position tick and how they come together as a team.


The goalkeeper, or goalie as we often call them, has one of the toughest jobs on the handball court. They’re the last line of defense, tasked with keeping the ball out of the net. With lightning-fast reflexes, they dive and leap to block shots from every direction.

Imagine having to stop a speeding ball coming at you with all that force!

They’re also unique because they’re the only ones who can touch the ball with their feet within their goal area. This special ability lets them defend against attacks in ways other players can’t.

Picture making a diving save or snagging a penalty shot out of mid-air – that’s all in a day’s work for these shotstoppers. Keeping a clean sheet is their ultimate goal.

Their role goes beyond just blocking shots; they set up plays too. A savvy keeper spots opportunities to launch counter-attacks by throwing the ball to an open teammate downfield. So next time you watch a game, keep an eye on these unsung heroes between the posts – it’s quite thrilling! Now, let’s shift our focus towards those powerful shooters: left and right backs.

Left and Right Back

Left and right back players are like the guardians of their team’s fortress. They’re the ones standing tall, making sure opponents think twice before trying to score. Their main job? To block shots and disrupt the other team’s plays.

And let me tell you, when they do it right, it’s like watching a well-oiled machine in action.

These backcourt wonders form a critical part of our defense line. It’s not just about brawn; brain plays a huge part too. They read the game, predict moves, and position themselves in just the right spot to thwart an attack.

Plus, they’re not afraid to take on defensive responsibilities head-on—tackling attackers and becoming an impenetrable barrier that rivals dread facing.

And here’s where strategy becomes key.. Left and right backs have got to be sharp with their defensive tactics—using every trick in the book to keep that ball out of our net. Sure, it’s a tough role packed full with pressure but boy does it make or break a game! Next up: let’s chat about playing center – another crucial piece in this handball puzzle.


The center position in handball is like being the quarterback on a football team. I take charge, directing play and making sure the ball gets where it needs to go. It’s about orchestrating our team’s movements, setting up plays that slice through defenses like a hot knife through butter.

Think of it as being the conductor of an orchestra where every pass is a note and each strategy, a symphony.

Controlling the flow of the game isn’t just important—it’s crucial. I distribute the ball to my teammates, initiating attacks or dialing back for defense. Leading isn’t just about barking orders; it’s about reading the game, anticipating moves before they happen.

In this role, I’m both playmaker and midfielder rolled into one, constantly flipping between defense and attack modes. It’s not just running around; it’s making those runs count.

Left and Right Wing

I’ve always been amazed by the hustle of left and right wing players in handball. These guys cover the edges of the court like it’s their own backyard, darting back and forth to kick-start counterattacks.

It’s their bread and butter, really. They weave through defenses to create just the right openings for a killer shot or pass. Talk about having eyes at the back of your head!

Now, let’s chat about substitutions. Imagine you’re playing a high-stakes game of musical chairs, but with incredible athletes waiting on the sidelines ready to jump in at any moment.

That’s how dynamic these positions are! Teams can swap out players on-the-fly, making sure there’s always fresh legs sprinting down those lateral sides. Keeps things spicy – and unpredictable – doesn’t it?.


Moving from the high-flying wings to the heart of action in handball, let’s talk about the pivot position. Often called the line player, this role isn’t just another player on the court – it’s where strategy becomes reality.

Pivots play along the 6-meter line, right in the thick of things. Their job? To find and exploit gaps in defense like a locksmith picking a lock – only with more sweat and less subtlety.

Pivots balance on a fine line between offense and defense. They’re not just there to score; they disrupt defensive lines, creating chaos and opportunities for teammates. Imagine being both the spearhead of an attack and its shield – that’s what pivots do.

Setting screens is their bread and butter, opening doors for attackers to breeze through. And when it comes to team support, they’re like that friend who always has your back, setting you up for success even if it means taking one for the team.

Offensive plays seem incomplete without them weaving magic around the 6-meter area. As part of game strategy, their influence is unmistakable—threading passes through impossible gaps or holding off defenders twice their size.

In essence, they embody what every handball squad needs: a key player who knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, making sure every move counts toward winning that game.


So, you’ve made it this far! Understanding handball positions is like learning a new language. At first, it’s all Greek to you. But spend enough time on the court, and it starts to feel like your native tongue.

Remember how we broke down each player’s role? You’re now equipped with the keys to unlock any game’s strategy. Next time you watch or play, notice the difference in your understanding—like seeing color in a previously black-and-white world.

Who knew getting into the nitty-gritty of handball could be such a blast? Let’s bring our A-game and show them what we’ve learned!

For a deeper understanding of the game, don’t miss our guide on handball referee signals.


1. What’s the job of a goalkeeper in handball?

A goalkeeper’s main gig is to block shots and keep that ball from kissing the net.

2. Can you tell me about what a winger does in handball?

Oh, wingers are like ninjas – they zip down the sides and score with slick moves.

3. What does a pivot do during a game?

Pivots are crafty; they sneak into enemy lines, ready to score or set up the play.

4. Who runs the show on the court for a handball team?

That’d be the center back – think of them as the team’s brain, planning attacks and calling shots.

5. Are defenders just about blocking shots in handball?

Nope, defenders are like guardians; besides blocking, they snatch balls and start counter-attacks.

Leave a Comment