Team Handball


    Team Handball originated in Europe in the early 1900's. The US has not dominated this sport and has high hopes of moving up in the rankings. The US Handball Men's Team goal is to be in the top 10 in the world by the year 2008. The US Handball Women's Team goal is to be in the top 10 in the world by the year 2012.


    The Federation Internationale de Handball (IHF) is the international governing body for team handball. The IHF rules are followed at the Deaflympics without exception. The IHF rules also are observed at the Special Olympics World Games with a few exceptions. The IHF web site was not operational at the time this page was developed; therefore, the USA Team Handball web site was used as the source of information about rules. The web address for USA Team Handball is

    Team handball is played by two teams of 7 players each (1 goalkeeper and 6 court players). The object of the game is to throw the ball past a goalkeeper into the opponent's goal. Players advance the ball down the court by throwing the ball. They are allowed to, run with the ball for up to three steps and hold the ball without moving for three seconds (five seconds in Special Olympics games). Players are not allowed to pull, hit, or punch the ball out of the opponent's hands, endanger an opponent with the ball, or contact the ball below the knees. Free throws are awarded to the opponent in the event of minor fouls or violations a penalty shot is awarded to the opponent when major violations are committed. Matches consist of two 30-minute periods with a 10-minute half-time interval. There are no overtime periods in team handball.

    Starting The Game

    Play is initiated by a JUMP BALL at mid court. After each score, the opposing teams goalie will throw the ball back into into play without stopping the game.

    Playing the Ball

    A player is allowed to run three steps with the ball, or hold it for three seconds, and the ball must touch three players from the same team before they can attempt a throw at the goal. A player is not allowed to play the ball with their legs below the knee. A player may not pass the ball in the air with the intention of catching it him or herself. This is an air dribble. Players are not permitted to dive on the floor to play the ball.

    Defending The Opponent

    Defensive players are allowed to use their body to obstruct an opponent either with or without the ball. Using the arms or legs to push, hold, trip or hit, however, is a violation. Offensive players are not allowed to charge into player, or a free throw is awarded.


    The entire gym is used for the game. The most important lines to know are the goalies box, in which only the goalie can be in at any time. The second line is the 3 point circle of the basketball court. To score a goal the offensive team must throw the ball from behind the three point circle or from behind the baseline behind the goal.


    the game ball. An official team handball weighs 15-17 ounces, and is 23-24 inches in circumference. We will use a foam ball in substitution of the official due to the safety of our students.