Handball (also known as team handball, European handball, or Olympic handball) is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six players and a goalkeeper) pass and bounce a ball to throw it into the goal of the opposing team. The team with the most goals after two periods of 30 minutes wins.
The team handball game of today was formed by the end of the 19th century in northern Europe, primarily Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden. The Dane Holger Nielsen drew up the rules for modern handball (håndbold) in 1898 and published them in 1906, and R.N. Ernst did something similar in 1897.
Another set of team handball rules was published on 29 October 1917 by Max Heiser, Karl Schelenz and Erich Konigh from Germany. After 1919 these rules were improved by Karl Schelenz. The first international games were played under these rules, between Germany and Belgium for men in 1925 and between Germany and Austria for women in 1930.
In 1926, the Congress of the International Amateur Athletics Federation nominated a committee to draw up international rules for field handball. The International Amateur Handball Federation was formed in 1928. The International Handball Federation was formed in 1946
Men's field handball was played at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin at the request of Adolf Hitler. It was removed, to return as team handball for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Women's team handball was added at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
The International Handball Federation organized the men's world championship in 1938 and every 4 (sometimes 3) years from World War II to 1995. Since the 1995 world championship in Iceland, the competition has been every two years. The women's world championship has been played since 1957. The IHF also organizes women's and men's junior world championships.
Handball is played on a court 40 meters long by 20 meters wide (40m x 20m), with a goal in the center of each end. The goals are surrounded by a near-semicircular area, called the zone or the crease, defined by a line six meters from the goal. A dashed near-semicircular line nine meters from the goal marks the free-throw line. Each line on the court is part of the area it encompasses. This implies that the middle line belongs to both halves at the same time.
The goal posts and the crossbar must be made out of the same material (e.g. wood or aluminium) and feature a quadratic cross section with a side of 8 cm. The three sides of the beams visible from the playing field must be painted alternatingly in two contrasting colors which both have to contrast against the background. The colors on both goals must be the same.
Each goal must feature a net. This must be fastened in such a way that a ball thrown into does not leave or pass the goal under normal circumstances. If necessary, a second net may be clasped to the back of the net on the inside.
If a player contacts the ground inside the goal perimeter he must take the most direct path out of it. However, should a player cross the zone in an attempt to gain an advantage (e.g. better position) his team cedes the ball. Similarly, violation of the zone by a defending player is only penalized if he does so in order to gain an advantage in defending.
|Size||Used by||Circumfence (in cm)||Weight (in g)|
|III||Men and male youth older than 16||58–60||425–475|
|II||Women, male youth older than 12 and female youth older than 14||54–56||325–375|
|I||Youth older than 8||50–52||290–330|
Though not officially regulated, the ball is usually resinated. The resin improves the ability of the players to manipulate the ball with a single hand like spinning trick shots. Some indoor arenas prohibit the usage of resin since many products leave sticky stains on the ground.
A standard match for all teams of 16 and older has two periods of 30 minutes with a 10 minute half-time. Teams may switch sides of the field, as well as benches. For youths the game duration is:
However, national federations of some countries may differ in their implementation from the official guidelines.
If a decision must be reached in a particular match (e.g. in a tournament) and it ends in a draw after regular time, there are at maximum two overtimes of 2 x 5 minutes with a 1 minute break each. Should these not decide the game either, the winning team is determined in a penalty shootout.
The referees may call timeout according to their sole discretion, typical reasons are injuries, suspensions or court cleaning. Penalty throws should only trigger a timeout for lengthy delays as a change of the goalkeeper.
Each team may call one team timeout (TTO) per period which lasts one minute. This right may only be invoked by team in ball possession. To do so, the representative of the team lays a green card marked by black “T” on the desk of the timekeeper. The timekeeper then immediately interupts the game by sounding an accoustic signal and stops the time.
The teams are usually between both referees. The referees stand diagonally aligned so that each can observe one side line. Depending on their positions one is called "field referee" and the other "goal referee". These positions automatically switch on ball turnover. They physically exchange their positions approximately every 10 minutes (long exchange) and change sides every 5 minutes (short exchange).
Two additional judges support the referees. Their desk is located in between both benches. Secretary and timekeeper attend to formal things like keeping track of goals and suspensions or starting and stopping the clock. They also have an eye on the benches and notify the referees on exchange errors.
Some national bodies as the Deutscher Handball Bund (DHB, "german handball federation") allow substitution in junior teams only when in ball possession or during timeouts. This restriction is intended to prevent early specialization of players to offense or defense.
Players are typically referred to by the position they playing. The positions are always denoted from the view of the respective goalkeeper, so that a defender on the right opposes an attacker on the left. However, not all of the following positions may be occupied depending on the formation or potential suspensions.Offense:
If the goalkeeper deflects the ball over the outer goal line, his team stays in possession of the ball in contrast to other sports like soccer. The goalkeeper resumes the play with a throw from within the zone ("goalkeeper throw"). Passing to your own goalkeeper results in a turnover. Throwing the ball against the head of the goalkeeper when he is not moving is to be punished by disqualification ("red card").
There exist several variations like spinning shots, angled shots, flicked shots, etc.
The usual formations of the defense are 6-0, when all the defense players line up between the 6 meter and 9 meter lines to form a wall; the 5-1, when one of the players cruises outside the 9 meter perimeter, usually targeting the center forwards while the other 5 line up on the six meter line; and the lesser common 4-2 when there are two such defenders out front. Very fast teams will also try a 3-3 formation which is close to a switching man-to-man style. The formations vary greatly from country to country and reflect each country's style of play.
The game is quite fast and includes body contact as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the goal. Contact is only allowed when the defensive player is completely in front of the offensive player, ie. between the offensive player and the goal. Any contact from the side or especially from behind is considered dangerous and is usually met with penalties. When a defender successfully stops an attacking player, the play is stopped and restarted by the attacking team from the spot of the infraction or on the nine meter line. Unlike in basketball where players are allowed to commit only 5 fouls in a game (6 in the NBA), handball players are allowed an unlimited number of "faults," which are considered good defense and disruptive to the attacking team's rhythm.
Goals are quite common in handball; usually both teams score at least 20 goals each, and it is not uncommon to have a match end 33-31. This was not true in the earliest history of the game, when the scores were more akin to that of ice hockey. But, as offensive play has improved, particularly the use of counterattacks (fast breaks) after a failed attack from the other team, goal scoring has increased.
Penalties are given to players, in progressive format, for fouls that require more punishment than just a free-throw. "Actions" directed mainly at the opponent and not the ball (such as reaching around, holding, pushing, hitting, tripping, or jumping into opponent) as well as contact from the side or from behind a player are all considered illegal and subject to penalty. Any infraction that prevents a clear scoring opportunity, will result in a seven-meter penalty shot.
Typically the referee will give a warning yellow card for an illegal action, but if the contact was particularly dangerous the referee can forego the warning for an immediate two-minute suspension. A player can only get two warnings before receiving a two minute suspension. One player is only permitted three 2-minute suspensions; after that he/she will be shown the red card.
A red card results in an ejection from the game and a two minute penalty for the team. A player may receive a red card directly for particularly rough penalties. For instance any contact from behind during a fast break is now being treated with a red card. A red carded player has to leave the playing area completely. A player who is disqualified may be substituted with another player after the two minute penalty is served. A Coach/Official can also be penalized progressively. Any coach/official who receives a 2-minute suspension will have to pull out one of his players for two minutes - note: the player is not the one punished and can be substituted in again, because the main penalty is the team playing with a man less than the other.
If a player assaults a referee, an opponent or any other person, the referee can expel the player forming a cross over his head with his arms, which will tell the player that he/she will have to leave the game completely and his team will have to play a man down for the remainder of the game. This expulsion is the most severe penalty possible in handball.
After having lost the ball during an attack, the ball has to be laid down quickly or else the player not following this rule will face a 2-minute suspension. Also gesticulating or verbally questioning the referee's order, as well as arguing with the officials decisions, will normally result in a 2-minute suspension. If it is done in a very provocative way, a player can be given a second 2-minute suspension if he/she does not walk straight off the field to the bench after being given a suspension, or if the referee deems the tempo deliberately slow. Illegal subsitution, any substitution that does not take place in the specified substitution area or where the entering player enters before the exiting player exits is also punishable with a 2 minute suspension.
Team handball defeat leaves player Laura Coenen crushed.(Originated from Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph)
Jul 28, 1996; ATLANTA _ Laura Coenen held up as bravely as she could, fighting off the agony of this bitter defeat, seeing her fondest Olympic...