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Team Handball Rules

Page history last edited by Helena Baert 14 years, 5 months ago


The Rules of Olympic Team Handball

  • Duration of the game
  1. Men: 2 periods of 30 min with interval of 10 min. Women and junior males: two periods for 25 min + interval of 10 min. Other players: two periods of 20 min with 10 min interval.
  2. The winning team from the referee toss has the choice to either the end of defense, or offense
  3. By referee's whistle, the game must start at the center  of the court only by passing the ball to another teammate. All players must be within their own half of the court at the beginning.
  4. After each goal is scored, the other teams will always start the game at the center of the court.
  5. A goal cannot be scored directly from a throw-on.


  • Playing the ball
  1. The ball can be played in any manner with any part of the body except below the knee. (violation = free throw)
  2. Ball cannot be held for more than 3 seconds of the player is NOT moving.
  3. The ball can be bounced once or repeatedly with either hand while moving or standing (like a dribble in basketball)
  4. Once the ball has been seized by one or two hands, it must be played off within 3 seconds or after three steps. Violation free throw
  5. Players cannot dive for rolling balls that are on the ground.
  6. The ball may be continuously rolled on the ground with one hand.
  7. When the ball has passed the touch line (side lines) the ball can be put into play by the other teach as in basketball witha throw in.
  8. If the ball is touched by the defensive player, except the goalkeeper, and travels across the goal line outside the goal, a corner throw is awarded to the attacking team. The ball is put back in play with a throw off if the goalkeeper last touched it.


  • Approach to Opponent

    Players are NOT permitted to:

  1. Block an opponent with arms, hands, or legs
  2. Hold, hit, push, run into, or jump at the opponent or to oneself in front of or endanger an opponent in any otherway (free throw is awarded)
  3. Throw the ball intentionally at an opponent or execute a dangerous feint by moving the ball toward the opponent (free throw)


  • The Goal area
  1. No player except the goalkeeper may enter the goal area.
  2. Entry of player from defending team, provided the entry is intentional  and for a clear purpose of defense, results in a penalty throw.
  3. There shall be no penalty if a player enters the goal area after playing the ball.
  4. Inside the goal-area line, the ball belongs to the goalkeeper. No other player can touch the ball.
  5. The ball can neither be thrown into one's own goal area nor to the goalkeeper (penalty throw)
  6. A ball in theair is not considered to be in the goal area.


  • The goalkeeper
  1. As long as the goalkeeper remains inside the goal area he or she is allowed to defend the goal in every possible way, including kicking the ball with the feet.
  2. The goalkeeper is allowed to leave the goal area without the ball. When he does, the same rules apply to the goalie as to the rest of the team.
  3. The goalie may not touch the ball that is lying or rolling outside the goal area.


  • Scoring
  1. A goal is made when the ball passed the goal line (in our case when it hits the mats)
  2. A goal made by the defending team is also scored a goal.
  3. After each goal, the team that did not score starts in the middle.


  • Penalty throw
  1. When the offensive player has lost a clear chance of scoring by the defensive player's foul, the offensive player is awarded a penalty throw from 23 feet
  2. During the penalty throw, no other players except the goalkeeper is allowed between the goal area line and the free throw line
  3. The penalty throw must be aimed directly at the goal


  • Free throw
  1. All violations of the rules, except the penalty throw will result in a free throw.
  2. All free throws are taken from the point where the violation has occurred, except fro violation between the free throw line and the goal area om which case the free throw is taken at the free throw line.
  3. during the free throw, players of the defensive team must stand 10 feet away
  4. A goal may be scored directly from the free throw.


  • Other rules[1]
  1. Each team must consist of 7 players including 1 goalie
  2. Each team has to wear matching, regulation uniforms.
  3. An offensive player can not enter the opponent's goalie territory with the ball in hand. If the player fails to release the ball in time, the opposite team gets a penalty shot from the free throw line.
  4. There are two referees. A court referee and a goalie referee and they are assisted by the timer and the scorer.
  5. It is illegal to keep the ball without attempting to score.
  6. There is a throw off at the beginning of the game, at half time, and after every score.
  7. You are allowed to run three steps before and after dribbling. You can only hold the ball for three seconds. No double dribbling.
  8. You are not allowed to dive on the floor after the ball. You can not endanger the opponent with the ball. You can not take the ball out of the opponents hands.
  9. There is a throw in when the ball goes out of bounds.
  10. The 7 meter throw occurs when:
    1. A foul stops a clear scoring chance.
    2. The goalie takes the ball back to his own goal
    3. player intentionally plays the ball to his own goalie.
    4.  A defensive player enters own goal area.
  11. Warnings: Red/Yellow cards: 1 warning then a 2 minute suspension. You are disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal substitution, or serious or repeated rules violations after three two minute suspensions.

     After two minutes you may replace the disqualified player.

  12. A game consists of two thirty minute halves with a ten minute halftime. Each team is allowed a one minute timeout per half.
  13. Each team has five substitutes that may be substituted at any time.




  1. (www.drwoolard.com/activities/team_handball_rules.pdf, http://members.tripod.com/usadth/rules.html)

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