A team sport in which two teams of seven players pass a ball using their hands, with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team. It came to prominence in Scandinavia and Germany in the late 19th century before expanding across Europe.
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What is handball?

Modern handball is played on a court with a goal in the middle of each end. Goals must be scored by throwing the ball from outside the zone or while diving into it. Whilst handball is usually played indoors, outdoor variants exist such as field handball, Czech handball, and beach handball.

The game is fast and high-scoring, with professional teams tending to score between 20-35 goals per game. Body contact is permitted for the defenders trying to stop the attackers from approaching the goal.

Find out more about how to play handball formats.

Equipment needed

  • Ball
  • Goals
  • Court space (either indoors or outdoors)

A brief history of handball

Handball was first introduced at the Olympics in 1936, although it did not appear again until 1972. It has been ever-present since then, with a women’s competition introduced four years later. Goalball is considered by many to be the Paralympic equivalent of handball.

Results have been mixed. France lead the medal table with seven medals in total, with Denmark having won five medals overall.

Team GB last competed in the Olympic handball event in London in 2012. Both the men’s and women’s teams lost all five of their group matches and went out of the competition in the first stage.

Get involved

The School Games is inclusive to all young people and provides opportunities for everyone to get involved, either within school, against other local schools, or at county or regional level.

School Games Organisers

School Games Organisers (SGO) help schools coordinate appropriate competitive opportunities for all young people from Key Stage 2-4, to recruit, train and deploy a suitable workforce, and to support the development of club.

Sign up to find your local SGO

Quick and easy handball activities

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