Team handball

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Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team. The team with the most goals after two periods of 30 minutes wins.

Modern Handball is usually played indoors, but outdoor variants exist in the form of field handball (which was more common in the past) and beach handball. American handball and Gaelic handball are completely different sports.

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, i.e. between the offensive player and the goal. This is referred to as a player sandwich. 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 defence and disruptive to the attacking team's rhythm.

Goals are scored quite frequently; usually both teams score at least 20 goals each, and it is not uncommon for both teams to score more than 30 goals. This was not true in the earliest history of the game, when the scores were more akin to that of ice hockey[clarification needed]. But, as offensive play has improved since the late 1980s, particularly the use of counterattacks (fast breaks) after a failed attack from the other team, goal scoring has increased.


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