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City of Salford and Bolton Handball Clubs,

Salford, Manchester; and Bolton; England

 Handball Rules

Not a definitve rulebook,

more a (very) rough guide to what the game is about

So What Is Handball?

Well, its a bit like water polo, with no water! Or you might think of it as a cross between football and basketball.

Basically, its a game played by two teams of seven, whose object is to score goals by throwing a small football past a goalkeeper into a goal. It is therefore similar to football except that the ball is passed around by players using their upper body only - any contact with the ball below the knee is a foul.

A player can run with the ball, as long as they bounce it, - as in basketball. However, they can take three steps without bouncing the ball.

Players can't encroach the D shaped goal area, and generally the goalie stays within this D. This often then results in players attempting to take their three steps and jumping into this area to shoot, which is allowed as long as they are off the ground when the shot is taken.

Where the similarity with Basketball differs (apart from having goals and a keeper) is that it is a contact sport, where defenders can block an opposing attacker to prevent them shooting. This tactic means that the defending team tend to guard their own D, whilst the attacking team pass the ball around to try to find a way to attack and run in to get a clear shot on goal.

Once an attack breaks down, due perhaps to the defence intercepting a pass or the goalkeeper saving a shot, then the situation is reversed and players quickly counter attack to try to score a goal before the opposing team has had sufficient time to organise their defence.

What skills are required?

Obviously the ability to catch and throw a ball. However, because of the nature of Handball, it does mean that players with different skills and physical attributes are equally able to contribute. For instance, being tall and powerful is helpful when running in on goal, but teams often have small nimble players who are able to weave their way past a defence. So, if you are 6'6" tall and 15 stone plus, or are 5'6" tall and 7 stone dripping wet, you can still make a good handball player.

Where is it played?

Usually indoors. Although there is a "Beach Handball" variant, the British climate does not really lend itself to outdoor handball. It does not need specialist equipment, and any sports hall will suffice. There are numerous clubs around the country, usually catering for both male and female players. It is also played at national and international level.

Who do I contact for more information?

Most clubs would welcome additional players irrespective of experience. You can either contact the British Handball Association by telephoning 01706 229354, or alternatively contact Salford Handball Club. Why not fill in the on screen form which will send a message to us now - just click here.