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About Team Handball

What Is Team Handball?
The sport has been compared to basketball, hockey, soccer, water polo and rugby and sometimes confused with the game of handball that features two players, four walls and one rubber ball. There are no walls in team handball; the object is to throw a ball past a goalkeeper into a net for a goal -- worth one point -- using good teamwork and passing. team handball is fast-paced and high-scoring with lots of contact.

"It's exactly like water polo, except we are on a court and not in the water," says Derek Brown, a Washington native and member of the U.S. men's team. "You have your basketball capabilities as well as some hockey, some rugby, some soccer. Mix that all together and you have team handball."

Court Diagram
No one but the goalie is allowed inside the goal area. A player may jump into the goal area before shooting but must release the ball before landing.

Seven players per side, six court players and one goalkeeper. A maximum of 12 players may participate per side, with unlimited substitutions. Two referees officiate.

Games include two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute halftime. The clock runs; no time-outs are allowed except for injury.

Play begins with a throw-on at midcourt, which is repeated after each goal. Players may dribble the ball as in basketball but are allowed three steps before and after the dribble. Players are not allowed to play the ball with their legs below the knee or to dive on the floor to play a ball.

Defensive players are allowed to use their body to obstruct an opponent either with or without the ball. Pushing, holding, tripping and hitting are violations.

Free throws are awarded for violations; an offensive player can be penalized for charging into a defender. Free throws are taken from the point where the violation occurred, unless it occurs between the goal line and the free throw line, in which case the free throw line is used.

Size of a cantaloupe; inflated for good bounce and to give when pressed with thumb; weighs 16 ounces.

Big shooters: Usually tall, they are good leapers who shoot from the backcourt.

Middle backcourt players: Direct offense and shoot or try to penetrate the defense.

Circle runners: Screen and pick and shoot hard and fast from the six-meter line.

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