The rules of handball

The basic rules of playing handball

The rules of handball are pretty simple and are aimed at ensuring the game flows freely. We've compiled a list of some of the basic handball rules to help you get a handle on this fast-moving sport.

Basic handball rules

The six metre line

No handball player (other than the goalkeeper) is allowed in the goal area (inside the 6m line). Exceptions are after a shot on goal, when the player jumps into the area and shoots the ball before landing in the goal area.

Rules of handball


If a handball player takes more than three steps without dribbling (bouncing the ball) or holds the ball for more than 3 seconds without bouncing it, shooting or passing, then that is deemed ‘walking’ and possession is lost.

'Double dribble’

Handball players cannot receive the ball and bounce it, then hold the ball, and bounce it again. This is termed ‘double dribble’ and is against the rules.


Handball players (other than the goalkeeper) must not kick the ball. If the ball touches the foot, then possession is awarded to the opposition.

Handball fouls

No tripping, pushing, hitting, clinching, charging or holding is allowed in handball.

Free-throws in handball

These are awarded for slight infringements of the rules. All defenders are required to stay 3m (9.84ft) away from the person taking the free-throw.

Penalty-throws in handball

These are awarded when denying a clear scoring opportunity with an infringement.

Handball sanctions

Depending on the seriousness of the offenses, the referee can award players with either a yellow card (warning), suspension (2 minutes sitting out), or a red card (dismissal).

Throw-ins in handball

These are awarded after the ball has crossed a side line. It is taken by the side who did not touch it last, with the player putting one foot on the line where ball went out and passing it back into the court.

Corners in handball

A corner is taken by the attacking side when a defender has knocked the ball over the goal line (other than in the goal). The player puts one foot on the corner of the side line and the goal line and passes the ball in.

Goal-throws in handball

This occurs when the ball comes off a goalkeeper and crosses the goal line. The goalkeeper then takes the throw from within their own area.

Comments (1)

  • handball 'Great article. I was searching for these kinds of article to get help and understanding about handball. Your this article has provided details about every corner of this game. Thanks for sharing and keep it up....'

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