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Lately, I’ve seen a lot of comments from mostly American people who can’t imagine what handball is. There were answers like “it’s like soccer but with hands instead of feet” or “it’s a mix between soccer and basketball” …!!

Ok.. Attention please! It’s neither like soccer nor like basketball. It’s a totally different and independent sport! And it’s actually an European sport!!! 🙂

Imagine a court 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. There is a goal (3 meters wide and 2 meters high) on the left end and on the right end of the court. There are two teams each of 6 court players and one goalkeeper who is also allowed to attack. There is a ball called ‘handball’ which has a circumference of circa 55-60 centimeter. The player stop, catch, throw, bounce and strike the ball in any direction, with any part of the body above the knees – in first place with the hands.  A match lasts two periods of 30 minutes and it has a half-time break of 10 minutes.

Some details: In front of each goal is a semi-circle line surrounding the goal in a distance of 6 meters. This area is called crease and only the defending goalkeeper is allowed to be inside. There is one exception: an attacking player who has the ball is allowed to jump into this area to score a goal but the ball must have left his hand before he gets in contact with the ground.

Two more lines are there in front of the goal – the seven-meter line and the free-throw line. Should a defender contact an attacker in the goal perimeter, his team is penalized with a direct attempt at the goal, with only one attacker on the seven-meter line and the defending goalkeeper involved.

The free-throw line which is a dashed semicircular line nine meters from the goal. The play is restarted after a fault with all attacking players outside this line, and the defensive players at least three meters from the ball. Play restarts at the site of the fault unless the fault is inside this region, in which case play restarts at the nearest point on this nine meter line.

After a goal, the team conceding the goal restarts the game with a pass off from center court.

The whole match consists of attacks and defenses. While one team attacks the goal of the other team the attacked team defends its goal. When a defending player can catch the ball, they take turns and the team who was defending before starts an attack while the other team defends its own goal. It’s a fast and maybe a bit a rough game.

There are much more details and rules but these are the most important ones to understand the game.

By the way, Gro Hammerseng, the woman with the Nr. 10, who has the ball in the pictures was voted as World Handball Player of the year 2007!!

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