Contributed by Emma Booth.
Regional Director, USA Sport Group.
European handball is completely different to the handball that is known throughout the States. The game was first played in 1848 in Denmark, but has spread throughout Europe and around the world. It is a mixture of soccer and basketball, where you have two teams of seven; including one goalkeeper, and you have to throw the ball into a soccer-style net to score points. The team with the most points at the end wins!
After receiving the ball, players can hold the ball for up to three seconds before passing, dribbling (bouncing the ball) or shooting. A player can take 3 steps before dribbling and then an additional three steps if choosing to dribble. A game will usually be 30 minutes a half, and requires a lot of stamina, agility and skill.
Men’s handball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1936 Berlin Games but was dropped after that summer until 1972, whereas women’s handball was added to the list of Olympic Sports in 1976. There have been various countries that have won the gold medal since 1972; in the men’s competition, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union dominated the 1970s and 80s, and France, Croatia and Russia were all awarded gold at the last three Olympics. The women’s competition had the same domination of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in the early years, however Denmark and Norway have been ever present in the gold medal list the last few decades.
For more information on European Handball, click here.
The US Sports Institute offers handball as part of their famous multi sport camps. To have a go at the game of handball, please click here and sign up today!