This article titled “Olympics 2012: how to get involved in handball” was written by Peter Beech, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 6th August 2012 16.03 UTC
What do you get if you cross basketball and football? No, not a brawl over playground space. That’s right: handball. Soccer’s most heinous crime is now a sport in itself. If I sound flippant, it’s because I’m British: historically we don’t have much interest in handball, despite the fact that it’s apparently the second most popular team sport in Europe. It’s an exciting, tactics-heavy, rough-and-tumble game that’s been around in some form since at least the middle ages. As in basketball, goals aren’t really at a premium, with each team regularly notching up over 20 a game, which makes for an exciting watch.
Two teams of seven compete on a 40m x 20m court with a goal at each end. Players can hold the ball for up to three seconds, and either dribble it (by bouncing), take three steps without dribbling, or shoot. You can shoot from anywhere, even inside the D at either end, but only if you leave the floor outside of it and release the ball before landing. Otherwise, only the goalkeeper is allowed in this area.
Handball improves co-ordination, manual dexterity and upper-body strength, as well as agility and speed. It’s also excellent at building team skills, since the rules make selfish play practically impossible.
Equipment, costs and practicalities
A regulation handball – measuring 58-60cm in circumference for men and 54-6cm for women – costs around a tenner. England Handball is running regular recruiting events in a bid to get people involved, with most at a beginner level.
Trendiness rating: 4/10
Throw a ball into a goal in a British park and you’re likely to get started on. Could that all be about to change?
Frazer Snowdon, British Handball: “Handball is an easy sport to play, no expensive kit needed. It’s fast, fun and physical and combines the best elements of a lot of sports such as football, basketball, rugby, netball, and volleyball. There’s a club finder at englandhandball.com and there are many across the country for both adults and children, with new ones starting up all the time: handball is the fastest growing sport in the country at the moment.”
Find out more
englandhandball.com – the national governing body for the sport.
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Over to you
Do you play handball? Help us build up this resource by sharing tips, videos, links to clubs and anything else that beginners might find useful.
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