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Away From the Everyday Sports Camp

European Handball

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Lesson Plan & Official Rules


Objectives (at the end of the activity, participants should …)

-learn proper teamwork

-develop a sense of both offensive and defensive awareness

-understand the strategies and tactics used

-be able to connect the skills/strategies/tactics of European Handball to other invasion games


-floor, 40 m long and 20 m wide

-two goal nets

-one ball

Safety Considerations

-must be aware of where you are in relation to your team as well as the opposition

-controlled shots

-no contact         

Activity Description

Intro (Warm-Up): SEE LEAD-UP GAMES: Invasion


Main Activity:  each team has approx. 8 players.  With the ball the players can either take 3 steps, pass or dribble the ball and cannot hold the ball for more than 3 seconds.  All players (except goalie) must stay clear of the crease.  Full rules below



Culmination (Cool-Down)

Since European Handball is a very aerobic sport, the cool-down should involve a light jog followed by stretching of both the legs and arms/shoulder.  The ball is generally heavier than that of what the children are used to throwing and this can often result in having a sore shoulder (to avoid, try using a lighter ball and have them progress to the real handball).

Refinements to Look For

-proper shoulder rotation for shooting

-cutting angles of shots for goalies

-fakes to create open space

Simplification & Extension Ideas


-bigger ball

-smaller playing area

-no goalies; just shooting on open net or target



-the ultimate extenstion is to play with the  full rules of handball; they are quite challenging for children and most of the lead-up games will be played with modified versions of the rules


European Handball: Rules

The playing court in a game of European Handball is forty meters long and twenty meters wide.  There is a goal at each end with a crease around the perimeter.  The crease is six meters with a seven meter line where penalty shots take place.  The crease also contains a goal-keepers restraining line, to which the goalie must stay behind unless the ball is rolling freely inside the crease.  The game is played in two, thirty minute halves.  A coin toss before the match decides which team begins with possession and which team chooses a side. The ball is made of leather or a synthetic material.  Sizes vary depending on gender and age categories.  Each team is allowed a maximum of seven players on the court, however, they can not play with less than five unless decided otherwise by the referee.  The ball can be thrown, caught, stopped, pushed or hit by using hands, arms, head, torso, thighs and knees.  The ball may be held for a maximum of three seconds or for a maximum of three steps.  A player may dribble the ball to avoid the three second/step rule, however, due to the size and shape of the ball it can be very difficult to dribble.  If a team has possession of the ball and is making no obvious attempt at an attack or shot, they are penalized with a free-throw.  This is called passive play and the free-throw is taken from wherever the ball was when the call was made.  Body contact is permitted so long as it is made from the front and not the side or back.  Similar to most invasion games, European Handball has many penalties and works on a scale of progression.  Players are first warned about their illegal actions, but will be penalized with a free-throw awarded to the other team if such actions occur again, ultimately resorting to ejection from the game.  Also, if the penalty prevents a clear scoring chance (to the discretion of the referee), the team will be awarded with a penalty-shot from the seven meter line.  After a goal has been scored, the team that allowed it is given a throw-off from center court (basically, a player carries the ball to center line and throws it to a teammate from there).  Whenever the ball leaves the court the team that touched it  last before doing-so allows the other team a throw-in.  This is similar to soccer where the ball is thrown in from the sideline without a stoppage of time.  The team to score the most amount of goals within the time limit is determined the winner.

Created By:
Melissa Carroll, Andrew Timmers, Fil DaSilva & Kevin Moote