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Team Handball


Team Handball is a Tier 2 event. Sign-up is required. Companies that miss the sign-up deadline will not be scheduled to play. Athletic skill and physical fitness may be required.


The game is played 5-on-5 with four (4) field players and one (1) goalie. Five (5) players are required to avoid a forfeit. One player from each team is designated as the team captain before the start of play.


Start time is forfeit time: there is no grace period for players to arrive late. One (1) game forfeit disqualifies a team from further play.

It is strongly recommended that players wear a mouthpiece. Metal or hard tip cleats are not permitted.

Games are played in two (2) 10-minute halves with a 2-minute break between halves. Games may be shortened at the discretion of officials; fifteen minutes of play will constitute a complete game. The clock runs continuously except for officials’ time-outs.

Each team is entitled to one (1) 1-minute time-out per game.

In the event of a tie at the end of regulation play, teams will go to penalty shots. Teams alternate shooters. Following five (5) shots for each team, the winner is the team that scores the most goals. If the game remains tied, shots will continue until one team scores, and the other does not. Players who were on the court at the end of regulation must shoot penalty shots before any sideline player.

Substitutes may enter the game at any time so long as players being replaced have left the field. Substitutes must enter the game at midfield. Players may not switch positions with the goalie while the ball is in play. A substitute goalie must notify the referee upon entering the game.

Score by getting the ball into the opponent’s goal by taking shots from behind the goal area line. Players may use hands, arms, head, torso, thighs, and knees to move the ball. The ball can be passed, dribbled, or rolled, but the ball cannot be touched with the feet.

A player may dribble the ball without time restriction. Still, players are not permitted to dribble the ball after they have dribbled it and picked it up, i.e., double dribble is not allowed.

A player may run (3) three steps with the ball. A player may hold the ball for (3) three seconds. As soon as the ball is held with one or both hands, it must be released after (3) steps or (3) seconds.

No player, except for the goalie, is permitted in the goal area. The only exception is when an offensive player is carried by momentum across the goal area line while taking a shot on goal. In this case, regardless of whether the goal is made or missed, the offensive player must immediately clear the goal area. Thus, for example, an offensive player may not take his own rebound while standing inside the goal area line and shoot again.

When the ball enters the goal area, it belongs to the goalkeeper only. Any ball out-of-bounds over the endline goes to the defending goalie.

Field players may not enter the goal area (area bounded by line closest to goal). If a field player enters the goal area while taking a shot and scores, the goal is not counted, and the ball changes possession.

Most play will occur between the goal area line and the 9-meter line. However, when there is any change of possession, e.g., after a shot on goal and goalie is returning the ball to play, or ball is returned to play from out-of-bounds, the offensive team must be outside the 9-meter line until field play resumes. Likewise, defending players must stay 3 meters (10 feet) from the ball on a throw-in from out-of-bounds over the sideline.

A player can use the body’s torso to obstruct an opponent with or without the ball. However, using the outstretched arms or legs to block, push, hold, trip, or hit is not allowed. In addition, the attacking player is not allowed to charge into a defensive player.

A free throw is awarded for a minor foul or violation. The free throw is taken at the spot where the infraction took place unless the infraction occurred between the goal area line and 9-meter line. In this case, the ball and all offensive players must be behind the 9-meter line, and defensive players must be 3 meters (10 feet) away when the shot is taken. In addition, violation of any of the following rules results in a free throw by the opposing team:

  • Holding the ball without moving for longer than three (3) seconds.
  • Running with the ball for more than three (3) steps without dribbling.
  • Contacting the ball below the knees.
  • Pulling, hitting, or punching the ball out of the hands of an opponent.
  • Unintentionally endangering an opponent with the ball.
  • Unintentionally tripping an opponent.
  • Charging, rushing, or holding an opponent.
  • Other dangerous play as judged by officials.

A penalty throw, taken from the 8-yard hash line, is awarded to opponents when:

  • A foul destroys a clear chance to score a goal.
  • The goalie carries the ball back into the goalie area.
  • A field player throws the ball to his or her goalie in the goalie area.

All players must be outside the penalty line when the throw is taken. Any player may take the shot.

Actions directed toward an opponent and not the ball, e.g., tripping, holding, pushing, hitting, or intentionally endangering the opponent with the ball, will be punished with a 2-minute suspension. The suspended player’s team plays short a man for two minutes. A repeat of aggressive play by any team member will result in exclusion: the excluded player’s team continues one player short for the rest of the game.

USA Team Handball governs all other rules.

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