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   Handball is a team sport that, until recently, has gone under the radar. Until the Olympics, many had not heard of the sport or where unaware of the rules, but recently, a large following has attached itself to the sport after seeing it in all is fast, forceful glory in the 2012 Games.

   Handball is a team sport where two teams of seven players pass a ball around a pitch and try and get it in their opponent’s goal. In this respect, Handball is a lot like Football but with one major difference…you guessed it – you pass with your hands instead of your feet! It is played inside in two thirty minute halves. The winning team is the one who scores the most points by the end.

   The goals in Handball usually amount to more than in football as the game is faster and the pitch is smaller. Most games can easily score 15 goals per team, usually more! There is some body contact in the game when attempting to stop players from reaching your teams’ goal, but only when the defensive player is totally in front of the attacker. The game is played without any form of defensive equipment too, so the players need to be tough and quick on their feet to avoid any tackles.

   Although various sports similar to modern Handball have cropped up throughout history, the team game played today was put together at the end of the 1800’s in parts of Northern Europe such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Indeed it’s said to have been Danish Olympian Holger Nielsen who first published any form of team handball rules. Since that time the sport has developed tremendously and experienced teams of men and women both play all over the world. There is an extensive list of rules for playing Handball, as there is for any sport, but here are the key ones to know:

 - When you receive the ball you can pass, possess OR shoot the ball.

 - If you keep the ball you have to dribble it when moving (like in Basketball), and can only take three steps without dribbling.

 - No player except the goalkeeper can touch the floor of the goal area – though they can shoot for the goal in this area if they are in the air!

 - Of course there are lots more rules and regulations to follow, these give you an idea of the basic play involved.

   Handball is a fantastic sport for both girls and boys, no matter what size or build you are. It will help you build up fast movement skills and lots of spring in your legs with the amount of jumping into the air you’ll have to do. Since the Olympics, more sports clubs are setting up Handball classes so if you like the sound of this why not go along to your local Sport or Leisure centre to see what they have on offer? Or maybe just try your own Handball-inspired game with your friends in the garden? There’s no end to the fun you could have!

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