OBJECTIVE OF BEACH HANDBALL: Score more goals than the other team by throwing the ball into their net.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 per team
MATERIALS: Goals, handball
TYPE OF GAME: Sport
OVERVIEW OF BEACH HANDBALL
Beach handball is a team sport in which two teams of four players try to throw a ball into the opposing team’s goal. Unlike standard handball, beach handball is played on smaller sand courts, has fewer players per team, and has slightly different rules.
Beach handball began in Italy in the 1990s as the popularity of beach volleyball began to sweep the nation. Italian handball coach, Simonetta Montagni, began experimenting with how to transfer the traditional game of handball to the sand courts. Soon after, in 1990, the new president of the Italian Handball Federation saw the appeal of the idea and tasked his coaches with drawing up a set of rules.
When creating the game, the main goal was to repurpose the abundant beach volleyball courts into beach handball courts. This led to the beach version of the sport taking place on a much smaller court and including a rectangular scoring area instead of the half-circle one present in traditional handball.
As the sport began to spread around Europe, it made its way to South America. It was in South America that the sport rapidly grew in popularity, leading to the formation of the European Handball Federation Working Group in 1995. Just five years later, in 2000, the inaugural Beach Handball European Championship was held in Gaeta, Italy. Now the sport is overviewed by the International Handball Federation
With beach handball being recently featured in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, it is likely only a matter of time before the actual Olympics follow suit.
Prior to 2021when the dress code for the women’s division was changed, the Norwegian Handball Federation would pay the women’s teams fines for dress code violations. This started with the Norwegian Women’s team, but escalated for any team where women play.
- Goals: The goals used in beach handball are the same size as those used for standard traditional handball. They measure three meters (9.9 feet) in width and two meters (6.5 feet) in height.
- Handball: The handballs used in beach handball are often the same as those used in traditional handballs, measuring 58–60 centimeters (22-23 inches) in circumference and weighing roughly 1 pound. Occasionally, specialized waterproof handballs are used.
Beach handball courts measure 27 meters in length and 12 meters in width (29.5 yards by 13 yards). This is less than half the size of a normal handball court which measures 40 x 20 meters (131 x 65 feet). As one would expect, these courts are entirely on sand.
6 meters (19.5 feet) in front of each goal is the shooting line. Only the goalie is allowed behind this line, and the opponent must shoot from beyond it in order to score. This means that all players (other than the goalies) are confined to a 15 x 12 meter (49 x 39 foot) zone in the middle of the court.
Beach handball games are played in a best-of-three format. Each “set” is ten minutes long. The team that manages to score the most goals in a set takes the set point. If both teams win a set, the third set is played as a shootout, with both teams alternating one-on-one shot attempts at the goal.
Just as with traditional indoor handball, scoring in beach handball is as simple as throwing the ball past the goalkeeper of the opposing team and into the net. However, not every throw is worth the same amount of points.
- 1 point – A normal throw past the goalkeeper
- 2 points – A spectacular, flashy goal
- 2 points – The goalkeeper scores the goal
- 2 points – 6-meter penalty goals
Check out this video with a compilation of some “flashy” beach handball creative or spectacular goals.
As previously mentioned, a beach handball match consists of two separate sets, each lasting ten minutes. And the team that scores the most goals at the end of a set wins the set point.
If the score is tied at the end of the set, the golden goal rule applies. This means that the next team that scores wins the set.
If the teams win a set each, the third set is done as a shootout. In this shootout, each team selects five players. Each player receives a pass from their goalkeeper and then has a running one-versus-one scoring chance on the opposing goalie. The team that scores the most shootout goals wins the set and the game.
If both teams have the same number of shootout goals, the shootout continues until one team makes a shot and the other team misses.
Check out this spectacular shootout:
- Players cannot take more than three steps without dribbling or passing the ball to a teammate.
- Only the goalies may enter the six-meter scoring box.
- Players are allowed to shoot from within the scoring box if they throw the ball while in-air after jumping from beyond the line.
- Players can only use their hands to contact the ball (no feet or legs).
- Excessive physicality on defense is not allowed.
- Defenders cannot slap the ball out of a player’s hands.
- Players cannot pass the ball to their own goalie.
- A turnover occurs if the ball lies in the sand for more than three seconds.
- Goalkeepers are exempt from dribbling rules while within their goal zones.
- If a goalie scores, it is worth 2 points. One more than a normal goal scored.
Dribbling is an integral part of regular handball. Similar to basketball, a player must bounce the ball on the ground while moving with the ball. However, regular handball allows players to take three steps between dribbles, meaning the ball isn’t on the ground anywhere near as much as it is in basketball.
However, in beach handball, the sand court makes it nearly impossible to bounce the ball, as the ball loses all momentum on the sand. This means that dribbling is nearly nonexistent in this version of the game, resulting in teams pass, maneuvering up and down the court almost entirely with passing.
Watch a game of beach handball to see all of this in action:
END OF GAME
The team wins when they score the most points in two out of the three total sets wins the handball match. If there is a tie, a tie break involves a goalie throwing the ball to one of their teammates who attempts to score one on one with the opposing goalie.