Handball is currently played in the following formats:
- Field Handball
- Wheelchair Handball
- Beach Handball
- Street Handball
- Mini Handball
Handball — indoor
The playing court is 40m long and 20m wide, with two goal areas and a playing area. The longer boundary lines are called side lines, and the shorter ones are called goal lines (between the goalposts) or outer goal lines (on either side of the goal).
There is a safety zone surrounding the playing court, with a minimum width of one metre along the side lines and 2m behind the goal lines.
A goal is placed in the centre of each outer goal line. The goals must be firmly attached to the floor or to the walls behind them. The goals are 2m high and 3m wide.
The goalposts are joined by a horizontal crossbar. The rear side of the goalposts are in line with the rear edge of the goal line. The goalposts and the crossbar have an 8cm square cross section.
On the three sides which are visible from the court they are painted in bands of two contrasting colours, which also contrast with the background.
The goals have a net, attached in such a way that a ball thrown into the goal remains in the goal.
All lines on the court are part of the area that they enclose. The goal lines are 8cm wide between the goalposts. All other lines are 5cm wide.
Lines between two adjacent areas may be replaced with a difference in colours between the adjacent areas of the floor.
In front of each goal there is a goal area. The goal area is defined by a 6m goal area line which is drawn as follows :
- A 3m line directly in front of the goal. This line is parallel to the goal line and 6m away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the goal area line).
- Two quarter circles, each with a radius of 6m (measured from the rear inner corner of the goalposts), connecting the 3m line with the outer goal line.
The 9m free throw line is a broken line, drawn 3m outside the goal area line. Both the segments of the line and the spaces between them measure 15cm.
The 7m line is a one metre line, directly in front of the goal. It is parallel to the goal line and 7m away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the 7m.
The goalkeeper’s 4m restraining line is 15cm long and is directly in front of the goal. It is parallel to the goal line and 4m away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the 4m line).
The centre line connects the midpoints of the two side lines.
The substitution line (a segment of the side line) for each team extends from the centre line to a point at a distance of 4.5m from the centre line. This end point of the substitution line is enhanced by a line which is parallel to the centre line, extending 15cm inside and 15cm outside the sideline.
The playing court is 27m long and 12m wide. There is a 3m safety zone surrounding the playing court. The playing surface consists of sand at least 40cm deep. The playing area is 15 long, 12m wide and the goal area 6m in length. The goals are 2m high and 3m wide.
The substitution areas for the court players are 15m long and 3m wide and situated on each side of the playing area.
The court is marked with lines that belong to the areas of which they are boundaries. The two longer boundary lines are called side lines. The two shorter boundary lines are called goal lines, although there is no line between the goalposts. The goal area lines are 6m from and parallel to the goal line.
The court is divided into two halves by an imaginary halfway line. The middle of this imaginary line is the exact position for the referee throw.
All lines are between 5 and 8cm wide and made of solid colour tape contrasting with the sand (blue, yellow or red). The tape is flexible and hard wearing, firmly anchored to the sand at each corner and at the intersection of each goal area line/side line with buried dead man anchors.
A bungee cord is attached to each corner and connected to buried wood or a plastic anchor disk (without sharp edges). The bungee provides the tension necessary to keep the boundaries in place while giving the flexibility to reduce the chances of injury should a player or official catch their foot under the line. The goals are affixed to the lines with rubber rings attached to the posts. The anchors must not create a danger for the players and officials.
A rectangular goal is positioned at the middle of each goal line. It consists of two upright posts equidistant from each corner and joined at the top by a horizontal crossbar.
The goal posts extend vertically. The height is 2m from the sand surface to the underside of the crossbar, and the internal distance between the vertical goal posts is 3m.
The goal posts and horizontal crossbar that form the tubular aluminium frame have an external diameter of 8cm and are painted in a solid colour contrasting clearly with the sand and with the background (yellow, blue, or red). The colour of both goals must be the same.
The goal posts and horizontal crossbar are completed by a frame supporting the netting, the deepest point is 80cm at the top and one metre at the bottom.
Each goal includes a net, made of heavy duty nylon (or other similar synthetic material, knot free, mesh 80mm x 80mm or smaller, thickness 6mm). It is attached to the back of the goal posts and crossbar.
For the safety of the players and officials, the bottom of each goal is anchored beneath the sand. The anchors must not create a danger for the players.
At 3m behind each goal area catch (stopping) nets must be loosely suspended along the entire length of the playing court (12m x 7m high). The catch (stopping) nets must adequately reach the sand.
Mini handball is a modified form of the game for children aged 8‑11. The game is played on a smaller court: 20‑24m long x 12‑16m wide (20m x 13m is exactly one third of the normal handball court). A ball with a circumference of 44cm‑49cm is used. It is soft, not too heavy, must bounce well and easy to grab to guarantee a “fear free” game.
International Handball Federation. Rules of the Game. Switzerland. 8 July 2014.
Sport association details