Handball is a sport that’s become extremely popular all over the world, but many Americans may not even know of its existence. It’s a fast-paced and exciting game with plenty of opportunities for intense competition. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of handball, explore why it’s so popular, and consider whether it could ever become a major sport in the United States. Read on to learn more about the strange and popular sport of handball!
What is handball?
There are a few similarities between basketball and handball when it comes to the defensive way of playing, but there is a difference in the size of the court and overall play. The objective of the game is to throw the ball into the opponent’s goal. Two teams compete, with six court players and one goalkeeper per team, and substitutions can be made at any time. Each goal counts as one point, and games regularly finish with teams having scored over 20 points.
The game is played on a 132-foot-long and 65-foot-wide court with 6.5ft and 10ft wide nets at either end. The game consists of two 30-minute time periods with a 10/15 minute rest in between. Depending on who has the ball, each player moves between an attacking position and a defensive position. The ball is usually moved around the court by passing and dribbling, but players cannot double-dribble. Players can hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds before having to pass or dribble and can take up to three steps while holding the ball.
Where did handball originate?
Handball is one of the oldest ball games and can be traced back to the Roman Empire. It was later called pelota in Europe. During the 1500s, it was adapted in the British Isles and known as fives. Today, handball is mainly played in Canada and Ireland, and to some extent in Mexico, South America, and several European countries including France and Spain.
Recently, Canada and the United States have hosted invitational events to progress international competition. There are 3 strokes used in handball. They are the overhand, underhand, and sidearm. For players to be positioned for a return shot, it is necessary for them to move about the court. A player who can strike the ball with either hand can save energy and be a double threat to their opponent.
Why is handball so popular?
Handball is one of the most popular team sports in the world, although it is not the second most popular even in Europe, where it is most popular. While there is no clear-cut criteria to measure its popularity, some indicators such as the number of participants, number of spectators, and number of countries where handball is being played can be used to gauge its popularity.
In certain countries like France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden, handball is very popular, with a long history and numerous fans. In other countries, such as Denmark and Norway, the popularity of handball is debatable, as it often takes a backseat to football. Still, handball is getting more and more popular all over the world, and millions of people play and watch it.
Could handball ever become a popular sport in the United States?
Several notable universities are beginning to recognize handball, such as Texas A&M University, The University of Virginia, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UNC, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, West Point, and others. Those schools and professional clubs, in addition to other amateur teams, take part in the Club National Championships and Collegiate National Championships, one for men and the other for women. In addition, several club-level leagues exist across the country, like The Great Lakes Handball Association, The Midwest Handball League, and Northeast Handball League. It’s only a matter of time before handball gains more notoriety within America, especially since it was included in the 2020 Summer Olympics Games held in Tokyo.
Author and Journalist for GameTime and Millennial Entrepreneur Magazine