Activity 83/150


Handball is a sport where two teams play against each other, passing a ball using their hands in an effort to throw the ball into the net of the opposing team in an attempt to score a goal.


Countries such as Germany, Ukraine and, Uruguay all claim to be the true inventors of handball. The most common version of the origin of the sport comes from Germany during WWI, where women used their break time to play a modified soccer game, playing with their hands instead of with their feet. While Irish immigrants popularized a different version of handball all the way back in the 1850s, the team sport was actually introduced to Canada during WWII.

Handball is played on a 20m x 40m court with two goal areas. Less traditionally, it can also be played on a field or on the beach with modified rules.

How to play
Teams of seven players compete to score the most goals by throwing the ball into the opposing team's net. Players pass the ball using their hands, can only take three steps without dribbling the ball, and must shoot the ball without entering the other team’s goal area. Without the ball, players are allowed to move freely, except to enter the goal area. A traditional game is played in two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute break in between. The team that scores the most goals wins the game. For more information visit the Canadian Team Handball Federation.

Suggested equipment
- 20 m x 40 m court
- 32-panel leather ball (similar to a dodgeball)
- 2 m x 3 m goal or net

Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.


Some ideas to adapt handball for individuals who are visually impaired may be to modify rules such as out or bounds of the playing surface, using a colourful or larger ball, using audible cues, and adjusting the playing area.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities

Various adaptations can be applied to ensure inclusion of all in this activity. The game time can be reduced; the number of players can be modified. Use a larger, lighter ball and adjust the size of the playing area.

Mobility Limitation

To modify handball for individuals of different skill levels, consider modifying the rules, using a larger and lighter ball, play in pairs, shortening the game or modifying the playing area.


Benefits of Handball

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
Communications Coordinator