Physical Fun and Friendly Furious: my intro to Handball

I’ve heard of Handball’s popularity in other parts of Europe with my Swedish and Hungarian friend very keen on the sport. I had never seen it or played it before myself. I’m always looking to take on a new challenge so thought I would give it a go.

I found it hard to grasp the hand position and grip on the ball. Growing up with netball all through school it was hard to turn off the netball technique which I’m so used to. The coach kept explaining that I needed to grip the ball in the palm of my hand and raise my arm far behind my head. A few drills later and I still couldn’t master it. She tried another approach “Think of the movement like a whip; raising your arm high with a quick swish and flicking action from your wrist. You could even try making the noise as you do it.” Surprisingly that worked! I made the whipping noise and threw the ball correctly for the first time all evening!

It was now time for a passing game, not quite ready to play Handball yet. We were divided into two teams. The first team to reach 11 passes back to back without dropping the ball won. It didn’t take us long to realise that the key to winning was short quick passes. This was a key skill to Handball.

After a few games we were ready to play the real thing. Still in the same teams but now assigned positions. I was assigned as the goalkeeper. As the goalkeeper I was the only player allowed in the scoring D. In this section the goalkeeper can also move and dribble with the ball as much as they want. Other players can only move 3 steps with the ball and dribble with a few bounces, unlike basketball where you can bounce the ball up and down as much as you like. The goalkeeper is able to leave the goal area and play on the rest of the court, even to shoot but that means leaving the goal wide open, which I learnt the hard way was not a good thing to do! Not sure if these are the exact rules as there weren’t as many players as there are on a normal team, so the coach may have adapted them.

Our technique of quick short passes worked really well for my team and we managed to win 10-6! With lots of running and sprinting, I quickly determined that Handball is a fast paced game! A great cardio workout and loads of fun! The women at the session, like me, had never played before but we were all raving about the sport by the end of it! We hadn’t met before but all vowed to go back again and play the following week. It’s a very sociable game as it’s a team sport. We all got on well and enjoyed playing as a team!

Why not give it a go? It would be great to have enough players for a full team of 7-a-side, that way I wouldn’t have to play two positions and cover the goal!

Handball is the new edition to Us Girls for the summer. Come along and try it at Wanstead Leisure Centre Tuesdays 8pm-9pm and Thursdays 6pm-7pm.

View more information on sessions this summer

Post Author: Sarah O’Brien

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