When a player handballs, they must hold the ball in the palm of one hand and strike with the clenched fist of their other hand. The ball cannot be struck with an open hand nor may it be thrown in the air and hit with a fist.

Throwing the ball is also illegal. If the ball is not handballed correctly a free kick is awarded to the nearest opponent.

Main Teaching Points

  • The ball must be gripped firmly with the platform hand and hit with a clenched fist. Players should have their eyes on the ball.
  • The punching fist is formed by placing the thumb outside, not inside the fingers.
  • The stance is nearly side on to allow the punching arm to swing through freely.
  • Knees should be slightly bent to maintain balance.
  • For a right-handed handball, the left foot is forward, and vice versa for a left-handed handball.
  • Punching arm also slightly bent.
  • After contact is made with the ball, the fist remains on the platform hand – “catch your fist”.

General Coaching Hints
The ball is hit at the crossroads, i.e. where the seams cross at the back of the ball. Note that the ball is set up at an upwards angle in the platform hand. The ball will spin like a good kick – backwards end over end.

Tip: At first, practise should be over short distances. Emphasise that for a right-handed handball, the left leg must be forward. When receiving the handball – fingers pointed towards the ball, thumbs behind the ball and focus on the seam.

Fixing Faults
Common faults in beginners include:

  • Throwing the ball up off the platform hand before punching it.
  • Dropping the platform hand away on impact.
  • Punching the ball with the wrist area.
  • Punching arm is too stiff and rigid – relax!

Another technique, Catch your Fist, is also useful. The player should grab their punching fist with their platform hand after hitting the ball. This stops you throwing the ball up and ensures you punch directly to your target and not across your body.

Tip: By setting up a simple handball target you can improve your accuracy. Try drawing a circled area on a brick wall (using chalk), starting with a small circle for a bullseye and moving out to larger circles.