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Street Handball Rules Extended Description

(Updated 2018.31.01)

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How to play street handball:

The game that can be played by everyone across sexes, ages, and in line with fair-play rules.

How to play:

  • Play fair with no physical contact. (No tackles/touches, players may only block shots and the ball. The ball may only be won from the counterpart when the ball is “free” (i.e. in the air or on the ground.))
  • No dribbling. Max. 3 steps. Important for player to experience Flow / the Aha experience. Let the game “flow”, avoid stops in case of minor violations to rules, e.g. slightly overstepping lines, 4 steps, etc.
  • Pitch with 2 goals* (cf. page 3). Four-a-side or less or more. Max. seven-a-side. Depending on pitch size.
  • Each arbitration is made by way of dialogue between the players, possibly involving Match Instructor** (page 4)

Street Handball Rules 2017


  • Before attempting a throw at the goal, all players on the attacking team must have touched the ball. (This way all players will feel they are part of the match and the team.) It also slows down the game and prevents many face-to-face encounters, e.g. in connection with a counter attack.)
  • After a score, the game is set to start from the goal. (Throwing-off from the goal gives a better flow to the play and fewer interruptions from the Match Instructor and more playing time.)
  • The goalkeeper will participate in the attack in order for the attacking team to be in the majority. (This enables more shots at the goals and will prevent many face-to-face encounters.)
  • The person throwing at the goal can run back and become goalkeeper, or swap with a substitution player who must then become goalkeeper. (In this case, the substitution player is allowed to stand next to the goal ready to step in when the thrower exits the pitch at the centre line.) Remember. There are no fixed line-up roles.
  • After a team has completed an attack or lost the ball, it must run back and touch the line of the goal area before they are allowed to defend.
  • All players from the attacking team must have crossed the centre line for a throw at goal to be allowed.
  • Street Handball International (SHI) recommends that the defending team applies a non-aggressive defence. No ‘phishing’ for the ball. You may also choose aggressive defending or play freely.
  • A penalty throw is awarded in case of physical contact with an opponent, or a push, etc., no matter where the violation was committed.
  • It’s mandatory, after each game, to shake hands with the opponent and say “Thank you for a good match”. ;)

Remember. There is no problem lining up mixed teams of girls, boys and any age groups as no physical contact is allowed.

  • If there is a big age difference among the players, the oldest players can fine play with their bad hand.

Your options:

The scoring system.

  • For very young children we recommend not to count the goals/points scored. The most important thing is to have fun. This also means without a scoreboard.
    • (Quote from a street-handball event in Denmark, “We were counting goals up to around 3 and it seemed that the Instructor and later the players forgot to keep track of the score, but the match continued, and the kids enjoyed it and had fun. Finally, prizes were awarded by way of a draw.”)
  • For older players you may choose:
    • 1 point = standard goal.
    • 2 points = score behind the back and between the legs, 7-meter throw, score by goalkeeper, spectacular goals such as a twirl/or scoring after receiving the ball in mid-air (instructor’s discretion), a girl scoring (mixed teams).
  • For children’s matches, we recommend making a draw for the available prizes.
  • Duration: 1 x 12 minutes, or 2 x 12 minutes. (Depending on number of teams)
  • All ‘balls’ / handballs / soft handballs / street-handballs may be used.
  • Hand out Fair-Play diplomas to all players.
  • Play and have Fun (girls/boys), perhaps including music / DJ ;D

“Keep it simple”

Few rules – Play to have fun – Avoid too many interruptions.

The above rules are only for inspiration; it is up to you to determine how to play Street Handball.

Have a great time, enjoy the team spirit, and observe fair play.

Street Handball Pitch:

  • SH is played with 2 goal areas (marked by a crescent or straight lines (dotted or full), 4 or 6 meters away from each goal, depending on age group (children / adults). (Size of goal 1.60 x 2.40)
  • You decide pitch size yourselves; 10 meters wide x 20 meters long is suitable for four-a-side. (13 meters wide x 20 meters long is an indoor mini court) Options depend on the physical environment, street / market place / square / school yard / parking lot / closed-street project, or street pitch / multi pitch or your outdoor handball pitch / indoor handball court.
  • A pitch / court with 2 goals provides more fun and it will even challenge your shape and benefit your body. In case of many players and many matches to absolve, you may choose to begin playing with 1 goal; if, however, you place 2 goals opposite each other, you may soon switch to the ‘real’ game – providing more fun for everybody. ;)
  • You may play Street Handball everywhere and anywhere.

**Task of Match Instructor:

The Match Instructor may be a coach/parent or any third person:

Together with the team coaches, it is the task of the Match Instructor to ensure the good experience, and that all participants feel ownership of the game. The Instructor should remove the players’ attention from the result and instead focus on the good handball experience, presence in the match, the flow of the match, and avoid too many interruptions of the match. So, the Instructor is not the referee; his task is to guide the players on the rules and make the players focus on what they did well, etc.

  • It is the task of the Instructor to take note of whether all children are actively participating – and allowed to shoot goals.
  • A ‘7-meter (penalty) throw’ will be awarded whenever there is physical contact, a push, etc, on the pitch. A repeated violation may be sanctioned by sending the player off and send her/him back in after the opponent has scored one or two goals.

The Instructor may stop the match temporarily if the competition becomes too challenging for a team; he may then invite the stronger team to work on:

  • technical challenges for players (A feint, or a crossing before allowed to score a goal, etc.)
  • attack without an empty goal for the strongest teams (the strongest team attacks with 3 against 3)
  • If a team is more than 3 goals behind, you may consider letting that team add an extra player, or remove one of the other team’s players.
  • Play and learning, rather than results, should always be the priority. Focus on the fun of the match.


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(Updated 2018.31.01)