The History and Benefits of Handball: A Dynamic Sport

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About Handball

Handball is a fast-paced game involving two teams of seven players who pass, throw, catch, and dribble a small ball with their hands while trying to score goals. The team with the most goals wins the game. A game consists of two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute half-time break. Handball is one of the most popular sports in Europe (after soccer) and is one of the fastest-growing sports in Northern Asia and Africa. In the Americas, it is becoming organized with national and continental championships, and in Oceania, it is on the cusp of taking off.

Why Play Handball?

Handball is a popular, spectacular, dynamic, and exciting sport. It requires speed, strength, stamina, fitness, and above all teamwork. Over 15 million people play the game in approximately 140 countries around the world. It is a wonderful mixture of soccer, basketball, and a few water polo tactics thrown in.

Handball players need to be fit and skilled. The intensity of the game and the constant physical challenges will work the muscles, the central nervous system, and the whole body. The goalkeepers need to be athletic, flexible, brave, and have extremely quick reflexes.

Handball is also a game of tactics, strategies, and problem-solving. Players must divide their attention to three different tasks: teammates' activities, opponents' activities, and self-activities. Because of these tasks, Handball can be very beneficial both physically and mentally. Handball is a challenging sport both mentally and physically, and this is why it is a fascinating and attractive game! It keeps you fit, healthy. It promotes diverse tactics and strategies. It is a dynamic, fast, and fun sport.

There's something in it for everyone!

Ancient Forms of Handball

The very fact that man has always been more adept at using his hands than his feet lends credibility to the claim made by famous sports historians that he started playing handball much earlier than, say, football.

The games that were precursors of handball can only be said to be distantly related to it in terms of their structure and rules of play. Nonetheless, the games of 'Urania' played by the Ancient Greeks (and described by Homer in the Odyssey) and 'Harpaston' played by the Romans (and described by the Roman doctor Claudius Galenus in 130 to 200 A.D.) as well as in the 'Fangballspiel' (or 'catch ball game') featured in the songs of the German lyrical poet Walther von der Vogelweide (1170-1230) all contained certain features that can be described as ancient forms of handball.

Modern Handball

Modern handball was first played towards the end of the 19th century. The real impulses emanated from Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. The founding fathers of field handball were probably German physical education experts who gained recognition for field handball as a separate sport at the turn of the century, based on the games of 'Raffball' ('snatch ball') and 'Königsbergerball' (Konrad Koch 1846-1911). In Sweden, it was G. Wallström who introduced his country to a certain sport named 'handball' in 1910.

Olympic History

Handball, as an indoor sport, was first presented in the Munich 1972 Olympic Games. A competition involving 16 men's teams was staged with Yugoslavia winning the first Olympic gold medal. (2nd Czechoslovakia, 3rd Romania). Women's handball was introduced at the following Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada, in 1976. The USSR won the gold medals in the 6-team women's competition. (2nd Germany, 3rd Hungary).

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