an If you’ve watched the Summer Olympics, you’ve probably been curious about the sport of handball. The sport is often likened to a cross between basketball and soccer, but it has it’s own fast-paced spin. Read more about Team Handball, basics of the game, and Handball in Columbus with the Columbus Armada H.C.
Team Handball (not to be confused with American handball, or wallball) is small in the United States but is one of Europe’s top sports. The popularity in Europe is to comparable to the popularity of baseball in America. It’s Germany and Denmark’s #2 sport, and ranks in the top 4 for nearly every country in the European Union.
The American scene is small, but growing, as teams form in major cities. The 2028 Olympic Summer games will be held in Los Angeles, which means the US team will automatically qualify as the host country. The hope is that the sport will continue to grow in the United States so the US Olympic team will be a tough competitor in Los Angeles 2028, and all future Olympics.
Interested in learning more? Check out some Team Handball in Columbus with the local semi-pro team, Columbus Armada H.C.
The Basics of Team Handball
The sport is played on a court typically longer and wider than a basketball court, with soccer-sized goals at each end. Teams have players in the field at a time, as well as 1 goalie. Players attempt to throw a ball into the goal of the other team during two 30-minute halves.
While there are similarities between basketball and soccer, there are just as many (or more) difference.
Here are some of the basics
- The Crease or the Six (6 meter line): Only the goalie can play behind the crease, which extends 6 meters from the goal. Players can jump into the crease when taking a shot on goal, but must jump from behind the line.
- Walking: Players cannot take more than 3 steps without dribbling, passing, or shooting. They also can’t hold the ball for longer than 3 seconds. These infractions are all called “walking”. This results in a face-paced sport with tons of ball movement, and lots of shots.
- Double dribbling results in a turnover
- Only the goalie can kick the ball
- No diving on the floor to trap a loose ball in the field (except for the goalie inside the crease)
- Tripping, pushing, hitting, or grabbing an opponent is a foul, which can result in a free throw. Some contact to the front of the body between players is permitted. Blocking a shot is a foul.
- Rough and unsportsmanlike conduct will result in a yellow card. Four yellow cards for one player results in ejection from the game, with lesser penalties for the preceding yellow cards.
Handball is a growing sport in Ohio and the US, so the time to start is NOW! It’s especially a great sport for students to start, as handball clubs and teams have been forming at the collegiate level at an increasing rate. Attending a match is a great way to gauge interest!
Columbus Armada H.C. and Columbus Challenge Cup
Central Ohio is home to semi-pro handball club, Columbus Armada H.C., which formed in 2017 as the OSU Team Handball alumni club.
The club hopes to grow into a professional team. The leadership team runs both the Ohio State University Team Handball Club and the Armada, and has individuals who have represented the US national team and the US national beach team both as players and as coaches, and the nationally-ranked OSUTHC routinely sends players to the national side.
Tournaments within the USA Team Handball Association are held all throughout the US, which makes it difficult for fans to follow along.
In an effort to reach for fans locally and garner interest in the sport, Columbus Armada created the Columbus Challenge Cup, which is a series of matches in Columbus against other mid-western/regional teams within driving distance. The Columbus Challenge Cup is the largest ever competition for the sport in the Midwest.
Columbus Armada H.C. Challenge Cup schedule
Games are at Westwood Field House at noon.
April 3: Milwaukee United
April 24: Flint City Handball Club
May 1: Detroit Handball Club
May 15: Pittsburgh THC
May 22: KY Stags
June 5: tba
Tickets are $15/adult, free for kids 12 and under. Groups of 3 or more and families are $10 per person above the age of 12. All season livestream pass is $25.
3932 Brown Park Drive
Hilliard, Ohio 43026