3 tips for PE teachers: Promoting handball

When it comes to introducing team handball to children it is very important to adapt the challenge to fit the age and skill level of the children. Most children are beginners in the sport, so it is up to us to make handball simple and fun! This requires us to modify the official rules of the gameand introduce the game in small sided games.

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Handball is a great game for developing a some of the fundamental movements skills e.g. throwing, running, jumping, turning, blocking and dodging. These skills are common to many other sporting activities which makes it perfect to introduce and use as a teaching tool in physical education. Here are a few pointers for PE teachers to use when they intend to create an enjoyable handball learning environment for their students, using small sided games.

  • Small sides – 3 vs 3 is optimal – Increases the chances of everybody getting a taste of the ball and plenty of action.
  • 3 minutes – Make each game short, that way it is easier to keep up the intensity and fun. Rotate frequently. 3 minutes is great for keeping the intensity high.
  • 3 steps, no dribble – One, two, three and then you must pass the ball or Shoot! … and move to make yourself available for a pass! By taking out the dribble we force the players to play the ball and move around and involve more players. This levels the game between beginners and more skilled children.

Few more tips

  • Encourage off-the-ball movement – Make them move, and encourage goalkeepers to take part in the offence.
  • Small goal size – The goal size for young should be smaller than 2x3m, just raise a training mat against the wall and you have a goal in suitable size for up to 12 years old. Bench turned on the side is also an option, forcing the players to aim down towards the floor and use the wrist. Mini handball goals are of course great if available.



  • The goalie can score – The person who defends the goal, is allowed to use the feet to defend the goal and take part in the offence. The offence can come as close as the defence will allow them.
  • Select an appropriate ball size – Make sure the ball is small and soft enough for the youngest players. This enables the children to throw and catch in the most natural way.
  • Free-throw if fouled– Handball is a contact sport, so encourage aggressive non contact defence with active hands and feet. If the player is put out of balance, stopped or held by the defender reward a free throw where the defence steps back to allow for the game to restart.
  • No sidelines (the ball is always in play) – By opening the field and eliminating the sidelines it is possible to keep up the intensity.
  • Add creative rules – To provide new challenges its possible to add simple rules such as
    • All passes should touch the floor
    • All passes with “the non-dominant hand”
    • All shots on goal with jumping
    • All passes behind the back or under the leg
    • Bonus point for passing 10 passes in a row within the team
    • Bonus point for passing between the legs of a team mate

Hope this can be of use in your teaching


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