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Prior to London 2012 there were only 75 handball clubs around the UK, but since then the number has spiralled. According to Emily McDermott now is the perfect time to get hands-on with this dynamic sport! It’s a good opportunity to get in at the bottom and make a difference.

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Why exactly is it so unheard of?

It’s hard to say why the game has never taken off in Britain, as anyone who’s seen it would agree that it’s a great game. The most probable reason is that unlike cricket or rugby, it wasn’t invented in Britain, but was instead developed in Scandinavia. Although in the run up to the London Olympics British Handball received almost £3m of funding, when both teams underperformed, all funding was cut. This shows that UK Sport obviously isn’t that bothered about promoting the sport, but there are loads of reasons to take it up!!

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Five amazing handball goals!

Never thought we’d be writing that as a headline in DW but if you’re interested take a look at this video – it is actually pretty cool.

Handball? Doesn’t that only happen in football?

Doh! Different forms of handball have been played since ancient times, though the modern game is relatively young, and was only established about a century ago. It has grown throughout Europe over the last hundred years, yet remained almost unheard of in Britain, and for many the 2012 Olympics was their first encounter with the game. As the host nation, the GB handball team gained a free pass into the Games, and despite an elite programme being set up in 2006, neither the male nor female team won a single game and both finished last.

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How exactly do you play?

Handball is a fast game, played indoors between two teams each with 7 players. The objective is simple: to score more goals than the other team by throwing the ball into the opposition’s net. It’s a contact sport, and like netball the players can only hold the ball for 3 seconds, although they are allowed to run with it, meaning that it is dynamic and very exciting.

How and why you should take it up?

Because of the speed at which it’s played, players require great strength and stamina, so it’s a great work out. Playing it for as little as an hour can burn up to 610 calories, so if toning up and getting fit is what you’re after then handball is definitely a great option. With more and more young people dropping out of sport, it’s important that we encourage participation in sport, and handball is the perfect choice for many people. It provides an opportunity to meet new people, without a huge cost; the only equipment needed is kit, a ball and a goal. For more info visit

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