Handball Rules

PentaSport Handball Rules

***Rules applicable for all sports: To be eligible for playoffs, participants should play in at least 3 regular season games for their team. The purpose of the league reps are not to referee the games. Team captains and their teams are expected to referee their own games responsibly. League Reps will step-in to make important calls and clarify rules at their own discretion. If issues arise, team captains are asked to come together and speak to the League Rep. No other player except for a team captain should approach the League Rep with issues***


  1. Teams are advised to be at the courts 10 minutes before your game.
  2. A match will consist of two 25-minute halves with a 5 minute break between halves.
  3. Teams are comprised of 6 players (1 goalie and 5 players) with minimum 2 female players on the floor at all times. A female goalie does count against this ratio.


  1. Handball must be held in the hand. Kicking to score is not allowed.
  2. Ball may only be held for a maximum of 5 seconds. If the ball is held longer — as counted aloud — it will be given to the other team.
  3. A maximum of 3 steps is allowed; additional steps result in immediate stoppage of play and the relinquishment of the ball to the opposing team. The only exception to this rule is for the goalie inside the crease. The goalie can take unlimited steps within the crease but must adhere to the same 5 second rule to release the ball.
  4. A dropped ball results in a change of possession where the infraction occurred. Defensive team player must be at least 5 feet away from player restarting play where the infraction occurred.
  5. Substitutions can be made on the fly, except for the goalie where there must be a stoppage in play.


  1. No contact between players is allowed. Players are required their best to avoid contact. No swiping, hitting, or grabbing at the opposing player or the ball he/she is holding. When defending, you are only allowed to guard with hands up or out.
  2. Update for Season 9: Players on offence may not charge through or initiate any contact with a defending player — one who is standing between the offending player and the crease. That includes contact with any part of the defending player, including their outstretched arms. Any form of charging or illegal contact, as mentioned above, on offence will result in the defending team obtaining the ball — and subsequently, if a goal is scored on the play, it will be negated. However, a defending player — who is not positioned between the offending player and the crease — may not initiate contact by reaching in to prevent a shot or intentionally / inadvertently causing physical contact. This will result in the offending team obtaining the ball at half court or, if a goal is scored on the play, it will count.
  3. No diving for the ball along the floor.
  4. A player on defence may not be in the crease and in a position to interfere with the opponent taking a shot. Doing so will result in a penalty shot for the offensive team. A penalty shot is taken from the top of the crease without any run-up – must be taken by the offensive player involved in the play.
  5. You may jump into the crease only if you can avoid contact with defenders or the goalkeeper opposing you. If you have the ball, you must let go of the ball before ANY part of your body touches the ground. If you do not have the ball, you must leave the crease immediately or be in risk of being penalized, resulting in a change of possession given to the defending team. If your foot touches the line of the designated crease, it is considered a violation and ball goes to the defensive team.
  6. Running through the crease is permitted whether offensively or defensively to get to the other side; however, you cannot interfere with an attempted shot while in the crease as an offensive or defensive player. If deemed to have done so, the ball goes to opposing team. If a defensive player enters their own crease to take possession of the ball after a rebound, offensive team gets possession at half court. If the offensive player enters the defending crease to take possession of a loose ball, the ball goes to the defending goalie.
  7. You may not pass to yourself off the wall, or through the air.


  1. One goalkeeper is allowed per team. This person is allowed to block shots while in the crease. They may leave the crease as they please, but only ONE person is allowed in the crease at all times.
    • Teams are allowed to switch goalkeepers ONLY during stoppage in play
  2. Upon giving up a goal, the goalie can put the ball into play immediately. However, the team must pass once before the half line. Not doing so results in loss of possession. 
  3. Goalies may not wear protective gear that will amplify their goalkeeping ability, such as hockey pads or blocker gloves. Gears such as knee-pads and goggles are allowed.
  4. Balls that are out of play on the end lines will a) result in goalie’s possession if it goes off the offensive team, or b) a corner throw in if it goes off the defensive team.The exception is if the ball goes off the goalie and out of play on the end lines while making a save; in this case, the possession always goes to the goalie. Defensive team player must be at least 5 feet away from the inbounding player. Balls that are out of play on the sidelines — whether off a player or the goalie — will result in the other team gaining possession where the ball went out.
  5. New crease size in effect as below picture:

Handball new crease