Why Is Handball Called Team Handball in the U.S.?


When referring to handball in the U.S., Americans can easily confuse it with wall handball which is popular throughout America. This is a game where players slap a small ball off the wall with their hands. Adopting the name Team Handball helped to distinguish between the two.

What is Team handball? 

Team Handball refers to the game known simply as handball in Europe and other parts of the world. It is a fascinating game played by millions of people. More than 140 countries are members of the International Handball Federation (IHF).

Team Handball is one of the fastest-paced Olympic sports involving two teams of seven players each. It occurs on an indoor court, and players pass a ball using their hands. The ball is about the size of a large grapefruit. The aim is to score a goal against the opposing team. The goal resembles the one used in football with posts and a crossbar. The team that scores the most goals wins.

Team handball in the U.S. doesn’t enjoy the same popularity as it does in European countries. Bettors in the U.S. will be looking forward to the Olympics and placing their bets at online betting sites on various games but their bets are more likely to be on swimming and track events as Team Handball is a minor sport in the U.S. 

How to play the game

Team Handball takes certain elements from basketball, football, ice hockey, and even water polo. Good teamwork is essential and it combines stamina, strength, and skill.

Players dribble the ball and can take up to three steps without dribbling it. They aren’t allowed to touch the ball with their feet but can use their head, torso, thighs, and knees. 

Teams aren’t allowed to hold the ball without attempting to attack or shoot a goal. Passive play is penalized with a free throw for the other team.

A shot at goal must be taken from behind the free throw line. Players may be in the air over the line when they shoot but must release the ball before they land. Players can’t pull, hit, or punch the ball out of the opponent’s hands.

A minor game in the United States 

The game would appear to be a natural fit for American athletes and sports fans, but it hasn’t gained much traction. In the U.S., Team Handball has to compete against the immensely popular game of basketball which is quite similar in many aspects. Handball is rarely shown on TV in the USA except during the Olympic Games. With the popularity of the NFL, NBA, and NHL in the U.S., this is what Americans want to watch. Fans are incredibly supportive of the major league teams they favor and enjoy wagering on these games.

The United States has only played in the Olympic men’s tournament six times and didn’t place higher than sixth position. The women’s team has competed in the Olympics four times and competed last in 1996.

What’s in a name?

There’s no question that US vs British English can be confusing with its many differences. The fact that handball in America refers to a different game than it does in other countries can also be confusing. This is why it has the name Team Handball. Team Handball may refer to the same game as handball in countries, but the passion it arouses isn’t the same. In some European countries like Scandinavia, the game is huge and the stars have celebrity status. Norwegian fans will attend games with flags and wearing Viking hats.

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