How to Play Handball

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Handball, a very popular game in Ireland, has become increasingly popular in the United States. It is similar to racquetball and squash, except that the ball is hit with the hand, and can be played with 2 to 4 players in singles or doubles. Even with all the rules and regulations of the game, the following steps will lead you through how to play the basic game of 4-wall handball.

Things You'll Need

  • A 40 by 20 foot court
  • Leather or synthetic handball
  • Eye guards
  • Leather handball gloves
  • 2 to 4 players


  1. Stand beside your opponent on the court facing the front wall. You, as the server, must stand in the "service zone," which is about 10 feet from the front wall. Your opponent must be at least 5 feet behind the service zone when you serve.

  2. Bounce the ball once on the floor. As the ball comes up, hit it with your hand toward the front wall causing it to strike the wall without it touching the floor first and then bouncing back over the service zone.

  3. Return the ball by hitting it with either hand or fist back toward the wall after it flies over the service zone. Do this before the ball hits the floor twice. This is done by your opponent, or either opposing teammate. The ball may hit the side walls before hitting the front wall after it is returned, but it cannot touch the floor first.

  4. Continue play. Alternate turns between opponents or teams as you return the ball. After the initial return, you can hit the ball anywhere in front or behind the service zone as long as it doesn't touch the floor twice before doing so.

  5. Score points. Although the ball is allowed to hit the wall or ceiling an unlimited amount of times, it must not touch the floor more than once before you hit it back, or your opponent receives a point. Whoever makes the point becomes the server or remains the server as the case may be.

  6. Win the Handball game by scoring 21 points before your opponent or the opposing team does.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hit the ball so that it bounces on the floor right after it hits the wall. This makes it difficult for your opponent to hit it back before it bounces again.
  • Alternate where you cause the ball to return on the court from front to back to wear out your opponent.
  • Know your opponent's dominant side (is he right-handed or left-handed) so you can try to hit the ball toward his weak side.
  • Hitting the ball incorrectly can cause injury to the hand.



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