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Serving rules Equipment and officials
Fouls and misconduct

The racquetball court

The handball court (play goes from the left of the diagram)


Objective: (Court) Handball is a ball game played by two players, or two pairs, on a walled court. The ball is hit with a gloved hand against the front wall, so that the opponent(s) cannot return it. A point is scored (by the serving side only) if the opponent cannot or does not return the ball.

Only the serving player may win points. If the receiving player returns the ball and the opponent cannot return it, the receiving player becomes the server. A game is won when one player or pair reach 21 points. The first player or pair to win two games wins the match.


Serving rules

The game can be played on a court with one, three, or four walls. The rules are the same, however many walls there are.

Handball court

It is worth noting that not all handball courts have the receiving line marked. There must be at least a 15 centimetre (6 inch) line marked on the side walls to signify where the line would be.

The player or pair to serve (decided by a coin toss), can serve in any position within the service zone. No part of either foot can be outside the lines. The ball is bounced on the floor, and hit against the front wall with the hand or fist.

For the serve to be valid, it must bounce back and land behind the short (serve) line, whether or not it touches one or both of the side walls. The player keeps serving until the opponent wins a point and becomes the server, or the serving players makes an out serve or two fault serves in a row. See service faults, below.

In doubles play, the server's partner must stand still with their back to the side wall in the service box until the ball has come past the short line.

To return the serve, the receiver(s) must be at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) behind the short line, until the server has hit the ball. The receiving line is there as a guide for this. The receiver can hit the ball before it bounces, as long as they have both feet behind the service zone. The ball can also be returned after it has bounced once. The receiver can also move forwards if the ball has bounced. If the ball bounces twice or more, the server wins a point.

The ball must be returned to the front wall either directly, or by being bounced off one or both of the side walls. The returned ball must not touch the floor before hitting the front wall.

Each correct return of the ball is called a volley. The ball can be hit with any part of the hand, but only by one hand. No other part of the body can be used. Each player is only allowed one touch of the ball at a time, but if they miss, they can have another go at hitting it.

Fouls and misconduct

Obstructions and hinders

Dead ball hinders - the point is replayed.

- When the ball goes between a player's legs and they have no chance of seeing or returning it

- When there is any unintentional hinderance that stops an opponent from seeing a returned ball

- A returned ball (before bouncing) hits an opponent before hitting the front wall

- Any body contact with the opponent interferes with the seeing or hitting of the ball

Avoidable hinders - the offending player or pair lose a point (receiving) or the serve (serving).

- A deliberate block to stop a player from getting to the ball

- A player does not move out of the way to let an opponent take a shot

- Deliberate pushing

- Deliberately moving into the path of the ball

Service faults

Dead ball serves - the player takes another serve without penalty.

- In doubles, the ball hits the server's partner, after rebounding from the front wall and before touching the floor, while that player is still in the service zone

- The server, or the server's partner blocks the receiver's view of the ball

Fault serves - two in a row and the serve goes to the opponent(s).

- When the server or the server's partner steps out of the service zone before the ball has passed the short line

- The ball hits the floor in front of the short line

- The ball hits a side wall or the ceiling before crossing the short line

- The ball hits the back wall without bouncing first

- The ball hits the crotch (where the front wall joins the floor)

Out serves - one of these and the serve goes to the opponent(s).

- When the server bounces the ball more than three times when serving

- The server moves their hand to hit the ball to serve, and misses

- The ball hits a side wall, the ceiling, or the floor before hitting the front wall

- The ball rebounds and touches the server or the server's partner while that player is out of the service box

- In doubles, the players serve out of order

Equipment and officials

The ball is made of blue rubber and is 4.8 centimetres in diameter (just under 2 inches), and it weighs (2.3 ounces).

Players wear t-shirts, shorts, socks and shoes, usually white or in team colours. Gloves are always worn. They are made of soft material and no webbing or hard materials are allowed.

Each match will be presided over by a referee and where possible, a scorer.

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