Czech handball

Czech handball is a type of handball that's very similar to team handball and we have therefore decided to provide an overview of Czech handball on this team handball site.

Czech handball, simply known as national handball in its native land, was created in Prague in the early 1900s and has remained popular throughout the 20th century and into our days. The first known reference to Czech handball is from a sports journal published in Brno in 1905 where a teacher named Vaclay Karas mentions the sport. Soon, the first Czech handball association had been established in Prague and the rules were published in 1908.

Students from countries such as Russia and Yugoslavia encountered Czech handball while studying in the Czech Republic and brought the sport back with them as they returned to their native countries. The sport quickly caught on and Czech teachers were even brought to Russia to train middle school pupils. In 1915, a handball competition for 14 teams was arranged in Kharkiv in Ukraine. The Soviet Revolution of 1917 did however temporarily thwart efforts to expand the sport throughout the Russian speaking territories.

In the newly formed state of Czechoslovakia, the “ Czechoslovakian Association of Handball and Women's Sports” became a member of the International Women's Sports Federation in 1921 and the rules of Czech handball were made official by the federation. Some international federations preferred (German) Field handball while others opted for Czech handball rules.

In 1930, the first women's Czech handball World Cup took place. The Czechoslovakian team won, Yugoslavia came in second and the Polish team ended up in third place. When the second women's Czech handball World Cup was arranged in London four years later, only two teams participated and none of them were English. The Yugoslavian team fought the Czechoslovakian team and won the match 6-4. After this poor turn out, the women's Czech handball World Cup was abolished.

During the German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945), playing Czech handball rather than German field handball was regarded as a show of patriotism and this helped boost interested in the sport in its native land. In the early 1940s, there were over 25,000 registered players of Czech handball in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic.

After the end of World War II, a plan was drawn up by the International Handball federation to promote the expansion of Team handball rather than Czech handball. Czech handball did however remain strong in parts of Europe and in 1954 there were over 26,000 registered players divided into 447 clubs.

Czech handball rules

The Czech handball rules are very similar to the rules of Team handball, with a few notable differences. Some of these pertains to the handball field and its equipment. The size of the field is 45 x 30 meters instead of 40 x 20 meters, and the goal is 2.4 meters x 2 meters. The field is comprised of three areas: defense third, offense third and middle third. The ball is allowed to be anywhere from 580 to 605 millimeters.

A Czech handball team consists of 1 goalkeeper, 1 defender, 2 halfbacks and 3 forwards. Both goalkeepers and defenders are allowed to step in their own goal area, and forwards are allowed to step in the opponent's goal area (but they are not allowed to shoot from there). Shooting on the goal takes place in front of the goal area, and it is permissible to lean out or even jump as long as the fall is outside the goal area. Defenders and halfbacks are not allowed to step in the offense third of the handball field, and forwards are not allowed to step in the defense third of the field. There are also rules for how players may cross between the thirds.

If you pick up the ball you are not allowed to hold on to it for more than 2 seconds, but you are allowed to dribble or throw the ball upon your head 2 times. There is no limit in steps.

The referee can send a player off for 5 minutes or 10 minutes.