Team handball, also called fieldball or handball, game played between two teams of 7 or 11 players who try to throw or hit an inflated ball into a goal at either end of a rectangular playing area while preventing their opponents from doing so. It is unrelated to the two- or four-player games (see handball and fives), in which a small hard ball is hit against one or more walls.
A game consists of two 30-minute halves with an intermission, and players wear no protective equipment. The ball is moved by passing, dribbling, or hitting it with any part of the body above the knee. In handball, only the goalkeeper may kick the ball. Running more than three steps with the ball and holding it longer than three seconds are illegal.
Attacking players must take their shots at goal from outside an arc marked on the playing surface, within which only the defending goalkeeper may play. Free throws (usually passes to a teammate) are awarded for minor violations of rules and taken from the spot of the violation or from a line a short distance outside the goal area, or circle. Penalty throws at goal are awarded for more serious infractions and are taken from a penalty mark just outside the circle and directly in front of the goal.