Possibly my favourite game! Why did I never get to play handball?

I can’t believe handball wasn’t around when I was at school. I feel genuinely ripped off that I missed out on what it a fantastic sport. I literally played everything on offer to me at school and would have loved it.

I started to become familiar with it when I worked in school sports development in Melbourne, Australia but really fell in love with it when I started to teach it during my teaching practice. Now I am integrating across various key stages and one of the rewards, seeing children from my class playing this sport during lunch breaks (students who would before have only played football).

So why do I love handball and why am I choosing this sport as an integral component of my invasion games units?


  • Boys and girls can play together and seem to enjoy it together (my lessons are mixed so this is a requirement!)
  • If they’ve played before they love it, and if not, students seem to be open-minded to try it
  • Utilises pre-existing skills from other popular sports including basketball, football, and netball
  • Can be simple to set up and few rules to get it started
  • Can be really strategic so it can challenge the more able students and extend them

Since it is a relatively new sport for me I have spent a lot of time going through resources and collating ideas for drills. Here are some of my favourites with more to be added;

Modified from the Australian Indigenous Game Wana. This game involves a defender defending a cone which is inside the hoop. The defender cannot step inside the hoop and can only move around the outside. The remainder of the group (4-6 players) circle around the hoop and attempt to hit the cone using the handball. I like this simple drill since it develops passing between team mates and the thinking to get into a better position. It develops target throwing and is a great lead in for shooting at goal. Despite its simplicity it is a lovely introduction to defending. Can be used as a warm up / starter activity.

Bombard! Teams opposite each other (can be 2 or 4 around the outside of a coned square). Large swiss ball(s) in the centre of the square. Using the handballs teams must aim their handballs at the swiss balls and try to move the swiss balls to the opposite side of the square. The kids go crazy for this one, they love it. The target is moving which is a great link to shooting at goal where there is a moving goalkeeping and this activity allows students to really use their power. Another great warm up activity.

3v3 piggy in the middle. This simple game works with any of the invasion games. I like to use this as an introduction to refereeing. Each group nominates someone to referee and implement handball rules to the piggy in the middle situation. I have some fab handball rules cards (I will try to find where I sourced them from and link here) which I give to the students to help them manage their game situations.

Hit the cones. Super simple. Students working in pairs with a handball and a cone. Both players trying to ‘shoot’ the ball at the cone as hard and as accurately as possible. Great activity to then transition to more complex shooting drills.

Dribble and tap. Like basketball and football as long as it’s fun you cant spend enough time practicing these core skills. I like to add some competition and challenge for the more able by allowing them to tap away others balls whilst keeping control of their own. They keep their score and this can be enhanced by having differing sections for the differing ability students.

Whilst some lessons have a focus on a skill, I do like to teach using the Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) or Games Sense method and set up modified games. This allows students to have maximum time on the ball and provides the challenge of a competitive situation which students thrive on.


More to be added soon!!!


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