Download the rules here: OSSC_Handball_Rules.pdf

Sport & Social Club General Rules

Score & Spirit Point Reporting

  • Game Scores (account for 75% of total points): Team captains are responsible for reporting the scores after your game by logging into your player profile and clicking on ‘My Team’ tab and selecting ‘Report Score/Spirit Points’.  Teams have a 48 hour window to report scores after the completion of the game.  Please be timely with your score reporting so league standings can remain updated for playoff positioning.
  • Spirit Points (account for 25% of total points): Spirit points are awarded to a team from their opponent after each game to encourage sportsmanship, honesty, integrity and fair play.  For more information and how to properly award spirit points, please see our section ‘All About Spirit Points’.


  • Players can view league standings & schedules by logging into your player profile and clicking on ‘Standings/Schedule’.

Player Eligibility

  • All players must be added to the team roster by the team captain.  This process confirms that all players have electronically agreed (checked the box) to our policies and online waiver.
  • Substitute players are allowed, however they must be added to the roster (check the online waiver).  Adding a substitute player from another team in the same league is allowed, however, regular/consistent use of a substitute player in the same league is considered unsportsmanlike and not encouraged.
  • For a player to be eligible for a playoff game, the following criteria must be met or the team will default the game:
    • Be on the SSC online team roster.
    • Play a minimum of two regular season games in a 6-10 week season, or three regular season games in an 11-14 week season.
    • Play for only one team per league/pool in playoff games.  If a player plays for two teams, the second game will be defaulted.


  • A default will occur if a team cannot field a squad by 15 minutes after the official start time.  If a team does not meet the standard eligibility requirements, team captains must confirm the outcome prior to starting the game.  Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum players.  IF IT IS AGREED THAT THE GAME COUNTS, IT COUNTS!  In the event there is a default dispute and the game was played, the SSC ruling is that the game counts.
  • In the event of inclement weather, follow the sport specific instruction below.  To view our general SSC foul weather policy click here.

Rough Play & Player Conduct

  • It is recognized that incidental contact between players is inevitable – however, all players should go out of their way to avoid creating unsafe play.
  • Any unsportsmanlike conduct may result in immediate expulsion from the league.  This includes, physical or rough play, verbal abuse, damage to facility property and/or loss of facility permit.  Fighting will result in immediate expulsion from the league.  To view our Unsportsmanlike Conduct policy click here. 
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages, use of drugs and smoking at your game site before, during, or after your game is strictly prohibited.  Offenders will be asked to leave the league without refund. No Exceptions. 

Game Coordinator (GC) On-site SSC Staff

  • A GC presence is dependent on sport, season, and/or facility locations.  They are not referees, as all games are self-officiated.  They are on-site to be a neutral supporter of both teams, clarify rules, manage equipment, start/stop games, and to inform players of league news.
  • Game Coordinators may stop a game before the full time has expired due to overly aggressive play, persistent unsportsmanlike conduct or a general violation of the rules of the game.

SSC Official Handball Rules – Coed 5-on-5


  • Handball is a five-a-side game, played on an indoor court with nets using a specialized ball.  The objective is to score on the opposing net.

Game Length

  • Games are 55 minutes in length with a 5-minute stop for halftime.
  • Games start and end according to your online SSC schedule. 
  • If games start late, games must finish at the scheduled time (e.g. 6:15pm-6:55pm).

Equipment (Mandatory)

  • An official Handball will be provided at every game by SSC Staff.
  • Captains are responsible for ensuring that nets are placed appropriately in the goal area.
  • Teams should bring both light & dark coloured t-shirts to help distinguish opponents.
  • Players must wear non marking soled shoes.
  • Gloves are allowed to be worn only by the goalkeeper.

Players on Court & Gender Ratio.

  • Teams are comprised of 5 players on the court (4 players and 1 goalkeeper). 
  • Teams must play with a minimum of 2 males and 2 females on the court at all times.
  • A team can play with a minimum of 4 people, as long as the gender requirements are met. 
  • Captains may agree to waive the rules regarding minimum players and gender ratio before the game starts.

Game &
Court Set-up

  • Handball nets will be set up by SSC upon the arrival to your game.
  • Games are played on a basketball sized court.
  • Team captains should meet before the start of the game to review court lines as well as defining the goal crease.
  • Teams are responsible for keeping score and time.  Often an SSC Game Coordinator is on-site and will offer to keep score for the game.

General Game Rules

  • Game is started with a jump ball.
  • Each goal is worth 1 point.
  • Goals can be scored using bounce shots.
  • A player cannot score by kicking the ball or directing it into the net with their foot, leg, knee or body.
  • After a goal, the game restarts with a throw-off at centre court, with the team that was scored on passing the ball backwards to a teammate.  Players must stand on their own side of the court, while the thrower must touch the middle line with one foot.  Defensive players must keep a distance of at least 3 metres from the thrower until the ball leaves their hand.   Once a pass is made, play resumes.
  • Player substitutions can be made at any time and ensuring the player has left the court before a new player joins the play. Keepers must wait for a stoppage in play before substituting for an alternate keeper.
  • There is a 5 second time limit placed on all set plays (throw-ins, etc).
  • A throw-in is awarded when the ball goes out of bounds. Possession will be awarded to the team that did not touch the ball last prior to the ball going out of bounds.
  • A throw-in is taken from the spot that the ball went out of bounds (side walls), or from the closest corner if the ball crossed the end line.
  • All throw-ins are indirect; the ball must touch a player before a goal can be scored.
  • During a throw-in, a defending player must stay 5ft away from player throwing in the ball.
  • A free-throw is awarded when an infraction occurs and the ball changes possession.
  • A free-throw is taken from the spot of the infraction.
  • All free-throws are indirect; the ball must touch a player before a goal can be scored.
  • Teams may call a 1-minute time-out if needed, except in the final 10 minutes of play.

Ball Possession & Defense

  • Once in possession of the ball, a player may stand stationary for only 3 seconds, and may take only 3 steps (pivot steps included). They must then shoot, pass, or dribble the ball.
  • A player may dribble the ball as many times as they want (and move up the court as many steps as they wish) as long as during the dribble only one hand contacts the top of the ball.
  • After a dribble is picked up (ball touched with two hands) the player has the right to another 3 seconds, or 3 steps. The ball must then be passed or shot, as further holding the ball would be considered a double-dribble.
  • A ball that is lost, knocked away or stolen during a dribble will be a dead ball, and possession changes at the point of the dead ball. This includes if a defender interferes and causes a legal turnover during the dribble.
  • A dropped ball (i.e. during a pass) is a dead ball, and possession changes at the point of the dead ball. This includes if a defender interferes and causes the ball to be dropped.
  • An interception or steal of the ball where the ball does not drop to the floor, is live, and does not result in a dead ball.
  • If the ball goes off the goalie or crossbar and stays in play, the rebound is live and the offensive team may attempt to retain possession, however, offensive players still cannot enter the crease area.
  • A defender is allowed to use their body position to defend an opponent with or without the ball.
  • However, using outstretched arms or legs to obstruct, push, hold, or trip is not allowed.
  • The attacking player is not allowed to charge into a defending player. The defending player is entitled to their space.

Goalie Crease & Goalkeeper

  • The goal crease area will be highlighted and confirmed by the Game Coordinator with the captains prior to the start of the game.
  • Offensive players may not enter the other team’s crease.
  • Players can shoot while jumping into the crease, however, they must take off before the crease and the shot must be released before the player lands on the ground inside the crease.  If the shooter lands on the ground before they throw the ball it becomes the goalie’s ball (if a goal was scored during this play it will not count).
  • Defensive players may briefly pass through their own crease, but must clear out within 3 seconds.
  • If a defensive player contacts the ball while in their own crease, the other team will be awarded a free-throw from the location of the infraction.
  • Goalies cannot leave their crease.
  • If a goalie gains possession, they can:
    • Move anywhere in their crease before releasing the ball.
    • Make a pass to a teammate.
    • Attempt a shot on goal - goalies are allowed to score in Handball.
  • Goalies have 5 seconds to put the ball back in play, if this time expires and the goalie still retains the ball, a free throw is awarded to the other team in the offensive zone corner sideline.
  • Players are allowed to pass the ball back to the goalie
  • Pulling the Goalie: Pulling the goalie for an extra player is not permitted.

Violations & Making Calls


  • It is inevitable incidental contact may occur among players. However, any aggressive contact such as pushing and shoving is not allowed (you should not touch any other player with your body at any time on purpose, and should do your best to avoid unnecessary contact).
  • It is extremely important that all players make the appropriate calls for infractions and illegal plays.  The offending player should call their own infractions, however any player that is currently on the court can make a call.  If a disagreement cannot quickly be resolved, the two team captains should meet at the middle of the court (without any other players) and discuss a resolution.
  • Violations result in a loss of possession. The other team will receive a free throw from the exact spot of the infraction. A goal cannot be scored from a free-throw. All free-throws are indirect and the offensive team must pass the ball before shooting.
  • Handball Violations
    • 3 second rule violation
    • Traveling - more than 3 steps before dribbling
    • Double dribbling
    • Entering either goal crease longer than 3 seconds.
    • Kicking the ball - accidental
    • Goalies: leaving the crease
    • Too many players on the court
    • Delay of game
    • Defensive hitting (holding, hitting, jumping into an opponent or tripping an offensive team’s player)
    • Diving on the floor


  • A game can end in a tie during the regular season.
  • Playoff games should only be 50 minutes in length in anticipation of needing the extra time to settle a tie. 
  • In the playoffs, a game that is tied at the end of regulation time is decided by a three-minute sudden death overtime period. If still tied, penalty throws will commence and each of the 5 players on the floor (including the goalie) takes 1 shot each at a distance of 8 paces from the goal. After 5 shots, if still tied, teams continue taking single shots until one team has scored (and the other team does not).  Shooters must keep one foot on the floor (can be a pivot) during the shot.  The order of shooters must be maintained.
  • Team playoff position:  Ties in the standings will be broken first by head-to-head play. If there are more than 2 teams that are tied, all the teams must have played each other in order for the results to go to head-to-head. Otherwise, least points against, then +/-, then most points for will determine the placement in that order.
  • The SSC office will update the playoff schedule once all scores have been submitted and after the last regular season game.  Please do not assume the time/location of your playoff game until team names have been posted into the schedule. 


Remember… Always have fun!