Part 1. The Game
Rule 1.1 Types of Games. Four-wall handball may be played by two, three or four players. When played by two, it is called singles; when played by three, cutthroat; and when played by four, doubles.
Rule 1.2 De******ion. Handball is a competitive game in which either hand or either fist may be used to serve and return the ball.
Rule 1.3 ******ive. The ******ive is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball so the opponent is unable to keep the ball in play. A rally is won when one player is unable to return the opponent's shot to the front wall before it touches the floor twice, or when a player returns the ball so that it hits the floor before striking the front wall.
Rule 1.4 Points and Outs. Points are scored only by the serving side when it serves an ace (unreturnable serve) or wins a rally. When the serving side loses one rally in singles or two rallies in doubles, it loses the serve. Losing the serve is called an "out."
Rule 1.5 Game, Match, Tie Breaker. A match is won by the first side winning two games. The first two games of a match are played to 21 points. In the event each side wins a game, a tie-breaker is played to 11 points.
Part 2. Courts and Equipment
Rule 2.1 Courts. The specifications for the standard four-wall handball court are:
A. Dimensions. The court is 20 feet wide, 20 feet high and 40 feet long, with back wall recommended minimum height of 14 feet.
B. Lines and Zones. Handball courts shall be divided and marked on the floors with 2-inch-wide lines. Recommended colors are white or red. The lines shall be marked as follows:
1. Short Line. The short line is parallel to the front and back walls. Its outside edge is 20 feet from the front wall.
2. Service Line. The service line is parallel to the short line and its outside edge is 5 feet in front of the outside of the short line.
3. Service Zone. The service zone is the area between the outer edges of the short and service lines.
4. Service Boxes. A service box is located at each end of the service zone by lines whose outside measurements are 18 inches from and parallel to each side wall.
5. Receiver's Restraining Lines. Five feet back of the outside edge of the short line, lines should be marked on the floor extending 6 inches from the side wall. These lines are parallel to the short line. (See Rule 4.4 A.)
Rule 2.2 Ball
1. Material. The material should be rubber or synthetic material.
2. Color. Color is optional.
3. Size. 1 7/8-inch diameter, with 1/32-inch variation.
4. Weight. 2.3 ounces, with a variation of .2 ounces. A lighter ball may be used for any division provided it is specified on the entry blank.
5. Rebound. Rebound from freefall, 70-inch drop to a hardwood floor is 46 to 50 inches at a temperature of 68 degrees F.
B. Selection. A new ball must be selected by the referee for use in each match in all tournaments. During a game the referee has the authority to change balls if he deems it necessary. Though it is the referee's decision, he should honor request when made by both sides or when he detects erratic bounces.
Rule 2.3 Gloves
A. General. Gloves must be worn.
B. Style. Gloves must be light in color and made of a soft material or leather. The fingers may not be webbed, connected or removed.
C. Foreign Substances. No foreign substance, tape or rubber bands shall be used on the fingers or on the palms on the outside of the gloves. ****l or hard substances may not be worn under the glove if, in the opinion of the referee, it creates an unfair advantage.
D. Wet Gloves. Gloves must be changed when they become sufficiently wet to moisten the ball. This is the referee's decision. Gloves with holes that expose the skin may not be worn. It is the player's responsibility to have an ample supply of dry gloves.
Rule 2.4 Clothing
A. General. All clothing, consisting of a shirt, shorts, socks and shoes, must be clean at the beginning of a match. Only customary handball attire, in the referee's judgment, can be worn. Players may not play without shirts. Shirts must be full length, not cut off in the torso.
B. Color. Color is optional. Unusual patterns or colors that affect the opposing player's view of the ball or distract him may not be worn.
C. Wet Shirts. Referee may demand that a wet shirt be changed. Players must have an ample supply of dry shirts.
D. Lettering and Insignia. Lettering or insignia in poor taste is not allowed.
E. Shoes. Shoes must have soles that do not mark or damage the floor.
Rule 2.5 Eye Protection
A. General. Protective eyewear must be properly worn at all times during play. Lensed eye protection designed for court sports with polycarbonate lenses of at least 3mm center thickness is recommended.
B. Violations. Failure to wear appropriate protective eyewear properly will result in a technical (See Rule 4.9), and the player will be charged a time-out to secure eyewear. The second violation in the same match will result in a forfeit.
Part 3. Officials and Officiating
Rule 3.1 Tournament Director. All tournaments shall be managed by a Tournament Director, who shall designate the officials. The officials shall include a referee, and linesmen whenever possible.
A. Responsibilities. The Tournament Director is responsible for overseeing the entire tournament. He, or his delegated representative, shall be present at all times.
B. Rules Briefing. Before all tournaments, all officials and players should be briefed on 4-Wall Handball Rules and on local court hinders or other regulations. This briefing should also be in writing. Any modifications made by the Tournament Director should be stated on the entry form, and be available to all players at registration. It is also recommended that referee clinics be held before the tournament.
Rule 3.2 Referee Director. The Referee Director is in charge of assigning referees to all tournament matches.
Rule 3.3 Removal of Referee. One or more players may request that a referee be replaced. The decision to do so is at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director or Referee Director. Special consideration should be given to such a request if all players are in agreement.
Rule 3.4 Referee
A. Pre-Match Duties. Before each match begins, it shall be the duty of the referee to:
1. Playability. Check on adequacy of preparation of the handball court with respect to playability.
2. Equipment. Check on availability and suitability of all materials necessary for the match, such as handballs, towels, scorecards, pencils and a timepiece.
3. Assisting Officials. Check readiness and provide instructions to assisting officials.
4. Court Hinders. Explain court hinders, if any, to players. (See Rule 4.G.1.a).
5. Inspect Gloves, Clothing and Eye Protection. Remind players to have an adequate supply of extra gloves and shirts. Inspect compliance of gloves and hands with rules. Remind players that failure to wear eye protection properly will result in a technical, and a second violation in a forfeit.
6. Start Game. Introduce players, toss coin to determine order of serve and signal start of game.
7. Time. The assigned referee should be present 15 minutes before match time.
8. Two-Minute Warning. Give a two-minute warning before the match and before each game.
9. Scoring. Announce the scores before each rally (See Rule 4.A.5.).
B. Decisions. The referee shall make all decisions with regard to the rules. Where line judges are used, the referee shall announce all final judgments. In the absence of line judges, if both players in singles or three out of four in a doubles match disagree with a call made by the referee, the referee should consider reversing his call.
1. Spectators. The referee shall have jurisdiction over the spectators, as well as the players, while the match is in progress.
C. Protests. Any decision involving a rule's interpretation may be protested before the next Serve. It will then be resolved by the head referee or Tournament Director. Judgment calls may not be protested. If the player's protest is upheld, the proper ruling will be made. If the player's protest is not upheld, the player shall be charged with a time-out. If the player is out of time-outs, he will be charged with a technical.
D. Forfeitures. A match may be forfeited by the referee when:
1. Flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct. Any player refuses to abide by the referee's decision or engages in flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct.
2. Three Technicals. A player receives three technicals in a match.
3. Leaving the Court. Any player leaves the court at a time not allowed by these rules without permission of the referee.
4. Failure to Report.
a. No Show. Any player for a singles match, or any team for a doubles match, fails to report to play.
b. Late Start Penalty. The opponent shall be awarded one point for each full minute of delay of game up to 10 minutes. The match shall then be forfeited. This applies to the start of the match, between-game time-outs, time-outs during a game and glove-change time-outs. Players should stay within earshot of the referee to help prevent the delay-of-game penalty. It is the obligation of the players to be ready to resume play on time even if the referee fails to give time warnings. If the matches are on, or ahead of, schedule, the players must be in the court warming up at least 10 minutes before the assigned match time to assure a prompt start. If running behind, the players must be dressed and ready to enter the court for a maximum 10-minute, in-court warm up.
If a player shows up less than 10 minutes before the scheduled starting time, his warm-up time will be reduced accordingly. The Tournament Director may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant.
E. Defaults. A player or team may be forfeited by the Tournament Director or official in charge for failure to comply with the tournament or host facility's rules while on the tournament premises, for failure to referee or for any other improper conduct on the tournament premises.
F. Other Rulings. The referee shall rule on all matters not covered in the 4-Wall Handball Rules. However, the referee may be overruled by the Referee Director or Tournament Director, who shall have final authority.
Rule 3.5 Line Judges
A. Linesmen. If possible, two linesmen will be used in all matches, positioned at the most advantageous viewpoints. A linesman's opinion is based on his agreement or disagreement with the referee's call. If a linesman is uncertain, he should abstain from expressing an opinion.
B. Duties and Responsibilities. Linesmen are designated to help decide appealed calls. In the event of an appeal, and after a very brief explanation of the appeal by the referee, the linesmen must indicate their opinions of the referee's call. The signal to show agreement with the referee is arm extended with thumb up; disagreement is shown by thumb pointing down. The signal to show no opinion or that the line judge is unsure or his view was blocked is arm extended with an open hand and palm down. Line judges should not signal until the referee acknowledges the appeal and asks for a ruling.
C. Result of Response. If both line judges signal no opinion, the referee's call stands. If both line judges disagree with the referee, the referee must reverse his ruling. If only one line judge disagrees with the referee's call, the referee may let the call stand, reverse his call or call for a replay.
Rule 3.6 Appeals
A. Appealable Calls. The server may appeal a short or other service fault. He may also appeal receiving line violations. If his appeal is upheld, the server is awarded the serve over. If he had one short, the call would cancel the previous fault call, and he would be awarded two serves, because he was judged to have made a legal serve. If, in the opinion of the referee, the ball could not have been returned, a point shall be awarded the server. If the appeal is not upheld, the call would be two shorts, a side out. After the rally has ended, either player may appeal on a double-bounce call or non-call, kill shots called good, kill shots called no good and court hinders. The outcome may result in a point being awarded, a side out, or a replay depending on the linesmen's opinions. If both linesmen disagree with the referee's call or non-call, the call is reversed or replayed. After the rally has ended, the receiver may appeal faults and skip serves not called. If he wins the appeal, he is awarded the appropriate call. After the rally, either player may appeal a double-bounce call or non-call, kill shots called good or no good, or any call or non-call regarding a legal return. The outcome of the appeal may result in a point or sideout being upheld, reversed or replayed, depending on the linesmen's opinions.
At no time may a player appeal a screen serve, hinder (other than court hinders), technicals or other discretionary calls.
B. How to Appeal. A player must make appeals directly to the referee before the referee announces the score. The referee will then request the opinion of the linesmen. The referee may also appeal to the linesmen himself if he is uncertain of his own call, and may then maintain, reverse or nullify his own call. A replay shall be called if the referee believes it is necessary in the interest of fairness.
Rule 3.7 Scorers. The scorer, when utilized, shall keep a record of the progress of the game in the manner prescribed by the committee or Tournament Director. As a minimum, the progress record shall include the order of serves, outs, and points.
Rule 3.8 Floor Manager. The Floor Manager informs players of their court assignments and times.
Part 4. Play Regulations
Rule 4.1 Serve.
A. Order. The player or side winning the toss of a coin chooses to serve or receive in the first game. The other player or side shall choose for the second game. If a tie breaker is necessary, the player or team scoring the higher total of points in the first two games shall choose. If both players or teams score an equal number of points in the first two games, another coin toss will be made to d determine which player or team has the choice.
B. Start. Games are started by the referee announcing the score, "0-0," and then "Play ball."
C. Place. The server may serve from anyplace in the service zone. No part of either foot may extend beyond the outer edge of either line of the service zone. Server must remain in the service zone until the served ball passes the shortline. Violations are called "footfaults" (See Rule 4.3 B.1.).
D. Manner. The server must come to a complete stop in the service zone before beginning the serve. The serve is begun by bouncing the ball to the floor in the service zone. Although the server may bounce and catch the ball several times before serving, when actually beginning the serve the ball must be struck on a single bounce. If a player allows the ball to bounce more than once after a single drop before hitting it, a "fault" will be called (See Rule 4.3 B.8). The ball must be struck by the server's hand or fist so that it hits the front wall first and on the rebound hits the floor behind the short line, either with or without touching one of the side walls. If the server bounces the ball outside the service zone as he begins his serve, a "fault" will be called (See Rule 4.3 B.7).
E. Time. A serve may not be made until the referee has announced the score. The referee shall call "point" or "side out" as soon as a rally ends. The receiver then has up to 10 seconds to assume a receiving position. When the receiver has assumed a receiving position or 10 seconds have elapsed, whichever occurs first, and the server has had reasonable time to get to his serving position, the referee shall announce the score and the server must serve (strike the ball) within 10 seconds.
If the first serve results in a fault, the referee shall give the defensive player a reasonable time to take a receiving position and then the referee shall announce "second serve," after which the server must serve within 10 seconds.
Rule 4.2 Doubles.
A. Server. At the beginning of each game in doubles, each side informs the referee of the order of service, which must be followed throughout the game. Only the first server on the first serving team may serve the first time up. This player must continue to serve first throughout the game. When the game's first server is put out on his initial serve, the side is out. Thereafter, both players on each side shall serve until an out for each occurs. It is not necessary for the server to alternate serves to the opponents.
B. Partner's Position. On each serve, the server's partner shall stand erect with his back to the side wall and with both feet on the floor within the service box until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "foot faults."
Rule 4.3 Defective Serves. Defective serves are of three types and result in penalties as follows:
A. Dead-Ball Serves. A dead-ball serve results in no penalty and the server is given another serve without canceling a prior illegal serve. This occurs when an otherwise legal serve:
1. Hits Partner. Hits the server's partner on the fly on the rebound from the front wall or from the front wall and a side wall while the server's partner is in the service box. Any serve that touches the floor before hitting the partner in the box is a fault.
2. Screen Balls. If, in the referee's judgment, the ball passes so close to the server or the server's partner that the receiver's view of the ball is obstructed, a screen should be called. Any otherwise legal serve that passes behind the server's partner, between the partner and the side wall, is an automatic screen.
3. Straddle Balls. A legally served ball that travels between the legs of the server is an automatic screen.
4. Court Hinder. If a served ball takes an erratic bounce due to a court obstruction or wetness, a court hinder is called and the serve is replayed.
5. Broken Ball. If the ball is determined to have broken on the serve, a new ball shall be substituted and the serve shall be replayed, not canceling a prior fault.
B. Fault Serves. The following serves are fault serves and any two that are hit before a legal serve is executed result in an out: