Handball is a unique and fast-paced sport that has been featured prominently in the Olympics. If the sport caught your eye, this is the perfect place to learn more about the most important piece of gear in the game: the ball.
What are Handballs?
Handballs are balls used to play the sport of handball. Since the late 19th century, handball has been played both indoors and outdoors by men and women. It is a physical game where defenders aggressively steal and block. Therefore, the ball is specially designed to be soft and easily gripped.
Handballs come in many sizes, and there are often uniquely designed balls with team colors or the logo of a competition which can make for great keepsakes. Official balls are made with a soft foam panel that covers the ball, giving them a different feel from the balls of other popular sports.
Questions To Ask When Buying A Handball
When looking for handball, you will want to consider the following:
- What size ball do you want?
- How much are you looking to spend on a handball?
- What surface will you be playing handball on?
- Will you be using the handball for practice or games?
Traits of a Great Handball
Look for the following traits when shopping for a quality handball:
- Indoor use
- Outdoor use
Types of Handballs
There are many different types of handballs that can be purchased to best fit your needs based on where you will be playing. The main types are match handballs, beach handballs, street handballs, and training handballs.
Handball is played on an indoor court at the highest levels of competitive handball, including the Olympics. Match handballs are designed for peak performance on these courts. Many are built with hand-stitched covers that help make the ball easily gripped and squeezed. Match balls cost around $50.
- Colorful design for a great-looking ball
- Built for performance
- Easy to grip
- Expensive, especially for special edition balls
- Soft foam exterior can wear down with use
Beach handballs are designed to keep water out and to remain usable in wet conditions. The cover is built without seams so that the ball is completely waterproof, which helps with its longevity. Extra grip is also essential for beach handballs, as the sand and weather can majorly affect ball handling. Beach handballs can be found for under $30.
- Built outdoor games
- Designed for use in wet conditions
- Built with a seamless surface for waterproofing
- May have to order online
Street handballs are designed for both indoor and outdoor play. These balls are best for players that are planning to use the handball regularly and for a long time. They are built to last for those that frequently play in both indoor and outdoor environments. Street handballs typically cost around $30 each.
- Less expensive
- Most durability
- Built for indoor and outdoor play
- Grip worse than balls intended for matches
- May have to order online, depending on location
Training handballs are designed for new players and children. These balls are built with a soft synthetic cover that allows players to get comfortable with the ball in a safe and enjoyable way. They are often built for indoor and outdoor use. Training handballs are generally less expensive, priced at around $15 to $30.
- Less expensive
- Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
- Easy to grip and squeeze
- Good for new players
- Lacks aesthetic design of other types
- May have to order online, depending on the location
There are many brand options to pick from as you look for a new handball. Some of the industry leaders include Molten, Select, and Hummel.
Molten produces specially designed International Handball Federation match handballs. These balls come in many sizes, ranging from miniature to official size, and they have unique designs for different national teams and specific matches. Molten is a company that prides itself on making the highest level of handball equipment, especially the balls themselves.
Select handballs are a bit more expensive than other brands because they are hand-stitched for optimal grip, bounce, and flight. Many Select balls are built for high-level competition and come with specially designed shark skin foam to give players an edge that other balls can not provide. They produce a variety of handballs, including street, beach, and indoor balls.
Hummel produces various different handballs, including some beach handballs that are developed to meet the unique demands of playing on the sand. They also make balls that are suitable for matches and training, with balls designed for both kids and adults that can be purchased for less than $30.
What sizes do handballs come in?
Official match handballs are 58 to 60 cm (23 to 24 in) in circumference and weigh 425 to 427 g (15 to 17 ozs). However, handballs come in several different sizes, including 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3. Sizes 00, 0, and 1 are generally for children, with size 1 being suitable for kids between 8 and 12. Size 2 is typically used by high school-age kids and for IHF women’s competitions. Size 3 is the largest size available and is the official size for IHF men’s competitions.
How much do handballs cost?
Handballs vary widely in price, depending on the style and size you are looking for. High-performance indoor balls can range between $80 and $100 due to the quality of material used to make the ball easier to grip and squeeze. The craftsmanship involved in hand stitching some of the best balls equates to a higher price point. Training balls can be much cheaper, from $20 to $30, and even some beach and street handballs can be found for less than $50 online.
How often do you need to replace a handball?
How often a handball needs to be replaced depends on a variety of factors. It depends on the type of handball you purchased, how frequently you use it, how well you take care of it, and what sort of surface you play on. Beach handballs are designed to be waterproof, and if used exclusively on the beach, they can last for years. While street and training balls are designed for indoor and outdoor play, the more they are used outdoors, the quicker they will wear out.