How Long Is A Handball Game?

How Long Is A Handball Game

The total playing time of an adult league handball, or team handball, game is 60 minutes. The 60 minutes are split into two 30-minute halves. In between halves, there is a 10 to 15-minute break. With breaks and timeouts, the total elapsed time of the game is approximately 90 minutes. If the game is tied after 60 minutes of regulation time and requires a winner, up to two overtime periods consisting of five-minute halves are played until a team takes the lead.

For leagues that are younger than 16 years old, there are only two 25-minute halves with a 10-minute break. Kids leagues (ages 8-12) have even shorter games; their halves clock in at only 20 minutes long with a 10-minute break in between. 


Handball Game Clock

The timed sections of handball are very simple. The game is split into two 30-minute halves for adult games.

The Clock

Handball Clock

The clock in handball starts from zero and counts up to 30 minutes for each half. Handball is a continuous game with very few times when the clock stops. Coaches are only allowed three timeouts for the entire duration of the game. Additionally, they can not call more than two timeouts in a single half. Coaches can only call timeouts when the ball is in their team’s possession.

Since the game of handball is continuous, leading teams may be tempted to run the clock when they are in possession of the ball. There are many rules put in place to avoid this. For example, when players are holding the ball, they cannot take more than three steps and must pass or shoot within three seconds. A violation of these rules gives the other team a free throw. If a referee feels that a team is stalling time, they can penalize them.

Ties and Overtime

The team that wins a handball game is the team that has scored more points after both halves have been completed. For the knockout phases of major international tournaments, a tie is not permitted. In the instances where there must be a winner, up to two overtime periods may take place. Each period consists of two five-minute halves with a one-minute break in between. If one team is in the lead at the end of the first overtime period, then they are declared the winners. If the score is still tied at the end of the first overtime period, a second period proceeds. The second overtime period is identical to the first one, and coaches are not allotted timeouts during overtime.

In the event that the score is still even after the two overtime periods, a shootout will take place. In a shootout, five team members are chosen to take a free shot at the goal, which is defended only by the goalie. The team members must take their throws from seven meters away. The team that throws the most goals after five attempts wins the game.


How long is an Olympic handball game?

In Olympic handball, the total elapsed time of a game from start to finish is around 90 minutes. However, there are 60 minutes of gameplay. The game is split into two 30-minute halves, and Olympic handball has a 15-minute break in between halves. If the game is tied after 60 minutes of gameplay, two five-minute overtime periods will be added to decide a winner.

How long is a youth handball game?

Youth handball games are shorter than adult handball games. Games with players under 16 are only 50 minutes long, with two 25 minute halves. For these games, there is a 10-minute break in between periods. For kids games ages 8-12, halves are only 20 minutes long, with a 10-minute break still included.

How many periods are in a game of handball?

There are only two periods in a game of handball. Each period, or half, is thirty minutes long with a 10 to 15-minute break in between. If there is a tie, two additional overtime periods will be added, consisting of two five-minute halves with a one-minute break between each half.