A game of handball consists of two teams, where each team tries to score as many goals as possible against the opposing team by throwing a ball into a net. There are six players on the field and one goalkeeper. As a sport, handball is fast-paced and has been described as a combination of basketball, water polo, and soccer. Touching the ball with your feet is not allowed, body contact is permitted and there are similar dribbling rules as in basketball. Players can pass, shoot or keep possession of the ball, which is slightly smaller than a soccer ball.

A modern handball game is usually played indoors on a court that is 40 by 20 meters (131 by 66 feet). At each end of the court, there is a goal and a 6-meter (20 feet) zone which surrounds each goal. Only the goalie is allowed to move around in this half-circle zone. So, in order for a goal to be scored, a player must be outside the zone when he or she throws the ball.

In total, a standard game consists of two 30-minute periods. Since the game is fast and fairly high-scoring, it is not rare to see professional teams scoring between 20 and 35 goals each. Outdoor variants of the sport also exist, for example, field handball or beach handball – a form which is growing in popularity.