Similar to other sports, handball uses both offensive and defensive team play. While scoring is important, you can't control the ball being out of your hands. If you find the opposing team coming after you in a fast-paced way, your team needs to get together and form a strong defense. Defensive skills need to kick in immediately to help take back control of the ball.
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind to help you achieve success while playing defense in handball.
1. Work Together - All 6 players of the team must work together while defending. It's best if all players are located closer to the goal than the center line while defending the goalie but not interfering in his or her line of focus. To directly defend a player, always remember to only use your torso; hands and feet should remain close together while arms must stay by your side at all times.
2. Build a Wall - A normal formation for defensive play is having all 6 players line up in a straight "wall" somewhere between the six and nine meter lines, known as "6-0" formation. Doing this blocks the opposing team from getting to the goalie. This is called "indirect" defense as no player will be defending a single player of the opposing team.
3. Stepped Defense - This defensive play positions one to three of the defenders in front of their teammates to prevent across-the-court shots from being made by the opposing team. Essentially, two walls are made, allowing members of the opposing teams to pass but not get away. This play spreads out the defense to other areas of the court where defense may soon be needed.
4. "5-1" Defense - This is another defensive play in which five members form a solid wall on the six meter line as one player is out in front of the wall. That player should go to block the opposing player who has the ball. Once the ball is passed, that player will return to the wall and another player will come out and block the opposing player who now carries the ball. This is a unique form of defense but highly effective in creating a "defensive illusion."
5. Offensive Defense - To play in hopes of a turn-over is called offensive defense. This is the most effective way to play defense. While forming a wall will defend your goalie and block the opposing team, it will make it hard for any single player to catch the ball. With direct defense or other similar plays, always try to catch the ball when in the air.
6. Fast and Confident - When playing defense, it's important that you know what formation you will be playing and to get into that position as fast as possible. Once the other team retrieves the ball, it will be up to you to defend your net sharply and quickly. Make sure you never let your guard down. Have a confident look on your face to scare away the other team. If you aren't confident in the game you're playing, chances are your defensive skills will be weak.
Defense isn't always an easy thing to play during a game of handball. No one likes having the ball held by the opposing team, but by playing a strong and smart defense, you'll have the ball back on your side in no time. Keep some of these tips and plays in mind next time you're on the handball court.