how long is a handball game graph

How Long is a Handball Game? The Skills You Need To Play

A handball game is 60-minutes long. It’s played in 2 X 30-minutes halves with a break of minimum 10-minutes. Overtime (2 halves of 5 minutes) is played with a tied score after a short 5-minute break. A 1-minute break is allowed between overtime breaks. If the game is still tied, it can go to a 7-meter-throwing tiebreaker with no time limit.

A normal game of handball lasts around 60 minutes. However, the final time is influenced by the half-time break as well as by the in-game break time. Each team is allowed one 1-minute break during each half. This is not allowed in overtime.

When a 1-minute break is requested by the team, the handball games’ official referee blows the whistle and stops the official timer. The additional referee is normally responsible for ensuring the break is no longer than a minute.


Independent from the flow of the handball game, a player can be facing time-outs for various regulation offenses. A 2-minute and a 4-minute time-out can be whistled by the referee for some players. Time-outs can be whistled even when there are less than 2 minutes left in the game. Such time-outs are important in the length of a handball game. Officials stop the clock whenever such a time-out is in place. The referee then resumes the game and the official clock.

Also independently from the length of the handball games, individual suspensions carry over to the second half of the game, both in the 60-minutes regular time as well as in extra time. If a player needs more time to complete the 2-minute suspension and there’s no time left in the first half, the suspension will carry over to the second half when it will resume until completed.

How long is a youth’s handball game?

Those under 16 play handball games which last 50 minutes, with 2 X 25-minute halves. The normal break time, in this case, is 10 minutes.

At the kids’ level, it is recommended to keep the handball game even shorter. This is why kids aged 8 to 12 normally play handball games of 40 minutes, with 2 halves of 20 minutes each.

Can a handball game last longer than 60 minutes?

Official handball games can’t last longer than 60 minutes. At an amateur or non-competition level, things can be different. Records have been held, mainly for charity purposes.

A handball game even lasted for 32 hours. Played in 2011 in Belarus to mark handball’s celebration in the country, the game involved over 1.000 amateur players of all ages. It began at 11:00 AM and ended at 11:PM the following day. The final score of the game was 977 – 973.

Can you play handball for 60 minutes?

If you’re looking to get into handball, you need to be ready to play for 60-minutes. Various individual and group training measures can be applied to get in good shape to play both halves of a handball game.

According to a 2009 study, handball players need to include the following elements.

  • Strength and power exercises – with a focus on sprinting and throwing abilities
  • Speed and agility drills – for technique skills
  • Specific training for each position – both physical and technique-specific training

If you want to get into handball, you can also learn more about its rules here.




Leave a Comment