The Ultimate Guide To Handball: How Many Steps Can You Take?

yellow and black soccer ball on field

How Handball Players Take Steps Before Taking a Shot

Handball is an exciting and dynamic sport that requires skill, agility and physical fitness. Players use their hands to pass the ball to one another, as well as taking shots on goal. But how many steps can you take in handball before taking a shot?

The answer depends on the context of the game – if players are playing five-a-side or seven-a-side handball, they are limited by different rules when it comes to taking steps. In both cases however, there are restrictions placed on how many steps a player can take while holding onto the ball before they need to release it.

Five-A-Side Handball Rules

In five-a-side handball, players may only take three steps before releasing the ball or passing it off to another teammate. After receiving possession of the ball from either a teammate’s pass or after collecting a rebound off an opponent’s shot attempt, a player has three seconds counted out loud by referees during which time he/she may not move with the ball in their hands for more than three consecutive steps without bouncing it off any surface (including walls). If this happens, then play will be stopped and restarted with either faceoff between two opposing players at center court or through possession given back to whichever team had control over possession leading up to the infraction.

Seven A Side Handball Rules

However, the rules vary slightly from those applied in five-a-side games when playing seven-a-side handball. Each individual player is allowed up to four seconds with the ball in their hands before passing it off to another player or attempting a shot on goal. Although this number may vary depending on the level of play and referee discretion, as well as whether the possession is interrupted by an opponent during this time frame or not, that number will never exceed four seconds with the ball in any given moment for any reason under normal circumstances unless otherwise specified by officials during gameplay itself.


At its core, understanding how many steps you can take in handball essentially comes down to knowing whether you’re playing the five-a-side or seven-a-side version of this popular sport. In five-a-side games, individuals are limited to just three consecutive steps without bouncing. In seven-a-side games, the number of steps is increased to four seconds, depending on the level of play and referee discretion!