Is volleyball the same as handball? Differences EXPLAINED

No, volleyball and handball are different sports. While they are both ball sports that are played with hands, this is where the similarities end. Handball is quite similar to soccer but instead of playing with your feet, you are holding the ball in your hand. Volleyball is a different sport as both teams are standing on another side of the net and have to push the ball over it. There are no goals in volleyball and you are not allowed to hold the ball in your hands in volleyball. For these reasons we can state that volleyball and handball are completely different sports, each with its own unique elements. Volleyball players wouldn’t know how to play handball and vice versa as the rules and the purpose of the game are quite different.

Example of great volleyball moves:

Players want to win their volleyball match and they often search for an edge. Are they allowed to use their feet to touch the ball? Are they allowed to hold the ball in their hand? Let’s discuss this in more detail and see the differences between volleyball, and handball. There is some overlap between these sports but markable differences as well.

Similarities between the two sports: where is the overlap?

Both volleyball and handball are, as their names suggest ball sports. You need the ball to be able to score a point and have to try to capture it from the other team to do so. 

It is both team sports and you have to work together to win. You can’t win a match on your own as you need to pass and work together if you want to score points.  There are players on the bench so it is possible to substitute during the match. This allows players to rest once they are tired. It has to be noted that there are no substitutions allowed in beach volleyball but it is allowed to change players in indoor volleyball.  

Photo by Stephen Baker on Unsplash

 While they are both played by touching the ball with your hands, this is where the similarities end. There are attackers and defenders in both sports and each player has a specific role. This makes sure that it is harder to score points. In both of these sports, there are 6 players per team on the court. You are also allowed to jump in both sports. In fact, jumping is quite important to attack in volleyball and handball. 

Handball and volleyball both can be played on sand and outdoors as well. This can add some variety to these sports and keep it exciting. Beach volleyball is even an Olympics sport. Indoor volleyball and handball are also Olympic sports.

Volleyball and handball are mainly played in a sports arena. The players need similar equipment in that they need indoor shoes, socks, shorts, and a shirt. Other than this not a lot of gear is required for the players. A lot of volleyball players wear knee pads and some handball players do this as well to reduce the impact of falling on their knees. This makes it quite cheap to perform these sports as the main equipment is often available in the sports arena itself.

Differences between volleyball and handball.

 Volleyball is a noncontact sport and both teams are standing on another side of the net. Furthermore, you are not allowed to hold the ball in your hand during volleyball. There are also no goals in volleyball, the goal is to drop the ball on the floor of the court of the other team. 

There is also no keeper in volleyball whereas one player is guarding the goal in handball. 

Players are only allowed to pass 3 times per attack in volleyball whereas they are able to do so 6 times per attack in handball.

The scoring system is also different. Volleyball is played in sets (in most instances of 25 points per set). Each team has to win 2 sets for females and 3 sets for males. This can make the game turn around even after a team has lost one set in a big way. Handball uses a continuous scoring system and this can make it harder to make a comeback after the team has struggled for a while. Volleyball is famous for its spectacular comebacks of teams that had a hard period. Some people argue that this is unfair but in my opinion, it just keeps the teams at their toes during the whole match. You can have comebacks in handball but it is harder if you are behind by a lot of points. 

The size of the court and the ball are different between these two sports. Volleyball is played with a bigger ball than handball. In handball, you have to be able to hold the ball whereas the same is not true about volleyball as you can only pass the ball around.

Some great handball moments:

Volleyball is also more popular as it is in the top 5 of most played sports worldwide. Handball is less popular. This means that volleyball attracts more players. Especially in countries such as Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil volleyball is very popular and can attract big crowds. In the  USA volleyball is mainly popular amongst female players. Handball is not that popular as the sport is less well known. 

To conclude, we can say that there are big differences between volleyball and handball. Each sport has its unique characteristics. Handball is more similar to soccer than it is to volleyball. Therefore we can state that each sport is unique. There is some overlap because both are played with a ball and with hands but that is where the similarities end. Both have their own interesting elements but volleyball players would not be able to play handball without instructions and vice versa. In this post, we discussed the main differences but there are more nuances that make them different.