How to Play Goalball! Line

Goalball Enthusiasts,

Goalball is an extremely simple game to learn, but can take years to master. It allows you to use senses that you don't normally rely on such as hand/eye cordination. Which allows one to develop different styles of playing and strategies. Providing a high level of intrigue, as well as a physical demanding game.


This document is only a basic overview of Goalball, the positions, strategies, and for the more competitive players the basic penalty situations. However, please keep in mind that this text is only an unofficial summary and not to be used as a comprehensive rule book.



Goalball was invented in 1946 by an Austrian Hanz Lorencezen and a German, Sett Reindle. It was used for sport and rehabilitation for the post WW II blind veterans. The game of Goalball developed over the years, gaining International acceptances and became a Paralympic Sport in 1980.

Getting Started:

First of all you should read the rules outline in this text so that you fully understand the concepts of the game of Goalball. Your second step is to prepare the court using the instruction below. Third you must organize teams, each consisting of 3 members, 1 centre and 2 wingers. You will also need to find a referee that is familiar with the rules and who will be able to start and control the course of the game.


To play Goalball you will need ( 1 ) Goalball, 76cm in diameter, and 1.250g in weight, tactile tape (duct tape), and (6) pair of blacked out ski goggles (blind folds), which are to be used as eyeshades. You may also want to acquired some knee and elbow pads to protect against bruses and floor burns.

The Court:

The court is a standard gymnasium volleyball court, which measures (9m wide x 18m long). There are two team areas at either end of the court, which measure (3m wide x 9mlong). Inside the team areas, there are player orientation marks consisting of two 1.5m wing lines and one 0.50m centre line.

Preparing the Court:

In preparing the court you will want to use standard duct tape. It is general practice to make the court two layers thick, that being one on top of the other, giving the court a superior tactile feel allowing players to easily find their positions.

IMPORTANT: You may want to use a non-stick tape underneath the duct tape to prevent it from ripping up any varnish or painted lines on the floor. Lines to be taped, are the entire team areas with the players orientation lines. The over throw lines, centre line, and the out side lines of the neutral area only have to be taped if they don't exist on your volleyball court. These lines only have to be one layer thick because they are used primarily by the referees.

*** Graphic... illustration of a 
Goalball Court.***

The Objective:

The object of the game is to simply roll the ball on the floor, in a bowling motion and have the ball completely cross over the opposing team's goal line, scoring a point.

Basic Rules:

Game Time - A regular Goalball game is 20 minutes, consisting of two 10 minute halves. There is a 3 minute half time, in order for the teams to switch ends.

First Ball - A coin toss determines which team will receive the first ball, with the opposing team receiving the ball after half time. Each team is allowed three, 45 seconds, time outs in a game.

Eyeshades - In order to maintain an equal advantage, all team members, must wear eyeshades at all times, during the game. After the game has started, a player may only adjust his or her eyeshades, by raising your arm up in the air, and calling eyeshades. Only then, after the referee tells the person to turn around, may the person adjust their eyeshades.

Time limits - Upon receiving control of the ball, a team has only 10 seconds to throw the ball back at the opposing team. If not, it is considered a team penalty.

Throwing - The ball must be rolled on the floor. When throwing the ball, it must touch the floor before the over throw line or it is considered to be a high ball. This would constitute a penalty and nullifies any goal scored from that throw. So keep in mind, that the ball must be bowled or rolled along the floor rather then thrown.

Defending - Players must stay with in the team area when defending. When stopping the ball, some part of the players body must be touching the team area or it is called: Illegal defence and constitutes a penalty.

Play - The audible command "PLAY" must be called by the referee to start or restart the game. After any official stoppage in the game, "PLAY" must be called to restart the game. For example: the start of the game, after an out of bounds ball, a blocked out ball, a penalty situation, or a Goal.

Losing Possession of the Ball - There are 3 ways to lose possession of the ball. This means your team will lose the ball and the opposing team gets to throw.

1. Premature Throw: This is when a player, throws the ball before he/she is allowed to or before "PLAY" has been called.

2. Pass Out: If a player passes the ball to another team mate and the pass is missed, with the ball going over the outside lines, this is called a "Pass Out".

3. Ball Over: This takes place, when a defending player stops the ball, and it bounces off that player and rolls over the centre line.

Goal - A goal counts when the ball passes completely over the 9m back(goal) line of either team area. It is a goal no matter, how it crosses the line, if it was thrown by the opposing team, and or thrown or carried over by your own team members.


Penalty situations are for the more competitive players. The rules above outline what justifies a penalty. Basically there are two kinds of Penalties:

Team Penalties: - Ten Seconds - Team Delay of Game - Team Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Illegal Coaching

Personal Penalties: - High Ball - Three Throws - Eyeshades - Personal Unsportsmenlike Conduct - Personal Delay of Game - Long Ball - Illegal Defence

In a penalty situation, only one player will remain on the court, defending the entire goal by himself/herself for one penalty shot. This person who stays on is determined by the penalty called. If it is a personal penalty, then it is the one that incurred the penalty that remains on the court. However, if it is a Team Penalty that has been called, then, it is the last person that shot, who remains on the court to defend the goal.

Players Positions:

In Goalball there are two types of positions on a team, there is one Centre and two Wingers.


The wingers main responsibility is to cover the wing line. That is, the 1.5m lines on either end of the team area and parallel to the goal line. His second responsibility, is to back up his centre player. The defending winger should stand with his feet at the end of the wing line in a crouched or a squatting position. When he hears the oncoming ball and has determined it's course, he should line down in the direction of the oncoming ball, either going left or right, always remembering to lie down in line with the wing line, that is parallel to the goal line. The player must always remember, to stretch out fully with arms and legs straight, becoming almost an extension of the wing line, covering as much of the goal line as possible. The players arms, should be straight, but in front of the players face, with the head tilted back, protecting the players face from any contact with the ball.

The Centre defends the same as a winger, always diving onto the floor, fully stretched out, covering as much of the court as possible. The Centre player will play on the front line of the team area, orientating himself with the 0.15m centre line. This marking tells the centre, that he is at the middle of the front line. The centre either dives left or right, along the front line in the direction of the oncoming ball, always keeping, some part of his body in the team area.


When throwing the ball back at the defending team, one must always, feel the floor marking first, so that they are squared off and facing, the direction in which they wish to throw. Once they are aware of their position, they are ready to throw the ball. They can take a step or two, and bowl, or roll the ball, along the floor, in the direction of the opposing team. Remember, you have only have eight seconds after stopping the ball, to throw it back.


There are many strategies to the game of Goalball. You can throw the ball hard and fast, or soft and slow. You can throw the ball cross court form corner to corner, or even curve it by placing a spin on the ball before releasing it. These techniques all have advantages and disadvantages which always leaves new things to master the game and makes it both interesting and fun to play.


The main job of the referee is to inform the players of what is transpiring and to keep control of the game in doing so. The calls the referees make, must be loud and clear, so that all the players understand the calls and so that there is no confusion. Some of the calls that a referee must know are:

Play - This is the audible command that will start or restart the game after any official stoppages in play.

Dead Ball - Is when the ball has stopped moving and the players are unaware of it's location, usually in the teams own area The ball is then returned to the closes player, usually the winger.

Out - This to inform the players, that the ball was thrown out of bounds. When the ball is given back to the players, the referee must sat "Play" before the team throws to restart the game.

Blockout - This is when one of the defending team players stops the ball, but knocks it out of bounds while trying to stop it. Again "Play" must be used to restart the game.

Ball Over - Is called when the ball has gone over the goal cross bar, which is 1.5 meters above the goal line.

Passout - Is created when a player passes the ball to a fellow team mate, and the pass is missed, with the ball going out of bounds. Then the opposing team gets the ball. Note: If the ball rolls into the goal, it is considered a goal, and then the same team gets the ball.

Eyeshades - That is when a player takes off his eyeshades or adjusts them, with out the permission from the referee.

High ball - Is when a player throws the ball and it does not touch the floor within the three metres in front of the team area.

Ten Seconds - This is when a team takes longer then 10 seconds to throw the ball, after having had control of the ball. It's considered a team penalty.

Three Throws - Is when a single player has thrown the ball three consecutive times in a row. This is deemed as a personal penalty.

Goal - This is of course, when a goal is scored and the scoring team, receives a point.

Half - This lets the players know it is half time. (3 minute rest)

Game - Informing the teams that the game is over.

Time out - Allows the team that called "Time Out" to have a 45 second time out.

Substitution - Stoppage in the game, to switch team members, with new ones coming in. This can only be done when your team has control of the ball or there an "Official" staoppage in play.

Keep on Play'en

Shoot Back to D's Goalball Links. Back To D's Goalball Links