4-Wall Handball Rules

This is the original Southern California Handball website created in June 1996
and last udated in May 2000. Click here to see the current updated site.

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Part 1. The Game
1.1 Types
1.2 Description
1.3 Objectives
1.4 Points and Outs
1.5 Game

Part 2. Courts and Equipment
2.1 Courts
2.2 Ball
2.3 Gloves
2.4 Clothing
2.5 Eye Protection

Part 3. Officials and Officiating
3.1 Tournament Director
3.2 Referee Director
3.3 Removal of Referee
3.4 Referee
3.5 Line Judges
3.6 Appeals
3.7 Scorers
3.8 Floor Manager
Part 4. Play Regulations
4.1 Serve
4.2 Doubles
4.3 Defective Serves
4.4 Return of Serve
4.5 Changes of Serve
4.6 Rally
4.7 Dead-Ball Hinders
4.8 Avoidable Hinders
4.9 Technicals
4.10 Rest Periods

Part 5. Tournaments
5.1 Draws
5.2 Scheduling
5.3 Consolation Matches
5.4 Notice of Matches
5.5 Tournament Management
5.6 Tournament Conduct
5.7 Eligibility

Part 1. The Game

Rule 1.1 Types of Games. Four-wall handball may be played by two, three or four players. When played by two, it is called singles; when played by three, cutthroat; and when played by four, doubles.

Rule 1.2 Description. Handball is a competitive game in which either hand or either fist may be used to serve and return the ball.

Rule 1.3 Objective. The objective is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball so the opponent is unable to keep the ball in play. A rally is won when one player is unable to return the opponent's shot to the front wall before it touches the floor twice, or when a player returns the ball so that it hits the floor before striking the front wall.

Rule 1.4 Points and Outs. Points are scored only by the serving side when it serves an ace (unreturnable serve) or wins a rally. When the serving side loses one rally in singles or two rallies in doubles, it loses the serve. Losing the serve is called an "out."

Rule 1.5 Game, Match, Tie Breaker. A match is won by the first side winning two games. The first two games of a match are played to 21 points. In the event each side wins a game, a tie-breaker is played to 11 points.

Part 2. Courts and Equipment

Rule 2.1 Courts. The specifications for the standard four-wall handball court are:
A. Dimensions. The court is 20 feet wide, 20 feet high and 40 feet long, with back wall recommended minimum height of 14 feet.
B. Lines and Zones. Handball courts shall be divided and marked on the floors with 2-inch-wide lines. Recommended colors are white or red. The lines shall be marked as follows:
  1. Short Line. The short line is parallel to the front and back walls. Its outside edge is 20 feet from the front wall.
  2. Service Line. The service line is parallel to the short line and its outside edge is 5 feet in front of the outside of the short line.
  3. Service Zone. The service zone is the area between the outer edges of the short and service lines.
  4. Service Boxes. A service box is located at each end of the service zone by lines whose outside measurements are 18 inches from and parallel to each side wall.
  5. Receiver's Restraining Lines. Five feet back of the outside edge of the short line, lines should be marked on the floor extending 6 inches from the side wall. These lines are parallel to the short line. (See Rule 4.4 A.)

Rule 2.2 Ball
A. Specifications.
  1. Material. The material should be rubber or synthetic material.
  2. Color. Color is optional.
  3. Size. 1 7/8-inch diameter, with 1/32-inch variation.
  4. Weight. 2.3 ounces, with a variation of .2 ounces. A lighter ball may be used for any division provided it is specified on the entry blank.
  5. Rebound. Rebound from freefall, 70-inch drop to a hardwood floor is 46 to 50 inches at a temperature of 68 degrees F.
B. Selection. A new ball must be selected by the referee for use in each match in all tournaments. During a game the referee has the authority to change balls if he deems it necessary. Though it is the referee's decision, he should honor request when made by both sides or when he detects erratic bounces.

Rule 2.3 Gloves
A. General. Gloves must be worn.
B. Style. Gloves must be light in color and made of a soft material or leather. The fingers may not be webbed, connected or removed.
C. Foreign Substances. No foreign substance, tape or rubber bands shall be used on the fingers or on the palms on the outside of the gloves. Metal or hard substances may not be worn under the glove if, in the opinion of the referee, it creates an unfair advantage.
D. Wet Gloves. Gloves must be changed when they become sufficiently wet to moisten the ball. This is the referee's decision. Gloves with holes that expose the skin may not be worn. It is the player's responsibility to have an ample supply of dry gloves.

Rule 2.4 Clothing
A. General. All clothing, consisting of a shirt, shorts, socks and shoes, must be clean at the beginning of a match. Only customary handball attire, in the referee's judgment, can be worn. Players may not play without shirts. Shirts must be full length, not cut off in the torso.
B. Color. Color is optional. Unusual patterns or colors that affect the opposing player's view of the ball or distract him may not be worn.
C. Wet Shirts. Referee may demand that a wet shirt be changed. Players must have an ample supply of dry shirts.
D. Lettering and Insignia. Lettering or insignia in poor taste is not allowed.
E. Shoes. Shoes must have soles that do not mark or damage the floor.

Rule 2.5 Eye Protection
A. General. Protective eyewear must be properly worn at all times during play. Lensed eye protection designed for court sports with polycarbonate lenses of at least 3mm center thickness is recommended.
B. Violations. Failure to wear appropriate protective eyewear properly will result in a technical (See Rule 4.9), and the player will be charged a time-out to secure eyewear. The second violation in the same match will result in a forfeit.

Part 3. Officials and Officiating

Rule 3.1 Tournament Director. All tournaments shall be managed by a Tournament Director, who shall designate the officials. The officials shall include a referee, and linesmen whenever possible.
A. Responsibilities. The Tournament Director is responsible for overseeing the entire tournament. He, or his delegated representative, shall be present at all times.
B. Rules Briefing. Before all tournaments, all officials and players should be briefed on 4-Wall Handball Rules and on local court hinders or other regulations. This briefing should also be in writing. Any modifications made by the Tournament Director should be stated on the entry form, and be available to all players at registration. It is also recommended that referee clinics be held before the tournament.
Rule 3.2 Referee Director. The Referee Director is in charge of assigning referees to all tournament matches.

Rule 3.3 Removal of Referee. One or more players may request that a referee be replaced. The decision to do so is at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director or Referee Director. Special consideration should be given to such a request if all players are in agreement.

Rule 3.4 Referee
A. Pre-Match Duties. Before each match begins, it shall be the duty of the referee to:
  1. Playability. Check on adequacy of preparation of the handball court with respect to playability.
  2. Equipment. Check on availability and suitability of all materials necessary for the match, such as handballs, towels, scorecards, pencils and a timepiece.
  3. Assisting Officials. Check readiness and provide instructions to assisting officials.
  4. Court Hinders. Explain court hinders, if any, to players. (See Rule 4.G.1.a).
  5. Inspect Gloves, Clothing and Eye Protection. Remind players to have an adequate supply of extra gloves and shirts. Inspect compliance of gloves and hands with rules. Remind players that failure to wear eye protection properly will result in a technical, and a second violation in a forfeit.
  6. Start Game. Introduce players, toss coin to determine order of serve and signal start of game.
  7. Time. The assigned referee should be present 15 minutes before match time.
  8. Two-Minute Warning. Give a two-minute warning before the match and before each game.
  9. Scoring. Announce the scores before each rally (See Rule 4.A.5.).
B. Decisions. The referee shall make all decisions with regard to the rules. Where line judges are used, the referee shall announce all final judgments. In the absence of line judges, if both players in singles or three out of four in a doubles match disagree with a call made by the referee, the referee should consider reversing his call.
  1. Spectators. The referee shall have jurisdiction over the spectators, as well as the players, while the match is in progress.
C. Protests. Any decision involving a rule's interpretation may be protested before the next Serve. It will then be resolved by the head referee or Tournament Director. Judgment calls may not be protested. If the player's protest is upheld, the proper ruling will be made. If the player's protest is not upheld, the player shall be charged with a time-out. If the player is out of time-outs, he will be charged with a technical.
D. Forfeitures. A match may be forfeited by the referee when:
  1. Flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct. Any player refuses to abide by the referee's decision or engages in flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct.
  2. Three Technicals. A player receives three technicals in a match.
  3. Leaving the Court. Any player leaves the court at a time not allowed by these rules without permission of the referee.
  4. Failure to Report.
a. No Show. Any player for a singles match, or any team for a doubles match, fails to report to play.
b. Late Start Penalty. The opponent shall be awarded one point for each full minute of delay of game up to 10 minutes. The match shall then be forfeited. This applies to the start of the match, between-game time-outs, time-outs during a game and glove-change time-outs. Players should stay within earshot of the referee to help prevent the delay-of-game penalty. It is the obligation of the players to be ready to resume play on time even if the referee fails to give time warnings. If the matches are on, or ahead of, schedule, the players must be in the court warming up at least 10 minutes before the assigned match time to assure a prompt start. If running behind, the players must be dressed and ready to enter the court for a maximum 10-minute, in-court warm up.
If a player shows up less than 10 minutes before the scheduled starting time, his warm-up time will be reduced accordingly. The Tournament Director may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant.
E. Defaults. A player or team may be forfeited by the Tournament Director or official in charge for failure to comply with the tournament or host facility's rules while on the tournament premises, for failure to referee or for any other improper conduct on the tournament premises.
F. Other Rulings. The referee shall rule on all matters not covered in the 4-Wall Handball Rules. However, the referee may be overruled by the Referee Director or Tournament Director, who shall have final authority.
Rule 3.5 Line Judges
A. Linesmen. If possible, two linesmen will be used in all matches, positioned at the most advantageous viewpoints. A linesman's opinion is based on his agreement or disagreement with the referee's call. If a linesman is uncertain, he should abstain from expressing an opinion.
B. Duties and Responsibilities. Linesmen are designated to help decide appealed calls. In the event of an appeal, and after a very brief explanation of the appeal by the referee, the linesmen must indicate their opinions of the referee's call. The signal to show agreement with the referee is arm extended with thumb up; disagreement is shown by thumb pointing down. The signal to show no opinion or that the line judge is unsure or his view was blocked is arm extended with an open hand and palm down. Line judges should not signal until the referee acknowledges the appeal and asks for a ruling.
C. Result of Response. If both line judges signal no opinion, the referee's call stands. If both line judges disagree with the referee, the referee must reverse his ruling. If only one line judge disagrees with the referee's call, the referee may let the call stand, reverse his call or call for a replay.
Rule 3.6 Appeals
A. Appealable Calls. The server may appeal a short or other service fault. He may also appeal receiving line violations. If his appeal is upheld, the server is awarded the serve over. If he had one short, the call would cancel the previous fault call, and he would be awarded two serves, because he was judged to have made a legal serve. If, in the opinion of the referee, the ball could not have been returned, a point shall be awarded the server. If the appeal is not upheld, the call would be two shorts, a side out. After the rally has ended, either player may appeal on a double-bounce call or non-call, kill shots called good, kill shots called no good and court hinders. The outcome may result in a point being awarded, a side out, or a replay depending on the linesmen's opinions. If both linesmen disagree with the referee's call or non-call, the call is reversed or replayed. After the rally has ended, the receiver may appeal faults and skip serves not called. If he wins the appeal, he is awarded the appropriate call. After the rally, either player may appeal a double-bounce call or non-call, kill shots called good or no good, or any call or non-call regarding a legal return. The outcome of the appeal may result in a point or sideout being upheld, reversed or replayed, depending on the linesmen's opinions.
At no time may a player appeal a screen serve, hinder (other than court hinders), technicals or other discretionary calls.
B. How to Appeal. A player must make appeals directly to the referee before the referee announces the score. The referee will then request the opinion of the linesmen. The referee may also appeal to the linesmen himself if he is uncertain of his own call, and may then maintain, reverse or nullify his own call. A replay shall be called if the referee believes it is necessary in the interest of fairness.

Rule 3.7 Scorers. The scorer, when utilized, shall keep a record of the progress of the game in the manner prescribed by the committee or Tournament Director. As a minimum, the progress record shall include the order of serves, outs, and points.

Rule 3.8 Floor Manager. The Floor Manager informs players of their court assignments and times.

Part 4. Play Regulations

Rule 4.1 Serve.
A. Order. The player or side winning the toss of a coin chooses to serve or receive in the first game. The other player or side shall choose for the second game. If a tie breaker is necessary, the player or team scoring the higher total of points in the first two games shall choose. If both players or teams score an equal number of points in the first two games, another coin toss will be made to d determine which player or team has the choice.
B. Start. Games are started by the referee announcing the score, "0-0," and then "Play ball."
C. Place. The server may serve from anyplace in the service zone. No part of either foot may extend beyond the outer edge of either line of the service zone. Server must remain in the service zone until the served ball passes the shortline. Violations are called "footfaults" (See Rule 4.3 B.1.).
D. Manner. The server must come to a complete stop in the service zone before beginning the serve. The serve is begun by bouncing the ball to the floor in the service zone. Although the server may bounce and catch the ball several times before serving, when actually beginning the serve the ball must be struck on a single bounce. If a player allows the ball to bounce more than once after a single drop before hitting it, a "fault" will be called (See Rule 4.3 B.8). The ball must be struck by the server's hand or fist so that it hits the front wall first and on the rebound hits the floor behind the short line, either with or without touching one of the side walls. If the server bounces the ball outside the service zone as he begins his serve, a "fault" will be called (See Rule 4.3 B.7).
E. Time. A serve may not be made until the referee has announced the score. The referee shall call "point" or "side out" as soon as a rally ends. The receiver then has up to 10 seconds to assume a receiving position. When the receiver has assumed a receiving position or 10 seconds have elapsed, whichever occurs first, and the server has had reasonable time to get to his serving position, the referee shall announce the score and the server must serve (strike the ball) within 10 seconds.
If the first serve results in a fault, the referee shall give the defensive player a reasonable time to take a receiving position and then the referee shall announce "second serve," after which the server must serve within 10 seconds.
Rule 4.2 Doubles.
A. Server. At the beginning of each game in doubles, each side informs the referee of the order of service, which must be followed throughout the game. Only the first server on the first serving team may serve the first time up. This player must continue to serve first throughout the game. When the game's first server is put out on his initial serve, the side is out. Thereafter, both players on each side shall serve until an out for each occurs. It is not necessary for the server to alternate serves to the opponents.
B. Partner's Position. On each serve, the server's partner shall stand erect with his back to the side wall and with both feet on the floor within the service box until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "foot faults."
Rule 4.3 Defective Serves. Defective serves are of three types and result in penalties as follows:
A. Dead-Ball Serves. A dead-ball serve results in no penalty and the server is given another serve without canceling a prior illegal serve. This occurs when an otherwise legal serve:
  1. Hits Partner. Hits the server's partner on the fly on the rebound from the front wall or from the front wall and a side wall while the server's partner is in the service box. Any serve that touches the floor before hitting the partner in the box is a fault.
  2. Screen Balls. If, in the referee's judgment, the ball passes so close to the server or the server's partner that the receiver's view of the ball is obstructed, a screen should be called. Any otherwise legal serve that passes behind the server's partner, between the partner and the side wall, is an automatic screen.
  3. Straddle Balls. A legally served ball that travels between the legs of the server is an automatic screen.
  4. Court Hinder. If a served ball takes an erratic bounce due to a court obstruction or wetness, a court hinder is called and the serve is replayed.
  5. Broken Ball. If the ball is determined to have broken on the serve, a new ball shall be substituted and the serve shall be replayed, not canceling a prior fault.
B. Fault Serves. The following serves are fault serves and any two that are hit before a legal serve is executed result in an out:
  1. Foot Fault.
    a. The server begins the service motion with one or both feet outside the service zone.
    b. The server leaves the service zone before the served ball passes the short line.
    c. In doubles, when the server's partner is not in the service box with both feet on the floor and back to the wall from the time the serve is begun until the ball passes the short line.
  2. Short Serve. Any serve that first hits the front wall and on the rebound hits the floor in front of or on the short line either with or without touching one side wall.
  3. Three-Wall Serve. Any serve that first hits the front wall and then hits any two other walls before hitting the floor.
  4. Ceiling Serve. Any serve that hits the front wall first and then touches the ceiling before hitting the floor.
  5. Long Serve. Any serve that first hits the front wall and rebounds to the back wall before touching the floor.
  6. Out-of-Court Serve. Any serve that first strikes the front wall and then rebounds out of the court without touching the floor.
  7. Bouncing Ball Outside Service Zone. Any serve that is struck on a bounce that was made outside the service zone.
  8. Not Hitting Wall on First Bounce from a Single Drop. (See Rule 4.1 D).
  9. Two Consecutive Screen Serves. Two consecutive screen serves result in a fault. This is the only fault call that cannot be appealed.
C. Out Serves. Any of the following results in an out:
  1. Missed Serve. Any attempt to strike the ball on the first service bounce that results in a total miss or in the ball touching any part of the server's body other than the striking hand.
  2. Non-Front Serve. Any served ball that does not strike the front wall first.
  3. Touched Serve. Any served ball on the rebound from the front wall that touches the server, or touches the server's partner when the partner's foot is outside of the service box. This includes a serve that is intentionally caught. When the partner is hit by the serve when he is outside the service box, the "out serve" penalty supersedes the partner's foot fault.
  4. Two Consecutive Fault Serves. (See Rule 4.3 B)
  5. Crotch Serve. Any serve that hits a crotch In the front wall is an out. All balls hitting the crotch of a wall and the floor shall be considered to have hit the floor first. A serve that rebounds on the fly from the front wall into the crotch of the back wall and the floor is a legal serve, as is a three-wall crotch serve.
  6. Out-of-Order Serve. In doubles, when either partner serves out of order, the points scored by that server will be subtracted and an out serve will be called. If the second server serves out of order, the out serve will apply to the first server and the second server will resume serving. If the player designated as the first server serves out of order, a sideout will be called.
  7. Service Delay. The server fails to serve the ball within 10 seconds after the referee has announced the score.
Rule 4.4 Return of Serve.
A. Receiving Position. The receiver or receivers must stand at least five feet behind the short line as indicated by the six-inch restraining line, until the ball is struck by the server. Any violation of this rule results in a point for the server.
B. Fly Return. In making a fly return, the receiver must play the ball after it passes over the short line and no part of his body may extend on or over the plane of the short line when contacting the ball. A violation results in a point for the server. After contacting the ball, the receiver may step on or over the short line without penalty.
C. Legal Return. After the ball is legally served, one of the players on the receiving side must strike the ball either on the fly or after the first bounce, and before the ball touches the floor the second time, to return the ball to the front wall either directly or after it has touched one or both side walls, the back wall, the ceiling, or any combination of those surfaces. A returned ball may not touch the floor before touching the front wall. A ball may be played off the back wall as well as the front wall, provided the ball does not touch the floor a second time. Failure to make a legal return results in a point for the server.
Rule 4.5. Changes of Serve. A server is entitled to continue serving until he or his side makes an out. When the server or the side loses the serve, they become the receiver or receiving side, and the receiving side becomes the serving side; and so alternately in all subsequent services of the game. Outs are made by:
A. Out Serve. The server makes an out serve under Rule 4.3 C.
B. Fault Serve. The server makes two fault serves before executing a legal serve under Rule 4.3 B.
C. Hits Partner. The server hits his partner with an attempted return.
D. Return Failure. The server or his partner fails to keep the ball in play by returning it as required by Rule 4.4 C.
E. Avoidable Hinder. The server or his partner commits an avoidable hinder (See Rule 4.8).
F. Second Out. In doubles, the side is retired when both partners have been put out, except on the first serve as provided in Rule 4.2 A.
Rule 4.6 Rally. When the ball is legally returned and kept in play after a legal serve is executed. Play during rallies must be in accord with the following rules:
A. One Hand. Only the front or back of one hand may be used at any one time to return the ball. Using two hands together or any portion of the body other than the hand to hit a ball is an out.
B. Wrist Ball. The use of any other part of the body to return the ball, including the wrist or arm above the player's hand, is a violation, even though the wrist or arm may be covered by a glove.
C. One Touch. In attempting returns, the ball may be touched only once by one player. In doubles, both partners may swing at the ball, but only one may actually hit it.
D. Failure to Return. Any of the following constitutes a failure to make a legal return during the rally:
  1. The ball bounces on the floor twice before being hit.
  2. The ball fails to reach the front wall on the fly.
  3. The ball caroms off a player's hand or fist into the gallery or into any opening in a side wall.
  4. A ball that obviously did not have the velocity or direction to hit the front wall strikes another player on the court.
  5. In doubles, a ball struck by one player hits that player's partner.
  6. Committing an avoidable hinder (See Rule 4.8).
E. Effect of Failure to Return. Each violation results in an out or point. Any violation not detected by the referee must be called by the offending player.
F. Return Attempts.
  1. Singles. If a player swings at but misses the ball in play, the player may repeat his attempts to return the ball until it touches the floor the second time.
  2. Doubles. Both players on a side are entitled to attempt to return the ball. If one player swings at but misses the ball, both he and his partner may make further attempts to return the ball until it touches the floor the second time.
  3. Hinders. In singles or doubles, if a player swings at but misses the ball in play, and, in his or his partner's continuing attempt to play the ball before it touches the floor a second time, an opponent commits unintentional interference, a hinder is called (See Rule 4.7)
G. Touching the Ball. Except as provided in Rule 4.7 A.2, any touching of a ball before it touches the floor the second time by a player other than the one making a return is a point or out against the offending player.
H. Out-of-Court Ball.Any ball returned to the front wall that on the rebound or on the first bounce goes into the gallery or through any opening in a side wall is declared dead and the serve replayed.
  1. No return. Any ball not returned to the front wall that caroms off a player's hand or fist into the gallery or into any opening in a side wall shall be an out or point against the player failing to make the return.
I. Dry Ball and Gloves. Every effort must be made to keep the ball dry. Deliberately wetting the ball results in an out or point. The ball may be inspected by the referee at any time. If a player's gloves are wet to the extent that they leave wet marks on the ball, the player must change to dry gloves on a referee's time-out. This is strictly a referee's judgment. If a player wishes to change to dry gloves, he must hold the palms of his hands up to the referee and obtain the referee's permission to change. He may not leave the court without the referee's permission. Two minutes are allowed for glove changes. The referee should give a one-minute warning, but the player is still responsible to be back in the court within two minutes.
J. Broken Ball. If there is any suspicion that a ball has broken on the serve or during a rally play continues until the end of the rally. The referee or any player may request that the ball be examined. If the referee decides the ball is broken, a new ball must be put into play and the point replayed. Once a succeeding serve is attempted, the previous rally stands.
K. Play Stoppage. If a foreign object enters the court, or any other outside interference occurs or if a player loses a shoe or other properly worn equipment, the referee shall stop the game if it interferes with the continuance of play or poses an immediate danger. However, safety permitting, one rally-ending attempt should be allowed (See Rule 4.8 H).
L. Replays. Whenever a rally is replayed for any reason, the server is awarded two serves. A previous fault is voided.
Rule 4.7 Dead-Ball Hinders. Dead-ball hinders should be called when interference affects the play.
A. Situations
  1. Court Hinders. If, in the referee's opinion, an erratic bounce is caused by a court obstruction, a court hinder should be called. The player should not stop play at any time in anticipation of a call. Included in court hinders is the ball that hits a wet spot on the floor, walls or ceiling, causing it to skid. This is the referee's call, not the player's.
  2. Ball Hits Opponent. When a returned ball touches an opponent on the fly before hitting the front wall, and the shot obviously would not have reached the front wall on the fly, the player who is hit by the shot will be awarded the rally. If the ball had any chance of reaching the wall or if there is any doubt in the official's mind as to whether the ball would have reached the front wall, a dead-ball hinder will be called.
  3. Body Contact. If body contact occurs and the referee believes it was sufficient to stop the rally, either to prevent injury or because the contact distracted or prevented a player from being able to make a reasonable return, a hinder will be called. Except for the offensive player stopping play during his backswing, physical contact is not an automatic hinder. It is the judgment of the referee as to whether the contact impeded the play.
  4. Screen Ball. Any ball rebounding from the front wall so close to the body of a defensive player that it interferes with or prevents the offensive player from having a clear view of the ball. The referee should be careful not to make the screen call so quickly that it takes away a good offensive opportunity.
  5. Straddle Ball. When a ball passes between the legs of a player on the side that just returned the ball, if there is no fair chance for the opposing player to see or return the ball. This is not automatic.
  6. Backswing Hinder. A player may not stop play, except on physical contact during his backswing. He may immediately call "Contact" if he wants a contact hinder. If he elects to hit the ball, no contact call will be permitted. The defensive player may not stop play if contact occurs during his opponent's backswing.
  7. Safety Holdup. Any player about to execute a return who believes he will strike his opponent with his hand or arm may immediately stop play and request a dead-ball hinder. This call must be made immediately and is subject to approval by the referee. The referee must grant the hinder if he believes the holdup was reason able and the player otherwise might have been able to return the shot. The referee might also call an avoidable hinder if warranted.
  8. Other Interference. Any other unintentional interference that prevents a player from having a fair chance to see or return the ball.
B. Avoidance. While attempting to return the ball, a player is entitled to a fair chance to see and return the ball. It is the duty of the defensive side that has just served or returned the ball to move so the offensive side may go straight to the ball and not be required to go around an opponent. In the judgment of the referee, however, the offensive player must make a reasonable effort to move toward the ball and have a reasonable chance to return the ball before a hinder is called. The referee should be liberal in calling hinders to discourage playing the ball in such a way that an opponent cannot see it or swing at it until it is too late. When a player attempts a killshot in front of himself and his position interferes with his opponent's attempt to retrieve the ball, the referee should give the benefit of any doubt as to whether the ball was retrievable to the defensive player. It is not a hinder when a player hinders his partner.
C. Doubles. Both players on a side are entitled to a fair and unobstructed chance at the ball. Either one could be entitled to a hinder even though it naturally would be his partner's ball and even though his partner may have attempted to play the ball and has already missed (not touched) it.
D. Effect. A hinder call stops the play and usually voids any situation that follows, such as the ball hitting a player who stopped playing because of the call. However, if, in the opinion of the referee, his call was not responsible for the player being hit by the ball, the referee may overrule the hinder call and declare either a point or sideout. The only hinders a player may call are specified in Rules 4.7 A.6., and 4.7 A.7., and are subject to approval by the referee. Whenever a dead-ball hinder is called, the rally is replayed and any previous fault on the server is voided.
Rule 4.8 Avoidable Hinders. An avoidable hinder results in an out or a point, depending on whether the offender was serving or receiving. Player intent has no bearing on an avoidable call. An avoidable hinder should be called only when a hinder could have been avoided with reasonable effort. Avoidable hinders are called when:
A. Failure to Move. A player does not move sufficiently to allow his opponent his shot.
B. Blocking. A player moves into a position that effects a block or crowds his opponent about to return the ball; or, in doubles, one partner creates a hinder by moving in front of an opponent as his partner is returning the ball.
C. Moving into Ball. A player moves into the path of and is struck by the ball just played by his opponent.
D. Pushing. A player forcibly pushes an opponent during a rally.
E. View Obstruction. Moving across an opponent's line of vision just before he strikes the ball.
F. Distraction. Any avoidable distraction or intimidation that would interfere with the offensive player or team.
G. Stroke Interference. Any positioning that would not allow the opponent to use a normal stroke. This especially applies to a player moving in too close and being hit by or restricting the follow-through of the player hitting the ball.
H. Improper Equipment.The loss of any improperly worn equipment, or equipment not required on court, that interferes with the play or the safety of the players.
Rule 4.9 Technicals. A technical is assessed for unsportsmanlike conductor for improperly wearing eye protection. If a referee issues a technical, one point shall be deducted from the offender's score. The technical has no effect on service changes or sideouts. If the technical occurs between games or when the offender has no points, the result will be that the offender's score will be a negative one. Three technicals in a match will result in a forfeiture.
A. Types. Some examples of actions that may result in technicals are:
  1. Too frequent complaints made against the referee's judgment.
  2. Abuse of appeal privileges.
  3. Profanity.
  4. Excessive arguing.
  5. Threat of any nature to opponent or referee.
  6. Excessive or hard striking, throwing or kicking of ball between rallies.
  7. Failure to properly wear eye protection.
  8. Anything considered to be unsportsmanlike behavior.
B. Warnings. If a player's behavior is not so severe as to warrant a technical, a technical warning may be issued without a point deduction and should be accompanied by a brief explanation of the reason for a warning. A technical warning may precede the penalty of a technical but is not necessary.
Rule 4.10 Rest Periods.
A. Time-Outs. Any player may request a time-out, but not after the referee has announced the score or called "second serve" after a fault. Time-outs must not exceed one minute. Three time-outs are allowed each side per 21-point game. Two time-outs are allowed during an 11- point game. Time-outs may be called consecutively. Players may leave the court during a time-out.
B. Equipment Time-Out. At the discretion of the referee, equipment time-outs may be granted for lost shoes, broken shoelaces torn equipment, wet gloves, wet shirts, wet floor, or other reasons. Players are not charged for such time-outs, and two minutes is the maximum allowed.
C. Injury. No time-out shall be charged to a player who is injured during play. An injured player shall not be allowed more than a cumulative total of 15 minutes of injury time-out during a match. If the injured player is unable to resume play after a period totaling 15 minutes, the match shall be awarded to the opponent. Injury time-outs shall be allowed only for injuries that occur accidentally during the match. Pre-existing injuries, illnesses, fatigue or cramps do not warrant injury time-outs. For any injury, the Tournament Director or committee, after considering any available medical opinion, must determine whether the injured player may be allowed to continue.
D. Between Games. Five-minute time-outs are allowed between games. Players may leave the court.

Part 5. Tournaments

Rule 5.1 Draws. If possible, the draw shall be made at least two days before the tournament begins. The seeding method shall be approved by the committee or Tournament Director.
Rule 5.2 Scheduling.
A. Preliminary Matches. Contestants entered in both singles and doubles may be required to play both events on the same day or night with little rest between matches. If possible, the schedule should provide at least one hour rest period between all matches.
B. Final Matches. Where one or more players have reached the finals in both singles and doubles, it is recommended that the singles match be played first, and a rest period of not less than one hour be allowed between the finals in singles and doubles.
Rule 5.3 Consolation Matches. Each entrant should be entitled to participate in a minimum of two matches. Therefore, players who lose their first matches should have the opportunity to compete in a consolation bracket. In draws of fewer than seven players, a round-robin bracket may be offered. Consolation matches may be waived at the discretion of the Tournament Director, but this waiver should be in writing on the tournament application.

Rule 5.4 Notice of Matches. After the first round of matches, it is the responsibility of each player to check the posted schedule to determine the time and place of each subsequent match. If any change is made in the schedule after posting, it shall be the duty of the committee or Tournament Director to notify affected players of the change.

Rule 5.5 Tournament Management. The Tournament Director may decide on a change of courts before, during or after any tournament game if such a change will accommodate better spectator or player conditions.

Rule 5.6 Tournament Conduct. The referee is empowered to default a match if a player conducts himself in a manner detrimental to the tournament or the game of handball. This includes the right to request the removal of abusive fans and to default a match if such abusive fans are not removed.

Rule 5.7 Eligibility.
A. Age Group Divisions. In any division designated by a minimum age (Seniors, Masters, etc.), the entrant must reach the proper age on or before December 31 of the calendar year in which he participates. For example, a player who is 39 is allowed to enter the Masters (40 plus) if he turns 40 before December 31 of the year in which the tournament is scheduled.
In any division designated by a maximum age(Juniors, Challengers, etc.), the player cannot have passed the age of eligibility until the scheduled end of the tournament. For example, a player entering the 15-and-under division cannot reach his 16th birthday until the tournament is scheduled to end.

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