Difference Between Basketball and Handball
By Rebecca Rodriguez - January 25, 2023

Handball and Basketball are two popular sports played using the palms of the hands- or, as professionals would call it, projectile and rotational motion. However, there are differences between them.

Chart Summary
  1. Five players on each team
Seven players on each time
  1. Indoor courts are not as wide
Courts are much wider and are not often indoor
Man dunking basketball

Getty images/ DigitalVision/Thomas Barwick


Two teams of five players play Basketball on a rectangular court, generally indoors. Each side attempts to score by tossing the ball through the opposing goal, an elevated horizontal hoop, and a net known as the basket.
Handball (also known as team handball, European handball, or Olympic handball) is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outcourt players and a goalie) use their hands to send a ball into the goal of the opposing side.

Basketball vs. Handball

A handball court is 40m by 20m in size. It is 6 meters long on each end and 2.5 meters broad on each side. A basketball measures 28m by 15m. As a result of this discrepancy, wing players in handball travel substantially further than basketball players, although other handball positions mirror Basketball offensive-to-defense transitions more closely.
The principles for determining whether the defensive player has an established position are similar, but the defensive player is allowed wider freedom in handball. As a result, offensive charging is called more frequently in handball than in Basketball.

The placement of high-percentage shots in both sports is closely connected to why a man-to-man defense may be effective in Basketball but is exceedingly hazardous in handball. In Basketball, a defeated defender may depend on another defender to get in between the offensive player and the basket. In Basketball, there is just one place for a high-percentage shot: right near the basket (i.e., a layup). Except for the extreme wings, the whole 6-meter line in handball is identical to a basketball layup.