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Handball Tactical Systems

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Introduction: Handball Tactical Systems

In this post DEF will show Handball Tactical Systems, both offensive and defensive. Handball is a dynamic sport with complex possibilities. Knowing Handball Tactical Systems is very important for good performance in this sport.

Handball Defensive Lines

Defensive lines in Handball are markings on the court based on the depth we take as the basis for defensive positioning. Thus, the dashed line of the 9-meter area is named the second defensive line and the 6-meter line of the goal area, named the first defensive line.

Handball Defensive Zones

Defensive Zones in Handball are defensive positions based on court width:

  • Defensive Position 1 on the left and right of the court is the position that is closest to the junction between the goal line and the sideline of the court, are primarily responsible to defend against opponent wingers;

  • Defensive Position 2 on the left and right of the court is the defensive position that is a little more centralized compared to position 1, they are mainly responsible to defend against opponent side backcourts;
  • Defensive Position 3 on the left and right of the court is responsible to defend in the central region of the court, known as base defensive positions, having the function to defend the central backcourt and the pivot of the opposing team;
  • Goalkeeper is the last position or last defensive line in Handball, has the function of defending the balls that go towards the goal and also guiding the defensive position of his team.

Handball Defensive Principles

A good defensive system in Handball begins with the transition to backcourt or defensive recomposition after losing possession. The transition to defense should be done as quickly as possible so as not to leave the defensive system vulnerable. After recomposition, some principles should be followed:

  • quickly occupy each specific defense positions;
  • try to anticipate the gestures and moves of opponents;
  • understand and fulfill their specific function on defense;
  • assist other defensive players, even outside his own defense zone role;
  • your defensive movement must follow the movement of the opponents and the ball.

Handball Defensive Systems

  • Zone Defense: It is the type of defensive system most used in Handball, in this system each player has the responsibility to defend in a certain zone of the handball court.
  • Individual Defense: This type of defensive system is based on the specific defense of each player, regardless of what zone of the court he is occupying.

Handball Defensive System – Zone

Handball Tactical Systems: Defensive Systems

Handball Defensive System – Zone 6×0

The 6×0 zone defensive system is one of the most used handball tactical systems. In the 6×0 system all players are positioned in front of the 6-meter line of defense (goal area line). This system has the following features:

  • Difficult infiltration of opposing players;
  • Difficult movement of the opposing pivot;
  • Makes it difficult for opponents to shoot;
  • Is vulnerable to mid/long range shots.

Handball Defensive System – Zone 5×1

The 5×1 system is one of the most well-known handball systems, where 5 players will position themselves in front of the goal area line and 1 player will position himself further in order to make it difficult for the opposing team to attack. This handball tactical system can make the defense vulnerable to infiltration, pivot movement and spike attack.

Variation of the Defensive System 5×1

The 5×1 defensive system has a widely possible variation. When the opposing team has a very skilled player who can unbalance the game, a player may be assigned to make an individual defense on that player, and the rest of the team shall be positioned for zone system in front of the goal area line. This system is a mixed defensive system (zone and individual).

Handball Defensive System – Zone 4×2

The 4×2 defensive system is one of the underused handball systems. This system is used against teams that have good mid and long-range shooters and low technique wingers and pivots. This system makes it difficult to change opponents’ passes, but facilitates infiltration.

The 4×2 system can also be used in a variation for a mixed defensive system, where two players will defend individually and the other four will defend by zone.


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Handball Defensive System – Zone 3×3

The 3×3 defensive system is one of the most aggressive but vulnerable handball defensive systems. In this system, 3 players will occupy the first line of defense and the other 3 players will occupy the second line of defense. This defensive system makes it difficult to pass and long-range shoot, but is very vulnerable to infiltration, as it leaves a lot of open space in the first line of defense.

Handball Defensive System – Zone 3x2x1

The 3x2x1 defensive system consists of three lines of defense, one with three players in front of the 6-meter line, another two players line between the 6-meter area and the 9-meter area and a third line with one player over the 9-meter line.

The 3x2x1 nomenclature results from the ordering of the players when the ball is position of the opposing attacking team.

The 3x2x1 system is a universal system as is a mix between individual and zone systems.

Some features of the 3x2x1 system:

  • Try to neutralize the creativity of the opponent backcourt central;
  • Adapts to different offensive systems;
  • Allows double defense on the player in possession of the ball;
  • Makes it difficult to exchange passes and long-range shots;
  • Increases counter attack possibilities;
  • Demands a lot of physical energy;
  • Has difficulties with well-organized teams that use two pivots and good wingers.

Handball Defensive Systems

Handball Offensive Systems

Phases and Types of Handball Attack

  • Offensive transition: This is the movement of players from the backcourt to the attack court as the team regains ball possession.
  • Direct counterattack: Happens opportunistically and quickly, from a steal or a technical error from an opponent. Uses speed to attack in numerical superiority.
  • Supported counterattack: Happens when the possession of the ball is recovered from the defensive tactical organization of the team and the attack begins in an organized manner

Handball Offensive System – 6×0

The 6×0 offensive system is one of the simplest systems. In this system, six players position themselves to form a pass line in front of the opposing line of defense. This offensive system is more suitable the plays with the wingers, thus opening up good opportunities for infiltration through the middle.

Handball Offensive System – 5×1

The 5×1 offensive system is one of the systems widely used in various teams. In this system, five players will be positioned in the 9-meter line zone and one player will be positioned in the 6-meter line (goal area line). This player who plays more advanced is called Pivot, he will perform specific actions such as receiving the ball, spinning and shooting.

Handball Offensive System – 3×3

The 3×3 offensive system is one of the most used systems. In this system, three players will position themselves in front of the 9-meter line and the other three players will position themselves in front of the 6-meter line.

Handball Offensive System – 2×4

The 2×4 offensive system can be considered a variation of the 3×3 system. In this system two players (two side backcourt) will position themselves in front of the 9-meter line and four players will position themselves infiltrated in front of the 6-meter line (two wingers and two pivots).

Handball Offensive Systems

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