Author: Agência Brasil Fotografias [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Goalball is qualified for the Paralympics since the very beginnings. This is a special team-sport for the blind and visually impaired. Originally its purpose was to help the WWII veterans who lost their sight to rebuild their physical conditions and of course, their confidence. It is easy to learn how to play Goalball. However, it is difficult to organize a match properly, because it requires a broad type of equipment.
Without my own experiences, I wouldn’t even know that this sport exists. But, when I had an opportunity to try out and learn how to play Goalball, I realized it needs more attention.
The basic rules are simple
Two teams of 3 players compete on an 18 meters long and 9 meters wide court. You can score a point if you throw the ball over the other team’s goal line. The goal span the whole width of the pitch. In the ball, there are two bells, that help the players to find out its actual position. The offensive team throws the goalball and the defensive team tries to stop it with any body parts. From the moment someone catches the ball, his team will be the offensive.
Fair-play is very important
All the players must wear knee, elbow, and hip paddings. Also, blacked-out goggles to make sure, no one has any advantage on the court. They often put eyepatches directly on the competitors’ faces for securing fair-play. By the way, if you don’t want to buy the official goggles (they are quite expensive), you can use black tape on a regular ski-goggles. The outcome will be the same.
On the ground, several strings help the players to navigate. Both teams have a 3-meter-long „player zone” where players must defend their goal from the incoming ball. Between the two team’s „player zones” lays the „highball zone”. The ball must touch the ground in this zone, otherwise, you will have a penalty.
The jury punish you if your ball doesn’t touch the highball zone, or you touch your goggles without permission, or you contact the ball for more than 10 seconds.
The guilty player must defend the entire court by himself. Mostly, that means a free score for the opponent team.
Goalball is one of the most popular sports at the Paralympics
Despite online sportsbooks in Japan don’t create many wagers on the
2020 Paralympics, it is still an important event for gambling sites. If you read our latest review about 1XBET, you will see that 1XBET offers a lot of special bets. They cover nearly all the sports events around the world. We expect that 1XBET will have betting options on the winning goalball teams, sooner or later.
It is not enough if you know how to play Goalball, you also have to know how to act if you are in the audience
As the audience of a goalball game, you must follow some rules as well. First of all, you must stay completely quiet while the game is on. If it’s not obvious, the players must hear the noise of the goalball. Even more, as you can see in this video below, they need to concentrate on all the surrounding sounds. Therefore, it’s really easy to distract them.
After a personal experience, you realize how difficult this game is
Now, that you are aware of the rules, I will share my personal experiences. When I was a high-school student, I participated in several activities to help people in need. We were handing food, taught English for children who can’t take part in the necessary education, because of their family background. But, to be true, I learned and achieved more from these people than I could give to them. For instance, when we spent a week at the National Institute for the Blind, I had an opportunity to try out Goalball with the official team of Hungary.
The outcome of the game was that we expected
When we took up the special blacked-out eyeshades, (which makes sure that you won’t see a thing), we felt completely lost. We couldn’t even find the court itself. Then, the team’s trainer told us that we can find our place if we stay next to the goal. As we tried to find out where we were, we continuously impacted each other.
When we were where we should, the game started. It was an outstanding feeling, how my other sense organs took over control. After a couple of minutes, we realized, that based on the noises that came out of the ball, we could only find out how far it was.
The direction and the speed of the ball was a complete mystery
While we were laying on the ground, we tried to cover the most out of the goal. However, when we checked the pictures later, we looked like stranded fishes. We did not even score a point.
When we took down the eyeshades we saw that the guys are moving around the court so naturally. They came right next to us and asked for another match. We carried on.
The second time, we scored a couple of points. Finally, we understood how to play Goalball, but still, our hearing and reflexes weren’t enough to beat the official team.
Our first expression was that Goalball won’t be so exhausting
We were wrong. After the second match, we realized that for this sport, you must use all your muscles. If you don’t attenuate the ball when it’s rolling in your direction, it just uses you like a ramp. After the goalball jumps in the air, the others can’t protect is impossible for others to protect the goal, so it mostly just falls in. On the other hand, that ball is heavy and hits as hell.
So, if you want to learn how to play Goalball, keep in mind these things:
- Trust your ears, but don’t jump right after you hear something
- Trust your teammates, feel them without speaking
- Throw the goalball like a bowling ball, rather than a handball
- Stick to your post, try to cover the whole goal
- Stop the goalball anyways, but not with your face or balls (yeah it hurts)