Goalball is a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes, originally devised in 1946 by the Austrian Hans Lorenzen and German Sepp Reindle as a means of assisting the rehabilitation of visually impaired World War II veterans. International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), responsible for a range of sports for the blind and partially sighted, is the official governing body for the sport.
Goalball gradually evolved into a competitive game during the 1950s and 1960s, and was eventually nominated as a demonstration sport at the 1976 Summer Paralympics in Toronto. The sport's first world championship was held in Austria in 1978 and Goalball became part of the Paralympic programme from the 1980 Summer Paralympics in Arnhem onwards.
Participants compete in teams of three, and try to throw a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents' goal. Teams alternate throwing or rolling the ball from one end of the playing area to the other, and players remain in the area of their own goal in both defence and attack. Players must use the sound of the bell to judge the position and movement of the ball. Games consist of two 12-minute halves (formerly 10-minute halves). Eyeshades allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with blind players.
Court and Ball 
International Blind Sports Federation rules require the field of play to be 18m long by 9m wide (about 19.7 yards by 9.8 yards). Goals span the width of the pitch. The court is divided into six even sections (3 by 9 m). At either end, just in front of the goal, is the team area. Beyond that is each team's landing zone. The middle two sections are referred to as the neutral zone, though this is a misnomer, as players may not cross the center line into the other team's half of the neutral zone.
The lines of the court are made by placing tape over lengths of twine. This makes the line both visual and tactile. The team area and landing zone, including the boundary and goal lines, are always marked in this way. Furthermore, the team area has six hash marks (three at the front, one on either side, and one on the goal line) to assist with player orientation.
The ball weighs 1.25 kg (about 2.76 pounds) and has eight holes and noise bells contained within. The ball's circumference is around 76 cm (about 30 inches).
Up to three substitutes are allowed in addition to the three starting players: one Centre and two Wingers. Men and Women compete separately. Eyeshades must be worn at all times during the match. In tournament play, patches cover the eyes beneath the eyeshades to prevent any player seeing if the eyeshades are inadvertently knocked off during the game. If eyeshades are knocked off, then play is stopped, and eyeshades are put back on. Goalball players are not allowed to compete without wearing eyeshades.
To score, a player must roll or bounce the ball down the length of the court, past the opposing defenders, and into the opponents' goal. Typically, the player with the ball will stand, orient him/herself using the tactile lines, sounds from teammates, and/or the crossbar of his/her own goal. The player will then stride forward, lean low, and roll or sidearm the ball down the court.
The ball must hit in the player's own landing zone, and anywhere in the neutral zone. So long as it hits each zone, the style of throw is entirely up to the player in question. Many players will take several strides and release the ball as close to their own highball line as possible; leaning low to ensure a legal throw. Some players will throw after spinning; transferring the momentum of the spin into additional speed. Others are able to throw the ball so that it will bounce just once in both of the required zones. Most elite players, men and women, are effective when using multiple types of throws.
Infractions are generally punished by the loss of possession to the other team
- Premature Throw – throwing the ball before the official has called "play".
- Pass Out – while passing between members of the team, the ball crosses the sideline or the center line.
- Ball Over – the ball rebounds off a defending player, the crossbar or goalposts and crosses back over the centre line.
A penalty throw may be awarded for: Ten Second Penalty - A teaming taking more than ten seconds to throw the ball.
- Delay of Game - This can be caused by many different things. A coach reporting the wrong numbers for substitutions, a team not arriving in time for the cointoss that precedes the game, or a player needing to be oriented by an official in a non-penalty situation.
- Third time throw - A player throwing a ball a third time consecutively
- Illegal Defence – defending a ball while out of your team area
- Short ball - The ball fails to reach the opponent's team area when thrown
- High ball - The ball does not touch the landing zone when thrown
- Long ball – The ball does not touch the neutral zone when thrown.
- Touching eyeshades without permission.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct
- Excessive noise by the offensive team that prevents the defense from tracking the ball while the ball is traveling down the court
- Illegal coaching – coaching from the bench during play or after an official has said "Quiet please" with intentions of continuing or starting play. New rules in effect as of 2006 allow coaching from the bench during an "official timeout" in the United States, to comply with more of IBSAs rules.
In a penalty situation a single player is required to defend the entire goal for one throw.
Official IBSA Goalball rules 
Competitions and events 
Professional (seeing) sports teams who tried out goalball include:
See also 
- BBC News: Paralympics – Goalball
- International Paralympic Committee: Goalball
-  Section 1.1.1
- International Blind Sports Federation: Goalball Rules Section 1.2.1
- International Blind Sports Federation: Goalball Rules Section 1.2.2
- "2010 – 2013 Official Goalball Rules".
- "Participation". Explanatory Book: Goalball. Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee. 1999. p. 27.
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- Beijing 2008 Paralympic Goalball Information with an Australian slant from accessibility.com.au
- BBC Sport article with video and commentary on what Goalball is
- Goalball Australia