Goalball is a Paralympics sport for blind and visually impaired athletes. It is a strategic, competitive and 3-on-3 indoor game in which all teams try to score by rolling balls into other team’s goal, while the defence team tries to prevent the goal from happening. It is the bells kept inside the ball that enable players to play by approximating the path and position of the ball.
The game was developed in 1946 by Hanz Lorenzen and Sepp Reindle and it was played as a demonstration sport at 1976 Paralympics Summer games. The first championship for the game took place in 1978. Goalball is played in more than 50 countries and the game is governed by an International body IBSA (International Blind Sports Association).
The Goalball Court
The court of the game is 18m long and is divided in six 3m sections. Goals t each end has a width of 9m. The player zone is 3m deep and a string is taped on the floor for orientation. The zone of each player is also divided into three sections and is also market with tape so that players know their positions. Overthrow line is drawn three meters in front of the player zone, and it is essential that the ball should touch the floor at least once before it crosses the overthrow line.
The weight of the goalball is 1.25 kg and the circumference is 76cm. Most of the balls are red in color and have a rough texture. Because every blind athlete has different visual acuity, each player is made to wear a blackout mask. Ski goggles covered with tapes can also be used in place of mask.
The game involves diving onto the hardwood, therefore wearing knee and elbow pads is essential.
There are three players in each team, one at the center and other two defends the entire court. The two players play at the left and right of the court as well as do most of the throwing. Three additional substitutes are also kept by team in case some unwanted circumstances come.