Goalball, a Paralympic sport for blind and visually impaired is a strategic and highly competitive 3-on-3 indoor game. In this game teams try to score goals by passing the ball to each other's goals, where defense tries to block it. Bells are kept inside the ball to enable players to get an approximate idea of its path and position.
The game of Goalball was developed by Hanz Lorenzen and Sepp Reindle in 1946 as a kind of recreational therapy for blind WW II veterans. The game was a demonstration sport in the 1976 Paralympic summer games and a medal sport at 1980 games. The first championship of Goalball took place in 1978.
The game of Goalball is played in more than 50 countries and is governed by the International Blind Sports Association. The United States Association of Blind Atheletes is responsible for selecting the US Paralympic team.
The Goalball Court
The court of goal ball is 18m long and is divided into six 3m sections. The goals made at each end have the entire width of 9m. The zones of players are 3m deep and string is taped to the floor to demarcate for orientation. The zone of each player is further divided into three sections, and is also marked with tape for orienting their positions. The overthrow line is made three meters in front of the player's zones, and it is necessary that the ball must touch the floor atleast one time before it crosses the overthrow line.
The weight of goalball is approximately 1.25 kg and it has a 76cm circumference. The color of the ball is often red and it has a rough texture.
As visual acuity is different in blind athletes, therefore each player is made to wear a “blackout mask” for ensuring equality. Ski goggles that are covered with tape are also a popular option. Patches are worn under the mask in tournament games, in order to prevent inadvertent or purposeful peeking.
As much diving on the hardwood is done in the game, therefore knee and elbow pads are a must.