Goalball is “the” blind sport as it was created specifically for the blind and visually impaired. Goalball is an indoor court game developed with the unique skills of these athletes in mind and is played around the world. Developed in the late 1940’s, it has been played at the Paralympic level for almost 50 years!

The rules are simple: teams try to score by rolling a bell-embedded ball, similar in size to a basketball, past the opposing team. The opposing team – whose 9-metre goal area spans the width of the pitch – uses defensive tactics to dive and block the shot from getting passed them into the net. With a heavy ball flying at speeds of 65 km/h or more, it’s a fast-paced and exciting game!


Games last 24 minutes and are divided into two equal halves of twelve minutes each. The court dimensions are 18m x 9m, the same as a volleyball court. Players (1 centre and 2 wingers) attempt to score as well as prevent goals and all wear eyeshades to ensure an even playing field of total sightlessness. A Goalball weighs 1.25kg and contains bells embedded within and it is this, along with textured lines on the court, which help to orientate the players about the court.

Defenders use their sense of hearing to focus entirely on the path and trajectory of the ball. So, while play is in progress, silence is required in the venue – the quieter the environment, the better players are able to concentrate and react to the ball. Cheering is permitted during stoppages, like after a goal is scored or an incredible save is made on a penalty shot. Once the referee indicates resumption of play, total silence is once again enforced.

A number of personal and team penalties may be awarded for rule infractions.

There are Four Basic Fouls in Goalball:

  1. Goalball RioHighball – a thrown ball must touch the floor of the court before passing over the highball line, which is situated 6m from the goal line at the thrower’s end.
  2. Ten Seconds – a throw must take place within ten seconds of coming in contact with the defending team. Passing can take place within the ten seconds, and players may move about their end of the court to assume favourable positions.
  3. Three Consecutive – no player may take more than two consecutive throws for their team.
  4. Illegal Defense – players must defend the ball from within their team zone.  This is a three-metre-deep zone directly in front of their goal.

A penalty is served by removing two teammates from the court. The offending player attempts to defend one penalty thrown alone.

Provincial Competitions

  • OBSA Regionals Goalball Tournament
  • OBSA Provincials Goalball Championships

National Competitions

  • Canadian Junior Goalball Championships
  • Canadian Senior Goalball Championships

For more information about Provincial and National tournaments, visit our Events Calendar.

International Competitions

  • Lithuanian Open Goalball Championships 2018
  • 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships
  • Malmö Lady and Men Intercup

For more information about International tournaments visit http://www.ibsasport.org/ibsa/.

Interested in Goalball and want to learn more about the process involved with training? Included here is a link to the Long Term Athlete Development model specific to goalball training.

Goalball LTAD 2018

If you have any questions about getting involved, getting someone you know involved, or on how to get Goalball in your area, contact us!

Coaches, referees and volunteers are, like in any other sport, essential to the ongoing delivery of the game. If you are interested in becoming a certified Goalball official, receive training as a coach, or to help make sport accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired, contact us!

2018–19 OBSA Goalball Coaches

  • Provincial Goalball Advisor: Mick Ferras
  • Goalball Program Director: Rob Christy
  • Goalball Program Coach: Matt Robinson

Junior Men:

  • Head Coaches: Bob Mannen

Junior Women:

  • Head Coach: Bob Mannen

Senior Men:

  • Head Coach: Rob Christy

Senior Women:

  • Head Coach: Rob Christy