Goalball is “the” blind sport as it is crafted specifically for the blind. It’s an indoor court game played around the world by the blind and visually impaired. The sport was developed in the late 1940’s and 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 opposition. The opposing team – whose 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:
- Highball – 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.
- 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.
- Three Consecutive – no player may take more than two consecutive throws for their team.
- 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.
There are unique benefits for anyone participating in this sport. Benefit your education curriculum or sports team with an introduction of able-bodied athletes to living with a disability and functioning without vision in a practical, fun setting. Teach valuable athletic performance skills such as communication, non-visual focus, teamwork, kinesthetic awareness, explosive lateral movement.
Join one of our Goalball Leagues:
Goalball clubs exist in Toronto, London, Ottawa, Kitchener, Sudbury, Kingston, and Brantford. Please see below for the clubs practice information and how to get signed up!
Woodland Heights Public School
474 Springbank Drive,
London, ON N6J 1G8
When: Fridays from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Hillcrest Community Centre
1339 Bathurst St
Toronto, ON M5R 3E6
Frequency: Weekly, starting January 12th, 2018 (9 Weeks)
When: Fridays from 7:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Alpine Public School
75 Lucerne Drive
Kitchener, ON N2E 1B4
Frequency: Twice a month
When: Mondays from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
W. Ross Macdonald School
350 Brant Ave
Brantford, ON N3T 3J9
Frequency: During School Programming
When: During School Programming
Queen Elizabeth II Public School
32 Dell St
Sudbury ON, P3C 2X8
When: Tuesdays from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Thursdays – Carlton Heights Public School
1660 Prince of Wales Dr, Ottawa, ON K2C 1P4
When: Thursdays 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturdays – W.E Gowling Public School
250 Anna Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1Z 7V3
When: Saturdays from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
- OBSA Regionals Goalball Tournament
- OBSA Provincials Goalball Championships
- Canadian Junior Goalball Championships
- Canadian Senior Goalball Championships
For more information about Provincial and National tournaments, visit our Events Calendar.
- 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/.
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
- Head Coaches: Bob Mannen
- Head Coach: Bob Mannen
- Head Coach: Rob Christy
- Head Coach: Rob Christy