Goalball was invented for blind war veterans in Austria in 1946 and first appeared at the Paralympic Games in Toronto, Canada, in 1976 with the women’s event being added at the 1984 Games in New York, USA. Goalball was created as a form of rehabilitation for injured servicemen returning from World War II. It is a tense and fast-paced game, designed for visually impaired players. 

Goalball player in action

Goalball players wear blackout goggles (eyeshades) to ensure that there is a level playing field regardless of their residual vision. It is played by two teams of three using a ball with bells inside; to indicate where it is on the pitch. The ball is the size of a basketball but twice the weight. The object of the game is to throw the ball into the opposing team's net, while defenders attempt to block it with their bodies. The indoor court has tactile lines to assist players with their orientation on court and the ball must make contact with certain areas of the court during the game. When the ball is in play the audience stays completely silent so the players can follow its movement. 

Introduction to Goalball 
Video courtesy of the International Paralympic Committee.

Goalball stories

Michael Payne – Manager and Head Coach at The Derbyshire Ducks Goalball Club and volunteer official.

I first discovered goalball through a friend of mine in 2015. I was suffering with depression at the time and he thought the game would be good for my mental health. I’ve been playing ever since and joined as a volunteer official in 2017. Read more

Josh McEntee - Player for The Lancashire Lions

I haven’t been playing goalball for very long – I picked it up after I lost all my sight just over two years ago. I fell in love with the sport. It’s intense, challenging and a lot of fun. It’s also seriously pushed me, both physically and mentally – in a good way! Read more

Adam Knott - Chairman and Head Coach at Winchester Goalball Club

At the age of 15 I was travelling independently around the country to training and tournaments.  Goalball has not only increased my independence but has increased my confidence through numerous TV, radio appearences etc., given me many many new friends and overall it has given me opportunity play a sport on an even playing field with other blind and partially sighted people. Read more

To find out more information about Goalball, visit the GoalballUK website