What is goalball?

Goalball is an exciting Paralympic, indoor, 3-aside team sport, of attack and defend - with a unique twist! The sport was originally devised in 1946 to help rehabilitate soldiers who had lost their sight during the war. It has been played throughout the world ever since, at the highest level, by people who are blind or partially sighted. The idea of the game is to score goals by bowling the ball along the floor, past the opposing team.

How do I play goalball?

Goalball is a truly inclusive sport in that fully sighted players can also play domestically. This is because everybody is required to wear eyeshades so that nobody can see. Players, therefore, have to rely entirely on their other senses. The ball contains internal bells so players can track its movement by its sound, whilst the court is marked out with tactile lines so players can feel where they are.

The aim of the game is to throw the ball (along the floor) into the opposition’s goal while defending your own goal. The team with the most goals win. At elite level, the game is played over two halves of 12 minutes each according to the stop clock, usually lasting for approximately 50 minutes.

To find your nearest Goalball club, please visit the club teams section of the Goalball UK website. Link: https://goalballuk.com/the-sport/clubs/ or register your interest by calling 0114 2235670 or emailing enquiries@goalballuk.com.


The ball contains internal bells so players can track its movement by its sound, whilst the court is marked out with tactile lines so players can feel where they are. Everybody is required to wear eyeshades.

Pathways and Competition

There are 3 levels of play within the Goalball UK National League (Novice, Intermediate & Elite) with league competitions at all levels, throughout each season regionally and nationally. Each level of play also has one national cup competition within the season. Goalball UK also runs a number of individual entry tournaments that allow players to play with players from other clubs across the country.

For information about the domestic league and competitive playing opportunities, please contact Tom Dobson, Club and Competitions Officer:  Tom.Dobson@goalballuk.com or 07526 169288.

Goalball is a Paralympic sport, with only one classification. In contrast to the cheers and applause that ring out around most Paralympic Games’ venues, the Goalball arena is silent during play. This is to allow the players to hear the ball, which has a bell inside it.


In goalball, the sport classes are B1, B2 or B3. B1 and B2 players have the most severe impairments.

In goalball, all athletes compete together on the same team but have to wear eyeshades. This helps to ensure a level-playing field for all team members.

For more information on national classifications please visit the British Blind Sport classification page: https://britishblindsport.org.uk/educationandresearch/classifications/.

For information on international classification please visit the IBSA classification webpage: https://ibsasport.org/fair-sport/classification/overview/.

Useful links:

For more information please visit the Goalball UK website: http://www.goalballuk.com/

Information on Coaching Goalball: https://goalballuk.com/the-sport/coaching/