The EHF is keen to make handball more popular, accessible, easy and attractive for everybody. For that purpose, the federation joined forces with Goalcha GmbH in 2015.
Goalcha aims to bring handball into schools and into the daily lives of children and young people.
While the many rules and the strong physical play of true handball can provide a burden for kids to try out the sport, Goalcha is focusing on fun and fewer rules, on exercise and good experiences with the purpose-made Goalcha ball, produced by the official EHF ball supplier, SELECT.
Founded in December 2011 by Lasse Boesen, Ole Bruun Andersen and Torben Sørensen along with Stefan Kretzschmar and Ciz Schönberger, Goalcha has been implementing the concept of street handball, as it had been successfully played in Denmark since 2008, across Europe and worldwide.
Goalcha is all about creating positive experiences – it is not about competition, or who scores more goals when playing street handball. It is a match without referee and coach.
There are a few basic rules – for instance, a maximum of three steps with the ball and no physical contact – but the idea is that players formulate their own additional rules and assume responsibility that these are observed during the match.
It is about communication, respect, equality and fair play. In these easy and uncomplicated surroundings, the participants can playfully achieve confidence and a feeling of skilfulness in the handling of the ball.
The necessary equipment has also been reduced to a minimum. Kids can start playing with just a Goalcha ball at their disposal. While a regular handball is tough to catch for most under-10s, and could even hurt, the soft Goalcha ball is filled with synthetic wool and can easily be squeezed and held.
At the Men’s EHF Cup finals in 2014 and 2015 in Berlin, Goalcha set up street handball activities, but the partnership with the EHF really took off in June 2015.
Since then, the EHF has gradually stepped up its efforts in promoting this version of street handball.
Along with the Polish Handball Federation, the EHF organised Goalcha workshops in August and December 2015 for handball coaches, PE teachers and sport students in all four cities hosting the Men’s EHF EURO 2016 games the following month. Attracting over 140 participants, the four workshops in Katowice, Gdansk, Krakow and Wroclaw were a huge success.
Goalcha was omnipresent at the EHF EURO 2016, and even the then coach of the Polish national team, Michael Biegler, let his players use the Goalcha balls during a training session. After the tournament, the sport universities involved were given the equipment in order to promote street handball further.
Following the success of the Goalcha presentation at the EHF EURO 2016, the EHF decided to promote the concept on many more occasions, including the Open Master Coach Course & Licensing Course in Szczyrk, Poland (June 2016), the VELUX EHF Champions League match between Bjerringbro-Silkeborg and Paris Saint-German in Herning, Denmark (October 2016), as well as the Secretary Generals Conference in Paris and the EHF Young Coaches Workshop in Szczyrk (both in 2017).
In June 2017, the EHF organised the first Goalcha Conference in Tulln, Austria. The three-day event featured several lectures which, apart from explaining the Goalcha philosophy, provided the more than 20 participants from 11 different nations with suggestions on how to best approach young players and help them gain confidence in handling the ball.
In a five-hour session, the participants were made familiar with several exercises and routines. To enable them to spread the word of Goalcha upon their return, they all received two Goalcha balls, a Quick Play goal and a manual to help introduce this form of street handball to more and more kids.
In the hope that more national federations will include Goalcha in their grassroots activities, the EHF will continue with the programme next year. The ‘Handball at School’ Conference in Kielce, the EHF Young Coaches Workshop, and the Women’s EHF EURO in France are among the many places where Goalcha will be present.
For more information about Goalcha, visit their website at: goalcha.de