The “Empty-Goal” Rule Change from the Perspective of International-Level Team Handball Goalkeepers

Reuven Iusepolsky, Elia Morgulev, Sima Zach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The 2016 “empty-goal” rule change in team handball allowed for swift goalkeeper-player substitutions, which opened the door to a variety of tactical solutions that could not be implemented prior to the change. This change is one of many rule changes that have taken place in ball games in general and in handball in particular that were aimed to improve the competition and make gameplay more interesting. Previous literature shows that more often than not, such rule changes have led to unforeseen and undesired effects on players’ and teams’ behavior and performance. The aim of the current study was to consider the empty-goal rule from the goalkeeper’s perspective, as their offense–defense game routine was drastically transformed following the introduction of this new rule. Results of a survey among 95 professional goalkeepers, 80 of whom participated in international matches, revealed that the keepers’ level of confidence in empty-goal situations is moderate to high, that empty goal is rarely practiced more than once a week, and that less experienced goalkeepers are more positive regarding this rule change. Additionally, we found that the amount of empty-goal practice is positively related to the approval of the empty-goal rule among goalkeepers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6506
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • empty goal
  • goalkeeper
  • handball
  • practice
  • rules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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