Campus rec teams up with USA Team Handball for workshops, tournament

Handball, a lesser-known sport, even at the Olympic level, is making its intramural debut at UCCS.

The UCCS Recreation and Wellness Center is working with USA Team Handball to offer handball workshops and a tournament this semester so students can have fun while learning the sport.

Mathew Collins, a collegiate development coordinator for USA Team Handball, said it began when he reached out to campus recreation. It turned out, according to Collins, that Kolby Carothers, a personal trainer and intramural official at the Recreation Center, was already looking into adding handball as an intramural activity.

“It was kind of perfect timing that way,” Collins said. “Both of us were thinking the same idea.”

USA Team Handball’s headquarters are in Colorado Springs at the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee campus. The organization wants to spread the sport at the university level across the country, starting locally in Colorado Springs. According to Collins, after UCCS, they will move to Colorado College and then potentially to CU-Boulder.

Collins is hopeful that the workshops will increase and lead to the creation of a handball club. He understands that maintaining a club sport is a lot of work, so the intramural approach is for students who want that experience.

“We have a great team at Air Force Academy,” he said, “so that would be a great opportunity for those two clubs to work together to play each other on a consistent basis, which is something that we would be excited about.”

Around 10-12 people showed up to the first workshop in September, including two staff members at the Wellness Center. Another representative from USA Team Handball joined Collins to help facilitate the workshop.

The workshops break down the sport to its basics: passing, shooting and defending. According to Collins, without these foundational skills, the sport is difficult to play. After learning, students are free to participate at a game level.

“We had a full game going on at the end, which is pretty exciting,” he said. “Hopefully in the next workshop, we can grow a little bit more.”

The sport consists of two teams, six players and a goalie representing both sides. The goal is to throw the ball into the net behind the goalie, but there is a line that only the goalie can cross. It is a fast-paced sport with two 30-minute halves, a running clock and an average of 60 goals in a game.

“It’s like soccer, but with your hands. It’s like water polo above ground,” he said. “It’s kind of, in a way, stuff you’ve already seen but it’s different.”

Mathew Collins, Team USA Handball collegiate director, rallies students and staff during handball workshop. Photo by Kira Thorne.

The final workshop took place on Oct. 5. The tournament on Nov. 5 will allow students to bring their friends and create teams on the spot, so they can play and experience a full game.

There are 12 spots available, but if more students want to join, Collins recommends signing up online at this link beforehand, so the organizers can plan accordingly.

Registration for the tournament is open until 9 a.m. on Nov. 5, and the tournament will begin at 11 a.m. It will cost $10 to play, or students can purchase a $20 pass for unlimited access to all intramural sports at campus recreation.