How to Execute Accurate Handballs in AFL: Step-by-Step Guide and Drills 


Australian Rules Football (AFL) is a fast-paced and dynamic sport that combines elements of soccer, rugby, and basketball. One of the fundamental skills in AFL is handballing, also known as a hand pass. A precise and effective handball can be the key to maintaining possession, moving the ball quickly, and ultimately scoring goals.  

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to execute accurate handballs in AFL and introduce some essential drills to improve your handballing skills. These AFL tips will help make you a better player as handballs are an essential part of the game. 

Step 1: Hand Position 

Before you can master the art of handballing, it’s essential to understand the correct hand position. Begin by holding the ball with both hands, fingers spread wide across the sides of the ball. Your non-dominant hand should be on the bottom, and your dominant hand on top. Your thumbs should be pointing towards the target, and your hands should be about shoulder-width apart. This grip provides control and accuracy when passing the ball. 

Step 2: Stance and Balance 

A good handball requires a solid foundation. Ensure you have a balanced and stable stance. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with your knees slightly bent. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet, and your body should be facing your target. Maintain good posture, and always keep your eyes on the target. 

Step 3: Ball Placement 

The next step is to prepare the ball for the handball. Draw the ball back to your hip on your non-dominant side. This motion is similar to cocking your arm when preparing to throw a baseball. Keeping the ball close to your body allows for a quick and precise release. 

Step 4: Execute the Handball 

Once you’ve cocked the ball back, it’s time to execute the handball. Push the ball forward and slightly upward with your non-dominant hand, while simultaneously guiding it with your dominant hand. Your dominant hand should release the ball with a slight flick of the wrist. The key here is to use both hands in unison, ensuring that the ball doesn’t spin too much, which can make it harder for your teammate to catch. 

Step 5: Follow Through 

A proper follow-through is crucial for accuracy and power in your handball. After releasing the ball, allow your non-dominant hand to guide your follow-through, pointing in the direction of your target. Your dominant hand should also continue the motion towards your target, as if you’re reaching out to shake hands with your teammate. This action helps ensure a flat and accurate handball. 

Step 6: Accuracy and Targeting 

In AFL, handball accuracy is essential. To improve your accuracy, focus on your target and maintain a consistent technique. Remember to keep your eyes on your teammate, aim for their chest or hands, and adjust the power of your handball based on the distance to your target. Practice is key to developing a feel for different distances and angles. 

Drills to Improve Handballing Skills 

Stationary Target Practice: Set up a stationary target (such as a cone or a teammate) at different distances. Practice handballing to the target with precision and accuracy. 

Moving Target Practice: Have a teammate move around, simulating game situations. Try to handball accurately to your teammate as they move, adjusting the pass to their changing position. 

Pressure Drills: Add defensive pressure to your training. Have a teammate act as a defender and try to intercept your handballs. This will help you improve your decision-making and execution under pressure. 

Handball Relay: Create a circuit with several players and pass the ball to each other in a relay-style drill. This will improve your handballing speed and accuracy under time constraints. 

Game Simulation: The best way to improve your handballing skills is by participating in small-sided games or full-scale matches. Applying your skills in a game setting will help you refine your technique and decision-making under real game conditions. 

In conclusion, accurate handballing in AFL is a fundamental skill that can significantly impact the outcome of a game. By following the step-by-step guide and incorporating these drills into your training routine, you can enhance your handballing skills and become a valuable asset to your team. Remember, practice makes perfect, so dedicate time to mastering this essential skill, and it will pay dividends on the field.