What Is Korfball?

Korfball is a mixed gender ball sport, with similarities to netball and basketball. It is played by two teams of eight players with four females and four males in each team. The objective is to throw a ball through a bottomless basket that is mounted on a 3.5 m (11.5 feet) high pole, shorter for children.

The sport was invented by Dutch schoolteacher Nico Broekhuysen in 1902. In the Netherlands, there are around 580 clubs and over 100,000 people playing korfball. The sport is also very popular in Belgium and Taiwan, and is played in 54 other countries. Korfball clubs in Great Britain are always actively trying to keep the sport growing.

History

wik2Korfball has Dutch origins. In 1902 Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch school teacher from Amsterdam, was sent to Nääs, a town in Sweden, to follow an educational course about teaching gymnastics to children. This is where he was introduced to the Swedish game ‘ringboll’. In ringboll a player could score points by throwing the ball through a ring that was attached to 3 m pole. Men and women played together, and the field was divided into three zones. Players could not leave their zone.

Broekhuysen was inspired and when he returned to Amsterdam he decided to teach his students a similar game. He replaced the ring with a basket (for which the Dutch word is “korf” or “mand”), so it was easier to see if a player had scored or not. Broekhuysen also simplified the rules so children could also understand and play it. Korfball was born. The main idea was the same as ringboll, but it now stood on its own.

Equipment

Korfball is played indoors and outdoors.

The size of the court is 20m x 40m. The court is divided into halves called zones. In each zone is a 3.5 m (11.5 ft) tall post with a basket at the top. This is positioned two thirds of the distance between the center line and the back of the zone.

Team

A korfball team consists of eight players; four female and four male.

Match

A korfball match consists of two periods of 30 minutes.

Two men and two women of each team are in one zone, and the others are in the other zone. During the match they cannot switch zones. Men and women play side-by-side, but duels are man to man and woman to woman. However, it is allowed for a player to switch among opponents whom he/she is defending, as long as they are of the same sex.

wik4At the beginning of the match one team chooses one-half of the court. That half will be their defending zone, with ‘their’ basket in it. Players score by throwing the ball through the opponents’ basket. After two goals, the teams change zones: defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders. In between those zone-changes, attackers cannot set foot on their defending zone or vice versa. At half-time teams swap halves.

The rules prevent physical strength dominating the game. Blocking, tackling and holding are not allowed, as well as kicking the ball. Once a player has the ball, one cannot dribble, run or walk with it, however, one can move one foot as long the other remains on the same spot. Therefore tactical and efficient teamwork is required, because players need each other to keep the ball moving. A player may not attempt to score when defended, which occurs when the defender is in between the opponent and the basket, is facing his/her opponent, is at arm’s length and attempting to block the ball.

Video

A good video explaining the game of korfball.