What is Korfball?

As you all know, we here at Pokatok are fans of all sports. Each time someone introduces us to a new sport, we feel compelled to dive into it and find out all about it. My friends over at the Sickos Committee recently introduced me to the sport of korfball. The first time I spent any amount of time watching the game, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities to basketball. However, the sport is much more than just a “Wish” version of basketball. Allow me to fill you in.

Origin of Korfball

For the origins of korfball, we head back to 1902 when a Dutch school teacher by the name of Nico Broekhuysen ended up in Sweden. While there, the locals introduced Broekhuysen to the sport of “ringboll”. Inspired, Broekhuysen decided to bring a simplified version of the game to his students back in the Netherlands. Exchanging the ring for a basket, the sport received its new name. “Korf” being the Dutch word for basket, korfball was born.

The new sport would rapidly become popular in the Netherlands with clubs developing in Amsterdam and beyond. One such club, H.K.C. ALO, founded in 1906 remains the oldest non-merged club in the sport. It has since spread around the world, with clubs playing on every continent (except Antartica, but l mean come on guys – do I really need to put in this exclusion?).

Rules of Korfball

Played on an indoor court measuring 20m by 40m, the object of the sport is simple enough. Much like basketball, you score by putting the ball through the basket. The Korfball court is divided into two halves. Each team of eight players divides into two groups of four. Four attackers play only in the offensive half of the court and four defenders play in the defensive half. Additionally, of the eight players on a korfball team, four are men and four are women with two men and two women occupying each half of the court. Crossing the half-court line is not permitted nor is blocking, tackling, holding, or kicking the ball.

Unlike basketball, dribbling does not take place on a korfball court. The sport places a huge emphasis on movement away from the ball, forcing players to create space if they want to take a shot. Shooting while “defended” is not allowed. Being defended is defined as when the opposition player places themselves between the basket and within arm’s length of the attacker.

After every two baskets, attackers and defenders switch roles on the court. Matches generally consist of two 25-minute halves with each half divided into two equal periods separated by a one-minute break. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the contest. For a deeper dive into the rules of the game, be sure to check out the International Korfball Federation’s official handbook.

What do you think of the sport of Korfball? We’d love to hear from you on Twitter – make sure to follow us and give us your opinion.

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