What is Korfball?

Korfball is as mixed gender game, similar to mixed netball or basketball, in which a team consists of four men and four women.  The aim of the game is to put the ball (which is similar to a football in size and weight), through a basket which is 3.5 metres in the air (much higher than the basket in basketball or netball!).

Through teamwork and tactics the attacking team tries to generate opportunities to shoot without the defending team marking or “defending” them.  Although korfball is a mixed sport, only men can mark men (or “defend” men) and women can defend women.

A korfball pitch is divided into two halves, with two men and two women from each side in each half.  One team is defending and one attacking in the same half, and vice‑versa in the other half.  Once two goals have been scored all players swap ends and swap roles (i.e. defenders become attackers and attackers become defenders).  In contrast to netball, there are no fixed positions and the game is designed so that there is no advantage in being male, female, tall, short etc – the idea is to co-operate with your team mates to get through the opposition defence.

Confused?  Come along to training – it is really not as complicated as it sounds!

Korfball was invented in Holland in 1903, and has been played in Britain since the 1940s. Abingdon Korfball Club have teams entered into Division 1 and Division 2 of the Oxfordshire League managed by the Oxfordshire Korfball Association (OKA) and on a larger scale is part of the English Korfball Association (EKA).

Simplified Rules of Korfball


Teams consist of four men and four women. Teams are split into two divisions of two men and two women. One division plays attack, the other defence. After two goals by either team the divisions switch so attach becomes defence and vice versa. Divisions must remain in their half.


The object of the game is to score as many goals as possible. A goal is scored by shooting the ball into the basket, called a korf, that is 3.5m high. Unlike some other similar games, in Korfball there is:

  • no running with the ball
  • no dribbling
  • no deliberate physical contact

If a player receives the ball while stationary they may only pivot on one foot. If a player receives the ball while running and then shoots or passes, they are allowed two steps before releasing the ball.


Goals can only be scored when a player breaks free from his or her defender. An attacker is defended when a defender of the same sex is:

  • between the attacker and the korf
  • within reach of the attacker’s torso
  • facing the attacaker
  • has one arm up to block a shot

A shot taken while an attacker is defended is a foul. Defending an attacker of the opposite sex is also a foul.


Matches consist of two halves each of about 30 minutes each on a rectangular field of play of about 40m x 20m which can be either indoors or outdoors.


The referee starts and stops the game by blowing their whistle. When the game is restarted the player must wait for the whistle before resuming play.

The full Korfball rules can be found here.