About Korfball

Some information on the history, rules and techniques of the game.

History and Governance of the Game

Korfball was invented in 1902 in the Netherlands, originally as a game for school children. Since then it has grown in popularity and is now played in almost 70 countries worldwide.

The International Korfball Federation are the global governing body of the sport and are the guardians of the rules and the international competitions. Nations compete in a World Championships and at the regular World Games. The sport has also featured in the Olympics twice.

The England Korfball Association runs the sport in this country. There are around 50 clubs around the nation and nearly 80 university teams. Clubs compete in local, regional and national competitions and universities can compete in the annual BUCS events.

The pinnacle of the sport in this country is the National League finals - check out the video opposite for some high level action.

Basic Rules

  • Much like netball and basketball, the objective is to get the ball into a basket (called a korf) more times than your opponents.
  • Each team can have 8 players on the court at any one time - four men, four women.
  • In most competitions teams can have upto 12 players who can rotate on and off using rolling substitutions.
  • The team is split into two divisions of two men and women each. At any one time a division is either in attack or defence. Once two goals are scored by any team, the divisions switch over so there is always an opportunity for every player to shoot and defend during a match.
  • Running with the ball is not allowed and dribbling is not allowed. Teams need to work together to make passes to set up an attack.
  • The travelling rule is much more relaxed compared to netball and this sets up dramatic shooting techniques.
  • Shooting under pressure is a foul so players must work opportunities to move away from a defender or run past them to have a scoring chance.
  • Anything but incidental contact is punished by the ref so holding off, steals, shoulder blocks etc are not allowed.
  • Higher level competitions feature a 25 second shot clock.


There are lots of advanced techniques and tactics to study if you want to get good but the basics of the game are very simple. There are just two positions and three formations to learn!

korfball rebound
Rebound / Collect

This position involves standing by the post so you can catch the ball if and when your team misses a shot. A good rebounder is a vital asset for a team.

korfball feed
Feed / Assist

Stand with the ball in front of the post. A feeder looks to pass the ball outwards to a shooter or holds it to make a close pass if a player can get past a defender.


All four attackers on the outside and no support players. Pass the ball, look for a shot from mid-range, everyone rushes in to win the rebound.


Three on the outside and a rebound player. Move the ball around, look for a shot from range knowing you've got a man there to collect if you miss.


Both rebound and feed player are in. The two on the outside use the feeder to set up mid-range shots or look to run past a defender for an easy close in finish.