Korfwhat?!

A (very brief) history of korfball

As a sport, korfball can be described as a non-contact hybrid of netball and basketball. It was invented in the early twentieth century by a Dutch schoolteacher, Nico Broekhuysen, who wished to design a mixed-sex sport based on a simple premise – equality. In short, he envisaged a sport where men and women were able to compete in the same game on an equal footing, irrespective of physical (and to some extent, athletic) advantages.

Since its creation, the sport has spread from Holland all over the world – with countries such as Britain, Germany, Spain and the USA all having their own national leagues and tournaments. The International Korfball Federation (IKF) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee and is a member of the Association of Recognised IOC International Sports Federation and International World Games Association.

You can read a BBC interview with Warriors’ own Amy Dickens on “Korf and Effect” here.

Major events in the korfball calendar include the World Championships (every four years – the next one taking place in 2011), European Championships (every four years – the next one taking place in October 2010) and the Europa Cup for Champion Clubs (held annually). There are also youth team World and European Championships every four years, as well as additional national and international events.

In Great Britain, whilst the majority of clubs are based in South London, there are leagues and clubs operating all over the country and many participate in either local/regional leagues or the National League, which is comprised of teams from the major regional leagues, such as the Midlands and North West.

Korfball in thirty seconds

A play a game of korfball, you need two teams of four men and four women. The court is divided into two halves – with a “division” from each team playing in each half. A “division” comprises two men and two women from each team. One team’s division will start the game attacking in one half or defending in the other. The other team will do the opposite. Play as follows: (1) pass and move; (2) without dribbling; (3) with no contact; with a view to (4) shooting and scoring. You cannot shoot if your opponent is closer to the basket than you and can touch your chest. Switch halves every two goals (attackers become defenders and vice versa). Two thirty (or less) minute halves. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins. Post-drink beers to celebrate/commiserate. Simple.

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