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Understanding a few key rules, you can get started really quickly.
  1. No running with the ball. A key rule which ensures there is co-operation between players, so you cannot have a 'superstar' running around doing all the work while the others watch. Players have to create scoring chances through passing, running into space, and teamwork.
  2. No physical contact. Like many sports, contact is not allowed in korfball. You have to use your tactical skill, speed, and cunning to get around or away from your player.
  3. No shooting while 'defended' . This is very much the key to the whole game. In sports like basketball and netball you shoot whether or not there is a player defending you. Not so in korfball. An attacker is considered to be 'defended' when an opponent of the same sex (more on that later) fulfils the following three criteria:
    1. They are between the attacker and the basket.
    2. They are within arms length of the attacker and are looking at them.
    3. They are actively trying to block the ball.

So you can only shoot in Korfball if you are 'free' of your defender, which means you have to elude your player to create scoring chances. You also cannot defend a member of the opposite sex. This means women are competing against women, and men against men, all within a fast and flowing team environment.

How do you score?

In korfball a 'goal' is scored when the ball passes through the opponent's basket, which is mounted on a 3.5m pole. The pole itself is situated within the court's boundaries, which allows 360 degree shooting. Good shooting skills are essential and top players will be shooting from as far away as 10 metres in a game. In korfball a goal is a goal, so no 3 pointers guys! A good team would expect to score between 15 and 20 goals in a game, but more are possible.

Other rules

Of course, there are other rules: there is no punching the ball, there are free passes and penalty shots for fouls, and so on. The game has been modernised to allow substitutions and time outs, but is still very much guided by the principles of co-operation set out by the founder.

For more details about the rules, see: