Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Korfball (in Dutch korfbal, which literally means basketball) is a team ball game. It is mostly played in the Netherlands, where it was invented, but seems to be catching on in the rest of the world too.
Korfball differs from other team sports in that it is a mixed sex game: a team consists of four men and four women.
How to play
Korfball is played indoors or outdoors on a court divided into two halves called zones.
In each zone there is a post (3.5m, shorter for the young) with a basket in the top. This is positioned at two thirds of the distance between the centre line and the back of the zone. The ball is similar to the one used for football. There are two teams, each consisting of eight players: two men and two women of each team in each zone (attack and defence).
Scoring is done by throwing the ball through the other team's basket. After two goals the teams change zones: the defenders become attackers and attackers defenders. At half-time the teams swap halves of the court.
The story goes that at the beginning of the 20th century a Dutch school teacher called Nico Broekhuysen was looking for a game that both the boys and the girls in his class could play. In 1902 he played a game called ringboll whilst in Sweden. Back in the Netherlands he devised the rules for korfball.
Philosophy of korfball
As long as you keep its philosophy in mind, all rules turn out to be straightforward. What, then, is its philosophy?
First and foremost, korfball is a team sport. Individual class is essential but there is no room for individual play. Belonging to a team means teamwork; running with the ball or dribbling is not allowed. A player that receives the ball while running must stop and pass the ball to another player.
Korfball is a mixed sport. Men and women play side by side. But while women are equal in the tactics of the game, while playing it's man to man only. One man may guard one man and one woman may guard one woman. So it's not two against one and a woman may not defend a man nor may a man defend a woman.
Third, korfball is a tactical game. Each party tries to win by scoring more goals using tactical skills of the team as a whole. The rules follow this principle and prevent physical strength from dominating the game. That means that physical contact is undesired. Blocking, tackling and holding your opponent are not allowed in korfball.
The same goes for kicking the ball or hitting it with your fists. Also, one is not allowed to move the post, which would make it harder to score.
Another rule that makes this a largely tactical game is that a player may not attempt to score when defended. That occurs when the defender is closer to the basket and is facing his/her opponent, and is at arm's length, and is attempting to block the ball.
The foundation of the International Korfball Federation in 1993 and the existence of tens of national federations seem to imply an international popularity for the game, which has been played in the World Games since 1985.
World Championships have been held every four years since 1978. Most great tournaments are won by the Netherlands or by Belgium.
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