Whatball?    A quick introduction to the sport...

 How the game is played

Korfball is a fun, fast and skilful mixed sex team sport, with traits from netball, basketball and handball. Each team consists of four male and four female players.

The aim is to shoot the ball into the opposition’s basket. “Korf” is Dutch for basket. Players are not allowed to run or dribble with the ball.

The pitch is divided into two ends, each half containing four players from each team. Players are not allowed to cross the half-way line during normal play. At each end of the pitch one team is in attack, the other end in defence. Players change ends every two goals, so everyone gets the chance to attack and defend equally.

Any member of the attacking team may shoot from anywhere within their half. As the korf stands one-third of the way into the pitch from the baseline, you can even shoot from behind the basket.

Unique to korfball is the defended shot rule. A shot is defended simply by the defender being closer to the korf than their opponent, within arm's reach and actively trying to block the shot. Shooting while defended means the shot does not count and the opposition get the ball. A player can only defend another player of the same sex.

Physical contact is very limited. As a result of these basic rules, men and women can play competitively together on an equal footing.

Since players cannot move with the ball, team play and cooperation are essential to work the ball into a shooting position. There's also endless scope for tactical innovation to wrong-foot the defending team to achieve that undefended shot. The structure of the game means that skill and cooperation are emphasised, while physical force and solo play are discouraged.


Green attacking, blue and white defending during an outdoor game

"Korfball - What makes this such a great sport?" PDF Download
a short article by Rod Smith on the philosophy of the game



 For beginners
 Short form 
 Full form
 Beginners' rules leaflet  Word download

Not defended!

 Fancy having a go? 

New players are always welcome and your first month of  training sessions are always free!

Come and join us. Beginners welcome at anytime! 

Why not come and try something different? Your first month is completely free! You are also very welcome to join us for post training drinks.

Korfball is a mix between basketball and netball with no fixed positions, giving everybody the chance to both attack and defend. It is currently the only truly mixed sex sport, with teams made up of 4 men and 4 women.

Please let us know if you have any quesitons and we'll do our best to help!. Please also do let us know by email if you are planning to attend so we can have an idea of numbers (see email address below).  

Usual sports kit, including a clean pair of trainers, is all you will need.

Almost everyone is a 'beginner' to korfball initially as the game is not well known (downright obscure?!) so there should be plenty of people new to the game to keep you company!


 Exeter Korfball Club on ITV!


On 24 February 2009 ITV local news came to training. Click 'Play' to learn more about the sport --

The clip was shot at Tuesday training at Exeter School


 A bit of history

Korfball was invented in 1902 by Nico Broekhuysen, a Dutch teacher who wanted a game the boys and girls of his school could play together. "Korf" is Dutch for basket. Broekhuysen was probably inspired by playing 'Ringboll' (a type of netball) in Sweden. Basketball had also been invented in 1891 in America, where there were flourishing separate men's and women's games by the beginning of the 20th century.

Despite the new sport meeting with social resistance from those who thought it unseemly for men and women, or boys and girls, to play sport together, it grew quickly to become popular across all levels of society in Holland and Belgium. A Dutch national association was formed as early as 1903.

The game was demonstrated at the Olympics in 1920 (Antwerp) and 1928 (Amsterdam) and an International Korfball Federation was established to promote the game worldwide in 1933.

The first British club was set up in south London in 1946. Since then the sport has spread out from London across the country, but many of the best teams still hail from the south east, reflecting the head start they enjoyed.

Korfball featured again as a demonstration sport at the Olympics in 1992, and is now played in more than 50 countries worldwide.