Korfball rules

Basic Rules
Korfball is a sport played within a rectangular field of play (40 x 20 metres). Each team attempts to shoot a ball into a basket called a korf - hence Korfball.

Teams of eight players divide into two divisions – two male and two female players in each division. The playing area consists of two large squares joined along the centre line, each square with a ‘korf’ set in one third of the distance from the back line. One division starts the game in attack, the other in defence. Divisions swap ends and hence roles after two goals have been scored.
Three key points are:

  • No running with the ball
  • No dribbling
  • No deliberate physical contact


Goals can only be scored when a player breaks free from his or her defender. An attacker is ‘defended’ when a defender of the same sex is:
  • between the attacker and the korf
  • able to (but not actually - that's a foul) touch the attacker’s torso
  • facing the attacker
  • has one arm up to block a shot.

A shot taken while an attacker is ‘defended’ gives away a free pass to the defending team. Defending an attacker of the opposite sex who would otherwise be free gives away a penalty shot to the attacking team.




An attacker must break free from his or her defender before attempting a shot. This can be done either by:

  • making distance back from the defender and shooting over him or her (a ‘long shot’ or ‘distance shot’)
  • catching the defender off balance, running past him or her,
  • taking a pass from a team-mate and shooting on the run (a ‘running-in shot’ – similar to a basketball ‘lay up’)


Free pass


A free pass occurs after an infringement. Players must stand 2.5 metres from the player taking the free pass and the pass must be taken within four seconds of the referee’s whistle.

Free passes after a ball is ‘out’ are taken from the point the ball left the playing area. At the beginning of the game, at half time and after a goal is scored a free pass is taken to restart the game from halfway. A goal may not be scored directly from a free pass.




A penalty is awarded when an infringement prevents a scoring chance. The penalty taker must stand 2.5 metres from the korf to take the penalty. All other players must stand 2.5 metres from both the korf and the penalty-taker.

There are of course plenty of other rules as well, but please don’t worry too much about them at the moment! If things don’t make sense, feel free to ask the coach or another player for an explanation.

The full Korfball rules can be found here.


© Copyright - Didcot Dragons Korfball Club 2003 - 2012.