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.
Originally, korfball was mostly played in Belgium and the Netherlands. It was a demonstration sport during the Olympic Games of 1920 and 1928 (which were held in Antwerp and Amsterdam!).
(Some sites seem to suggest that the progress of korfball was hindered by sexism, but I could not find evidence for that. Even in the Netherlands korfball is considered by some to be a game for nerds and wusses and the sport is not very popular. Such a reputation would seem to be a much more likely explanation for a slow growth.--branko)
(In the Netherlands Korfbal is in the top-5 of team-sports, and the Korfbal Union KNKV has 98.000 members. So it is popular! Also, Korfbal is played in over 50 countries. - Theo)
The foundation of the International Korfball Federation in 1993 and the existence of tens of national federations seem to imply a international popularity for the game, which has been played in the World Games since 1985.
World Championships have been held every 4 years since 1978.
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