Everyone needs to be a good defender in Korfball, as putting the pressure on and intercepting the ball at crucial points, can really be the difference between winning and losing. Players can't run with the ball and can only pivot. Korfball is also a controlled contact sport. This means that during play contact between players of both teams is allowed but that the referee has to react when the controlled contact between players leads to one player gaining an advantage. For instance players cannot knock a ball out of a players hands. The thing that makes Korfball unique though is it's defending rule!


The most important thing you need to know about defending is the defending rule. In Korfball, if a player satisfies the below rule and are classed as defended, then they cannot shoot. Note that players can only defend other players of the same sex. The rule is composed of 4 parts that must all be satisfied;

  1. The defender must be actively trying to block the ball. I.e. tracking the ball with their hand.
  2. The defender must be within arm's length of the attack. We usually say close enough to touch their shoulder.
  3. The defender must have their face turned towards the attacker. You can't fall asleep defending!
  4. The defender must be nearer to the post than the attacker. You can be the other side of the post and still class as defended


The feed position (described here) is an assist position that helps attackers, amongst other things, achieve a running in shot. A common technique when this position is achieved is to "cut" the feed. This basically means moving in front of the feeding player, so they are now the closest to the post, to intercept any passes to them from the attacking players. Timed well and you can intercept the pass and win the ball for your team. However if timed poorly, the feeding player could turn with a free shot to the korf. It is worth mentioning for this same reason, that this should only be attempted if the feeding player is not currently holding the ball. Typically it is done just after the feeding player passes the ball out to someone who is likely to attempt a running in shot. By coming in front of the player you are also essentially gifting them a collect position, so only do this if it is preferential to the situation; if the attacking player is likely to attempt a longshot then you have gifted them a free collect for the shot.


  • Always stay between your defender and the post (there are exceptions, but its a good starting point!).
  • Keep focused on your player. You should be aware of what is going on around you, but don't just watch the ball, however tempting! Your player is the number one priority, and the moment you take your eyes off of them, they will run away from you, or around you, and probably have a scoring opportunity.
  • When possible try to stand in the space between the player with the ball and the player you are marking. Covering this passing line stops the pass and slows down play. And if they are silly enough to attempt the pass it allows you to intercept and win the ball!
  • If your player is a long way out give them more space. The closer they come to the post the tighter you should mark them. Closer = more likely to score = more likely to shoot.
  • As an exception to the above, react to the field and the calls that are being made (see here).