The following text is a translation of an article about Stockholm Korfballklubb in the newspaper Vårt Kungsholmen, which you can find (on page 12) at:
Korfball may be the Netherlands third largest sport – but here are there few here who have even heard of it. But Stockholm actually has its own korfball team, and they train in Lärarhögskolans (the teacher college’s) sports hall. Vårt Kungsholmen spent time with the club during an intensive training weekend.
It is Saturday afternoon and Sweden’s only korfball club is warming up. This weekend they will train under the guidance of an expert brought in especially for the weekend – Kees Pieters, korfball trainer and referee in the Netherlands.
“They are good but they need to practice motor skills. Today we will therefore practise throwing the ball with both hands”, he says.
Normally the korfball gang have training on Sundays, at Lärarhögskolans sports hall near Västerbroplan. The sport can, for those who have never seen a korfball match, be said to liken basketball, and the aim is to get the ball in the “basket”, which sits three and a half meters up in the air on a pole.
The teams are mixed gender – four ladies and four men in each – and it is consequently one of few mixed gender sports.
“It is serious training but because one plays with both girls and guys, it isn’t as aggressive as football. Home in India we do play korfball, but I didn’t start playing until I came here”, says Sriram Yagnaraman, who works at Ericsson during the weeks.
“Only two hours have passed but I can already see improvements in the technique.”
Sriram is one of the club’s foreign members – because they speak english during training there are many different nationalities represented.
Everything started in the little community of Nääs outside Gothenberg. A dutch teacher worked in a school there in the start of the 1900s and saw people playing the then-popular sport ringboll, and he became inspired. After developing the sport further he introduced it in his homeland. It became a success.
Soon the match has begun. Quick steps and sharp squeaks as sneakers meet the floor spread themselves in the big sports hall.
“You’re running too much! You’ll get tired after 10 minutes”, shouts Kees, who has now used his film camera to show players their mistakes.
“Only two hours have passed but I can already see improvements in the technique”, states Kees. “Everything depends on the technique. Rihanna, my trainer assistent, can for example shoot a ball from 20 meters distance. It’s all about bending the knees and doing a little jump when you launch the ball”, he says, and gets backing:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re long or short. I have been on tournaments and seen people who are shorter than me who have been extremely good”, says Sandy Polack, who originally comes from Peru.
Everyone seems to agree that one of the best things about korfball is that it is so unaggressive, and that physical conditions are not the primary ones.
There since the beginning
“I used to play squash and bandy but after a certain number of sprains after having played against aggressive guys, it isn’t so fun. But here it would be a foul if you touch each other”, says Karen McDougall, who has been with the club since its start 10 years ago.
Camaraderie also appears to be an important part for the korfball gang and training is usually concluded with time in the sauna and common intake of pizza at La Barca across the street. But because they have esteemed visitors, Ethiopian will be on the menu tonight.
Korfball in 50 countries
– Played in some 50 countries across the world
– The Netherlands and Belgium are world-leading
– Has its origin in Ringboll
What is the game all about?
– Two teams composed of 8 people, four men and four women, meet on a court divided in two halves.
– On each half there is a basket in which one shoots to score.
– The teams are divided in attackers and defenders and after two goals the team change both roles and switch sides of the court.
– The person with the ball is not allowed to take more than one step and dribbling is not allowed.
– You also cannot try and shoot the ball at the basket if you have an active defender from the other team in front of you, instead you must pass the ball to a teammate.
– It is not allowed to touch the ball when someone else is holding it – that counts as a foul.
– Builds a lot on technique and teamwork.