Korfball; the mixed team sport tackling sexism

Korfball Header

“Incredible. Unique. Life-changing. Unforgettable.”

Just some of the words used by our members, old and new, to describe our magical korfball; the best sport you’ve never heard of and the game tackling sexism in sport.

Korfball is a mixed team sport devised by a Dutch schoolteacher, Nico Broekhuysen in 1903. Broekhuysen taught in one of the first mixed sex schools in Amsterdam, and wanted a game that both boys and girls could play. The rules are designed so that there were no advantages gained in height, sex or physical prowess.

How do you play?

Korfball is played by two teams of 8 on a court, with four females and four males on each team. The object is to score more goals then the opposition, which players do by working together to move the ball up the pitch quickly.

As dribbling is forbidden teams must instead rely on quick passing and intrinsic movement to get into shooting range. There are no fixed positions in korfball and players are required to alternate between attack and defence every time two goals are scored.

Shooting quickly is also a must in this game because unlike basketball or netball (where you can just shoot no matter what), in Korfball you can be defended which means your shot won’t count. There are 3 criteria that are met to make an attacking player defended. The defender must be:

  1. Between the attacker and the basket
  2. Within arm length of the attacker and are looking at them
  3. Actively trying to block the ball.

To get a feel for the game check out this highlight video


Korfball at the University of Leeds

At the University of Leeds we have a really exciting inclusive society that is always looking for new members to join.

We have 3 teams representing the university this year and each team plays competitively throughout the year in local leagues. We also have the opportunity to compete against the top 16 universities in the country at the BUCS national tournament!

But it isn’t all as serious as it sounds at the University of Leeds Korfball Club. We welcome everyone who just wants to play and train socially. Throughout the year we have countless socials and weekends away to celebrate and play some friendly Korf against other universities.

We also have a yearly trip to the Netherlands where we take part in an international tournament called Attila. We spend two days in Amsterdam sight-seeing and two days in Eindhoven korfing around, a trip which is open to everyone for a great weekend away. It’s as much about the sights and scenes as it is the Korf.

Korfball Amsterdam


Not only is Korfball a fun sport to play, it is a great way to keep fit so if you want to try something new then come along to one of our training sessions. Our training takes place on Wednesdays at 5-7pm and Thursday 7-8pm both at The Edge in Sports Hall 2.

To find out more about what we’re up to, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (leedsunikorf), and Instagram

On 2nd December we will being doing an Instagram takeover of the Leeds sport page (leeds_sport) for our BUCS prelim qualifiers so please tune in to see some live Korf.


Keeping Fit Over Christmas

The Christmas holidays are a great opportunity for you to really push on with your training. They are, however also an opportunity for you to undo all the hard work you put in during the first Semester. To help ensure that you get the most out of your holidays, this blog will break down what you can do to help yourself into 2 areas:

  1. Activity
  2. Recovery


If you have access to a gym, use it. Not going to the gym and lifting weights for a month during the holidays will set you back a long way when you return to University for the second Semester. You don’t have to follow a strict programme as just getting something done is better than nothing. If you do the following at least once per week this will put you in a good place training wise:



Upper body push (eg. bench press)

Upper body pull (eg. pullups)

As it’s the holidays, you probably want to spend most of your time outside the gym rather than in it. Why not get outside? Running outside rather than inside on a treadmill is not only great for your body, but refreshes your mind. Long walks through the countryside at this time of year will be full of fantastic scenery, as well as being a sociable activity (as long as you are with other people), and also handy for getting your 10,000 steps in!

Now is also a great time to try new things. Not been cycling before? Why not get outside and go for a ride? Play squash or badminton inside with friends, with the added bonus of staying warm when it’s snowing. Playing a new sport or activity will keep you fit and refresh your mind if you’ve been concentrating on one sport during the semester.

Whether you have access to a gym or not, there is plenty you can do in the comfort of your own home. Just doing a body weight circuit every day will help to keep you fit with minimal investment of time, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your holidays. There are many ways to do circuits. One way is outlined below:

Pick 6-8 exercises. Perform each for 30 seconds, not resting until all the exercises are done. Then rest for 2 minutes and do the whole thing 3-4 times.

Example circuit:

  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Pressups
  • Plank
  • Crunches
  • Squats
  • Leg Lowers


One benefit of being at home during the holidays is the home-cooked food. This will aid your recovery, meaning that you will be able to train every day. However, there are lots of other things you can do to help your body recover and be in better physical shape. This includes stretching, mobility work, sleep and active recovery.

Stretching and mobility work go hand in hand. You can do normal stretching, holding positions where you feel a light stretch for 30-60 seconds. You can use a foam roller or hockey/lacrosse/golf balls to roll lightly on tight areas until they release their tension.

Sleep and naps are always important, and now is a good time to get into good habits for when you return to University. Try to get approximately 8 hours of sleep in a night. Ideally your room is as dark as possible, and cool. You want to be without bright lights or electronic devices for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.

Active recovery can take a few forms. If your legs are tired and stiff for training, for example, going on a long walk can help to loosen them off. Additionally, doing a body weight circuit, slowly going through as large a range of motion in each movement as possible, can help the whole body feel better after a tough training session the previous day.


Final thoughts

Use your holidays wisely. Even a little bit of activity performed every day in the holidays will help you hugely by the time you return to University. Having a healthy, fit body will not only help you enjoy those extra mince pies, but will mean that you hit the ground running in your chosen sport when you get back to University. Additionally, the old adage rings true: ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’. With exams approaching, if you take care of your body now it will help you concentrate and study for them.



University staff and students more active than the general population

woman doing yoga

77% of staff and students at the University of Leeds are active, with 60% of the activity they take part in happening on campus.

The latest insights from the Balancing Life survey which took place in March 2017 are available to view online here, and show that University of Leeds students and staff are more active than the general population in the UK, however Leeds students are less active than the average higher education population.

The Balancing Life Survey, ran by the Sport & Physical Activity Service (SPA) at the University has given real insight into the activity levels of staff and students at Leeds, as well as their relationship to being active and a snapshot of their wellbeing. Of the people that completed the survey 77% were active, while 23% were insufficiently active or inactive. Staff were 3% more active than students and 60% of activity that people take part in happens on campus. This is a figure that SPA are committed to increasing and through collaborative working with departments across the University SPA is looking for ways in which activity can be incorporated into staff and students lives on campus. Ideas such as lunchtime yoga in meeting rooms and lecture theaters as well as walking meetings are just some of the initiatives that could be introduced.


When asked directly about their relationship to sport and physical activity, 51% of people ‘do it regularly and are sticking with it’, 6% are ‘not considering it’ and 43% are ‘thinking about it, have looked into options and are just getting involved’. This 43% are the people that SPA are working to support so they begin to create positive habits for life.

The aim of the survey was to establish and better understand the current activity levels of students and staff at the University of Leeds, while also taking into consideration their wellbeing. It has been a great success and is creating opportunities for SPA to pilot interventions that will encourage faculty, staff, student and the public’s participation and involvement in physical activity and sport at the University of Leeds. This is a key aim of the University’s sport and physical activity strategy which you can view online here.

Gryphons Crowned Women’s Dry-Slope Champions

For the first time in recent history, University of Leeds Snowriders were announced as this years Women’s British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Dry Slope Champions with stand out performances from Sports Scholar Gillian Finnerty and team mate Jenny Davies.

In the women’s snowboard event, Finnerty retained her gold medal title in the big air competition, with a huge 180° to seal the win. She then took a second gold in the slopestyle for an impressive 4th year running. In the Snowboard Cross (SBX) and Giant Slalom (GS), Finnerty picked up two silvers, missing out in the GS by just 0.2 seconds. Fellow Leeds Gryphon Lucy Wyatt made a great first impression claiming 18th in the GS in her first ever snowboarding competition. Finally the team picked up 4th in the team duals having been knocked out in the semi finals by eventual winners Loughborough.

Over in the men’s event, snowboarder and freestyle captain Oliver Chapman was impressive on the jump in the big air event but narrowly missed out on the finals after falling on his 540° attempt in the semis.

In the women’s ski event it was Jenny Davies who shone claiming two golds in the ski slalom and again in the ski giant slalom. Last year Davies was on track for first position but ended up straddling a gate in her second run so this year she was back with a vengeance and put a big distance between herself and second place to claim the gold she deserved.

As for the men’s ski event, Chris Guest put in a good display finishing 33rd in Ski Slalom and 49th in Ski GS. President and freestyle skier James Hough was performing well in the big air but the incredibly high standard of the group prevented him reaching the top eight to go through to the finals. It was Team GB athletes who claimed first and second in men’s ski disciplines. Click here for a list of full results from the weekend.

A huge congratulations to Gillian, Jenny and the rest of the team who headed to BUCS dry slope. Looking forward to seeing your achievements in the rest of the season!

BUCS Girls Can

3 girls doing yoga in this girl can t-shirts

Since it’s launch in 2015, This Girl Can has swept the nation encouraging and empowering women to get physically active. Each academic year British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) coordinate a special week of female-focused action, engaging with universities across the country.

That’s why as part of the ‘BUCS Girls Can’ week, we’re highlighting all the fantastic things you can get have a go at. Have a look at whats on offer below.

Whats on?

  • Zumball

    A fun, fitness session with a difference. Combining strength exercises and body weight conditioning with a ball to provide a predominantly core and upper body workout. Who knew there was so much you could do with a ball!

    When? Monday 20th November 16:00 – 17:00

    Where? Cromer Terrace

    Cost? £3    Book here

  • Weight Training

    An introduction to weight training, tailored specifically for women only. It will aim to cover the basics of weight training, building confidence to then build in the techniques and exercises into your own training sessions.

    When? Tuesday 21st November, 17:30 – 18:30

    Where? The Edge, S&C Room

    Cost? £3    Book here

  • Woodhouse Workout

    Led by our friendly, inspirational instructor Teejay Jones, Woodhouse Workout takes advantage of the beautiful Woodhouse Moor park right on our doorstep. It combines cardio and resistance training through fun pair work, games and team building.

    When? Wednesday 22nd November, 12:15 – 13:00

    Where? Woodhouse Moor, meet at Cromer Terrace

    Cost? £3    Book here

  • Yoga Flow, Align Your Spine

    A combination of pure movement and vinyasa flow yoga. Open to anyone who wants to learn more about how to use their body correctly. Moving to music to release tension, increase flexibility and build strength.

    When? Friday 24th November, 16:00 – 17:00

    Where? Cromer Terrace

    Cost? £3    Book here



We’ll also be featuring one of our very own Leeds Gryphons Women’s teams as our #onetowatch on BUCS Wednesday so tune in to the @Leeds_Sport twitter account to catch the live action!