The Long Shot or Distance Shot[1]




Players who cannot score from a distance (7-10 meters) are not sufficiently skilled to participate in top level korfball. Due to their inability to score they cannot contribute sufficiently to the aim of the game. Scoring a shot is an individual action that completes a team task. The team task is to develop an attack and create shooting opportunities for their teammates. The team task of creating scoring chances is then followed by the individual task of scoring, converting the chance created. Scoring opportunities are assisted by the shooter’s teammates through precise communication in the interaction within the attack zone.2

In top korfball all attackers need to be able to score (although levels at which players can score will differ), as this requires defenders to concentrate on defending the personal opponents. Defending in these instances is preventing scoring chances, blocking the shot or at least hindering the shot. Shooting, taking a long shot, is an action that is performed by each player in their own way. The form of shooting is a very personal action, but even the individual shooting performance is not consistent. These differences in form between shots taken by a single player are referred to under the term functional variability. Despite these differences it remains possible to identify corresponding global features in the bodily movements made when shooting at the korf. These bodily movements associated with shooting are recognizable within the context of the game. The coach can describe this move-action using four characteristics:


1. Perception: The shooter reads the opponent and communicates with their teammates to create the freedom to shoot; the assister recognises this and communicates by providing the person who will shoot with an assist. Perception by the attacker is possible if he has knowledge and experience of the game of attack versus defense.

2. Communication with and relation to the environment: position of the shooter when receiving the ball and direction of action (eye contact with korf).

3. Decision Making: what and how to perform the action such as turning to face the korf, the shot action, the moment of shooting and determining the speed of the flight and arch of the ball.

4. Execution: the form, follow through and the result of the scoring attempt. The ability immediately take part in the attacking game again after a shot by, for example, attempting to rebound the shot the shooter took.


Shooting and Scoring training and learning.


Improving shooting is more than simple trial and error (implicit learning). If coaches know what to look for when executing the long shot, players can see that players perform a similar action in a fundamentally different way. There are individual differences between players cognitively, motorically, and emotionally. In performance behaviour, such as shooting the ball precisely at the korf, cognition, motor skills, and emotion exist as a trinity, they cannot be separated. The shot action is co-constituted by these three parts. Additionally, the individual player and the environment (teammates and situation) are not static. They are dynamic and constantly changing. This is even more true in (top) korfball. In top korfball positions and roles change frequently change. Throughout the game this requires players to adjust their timing of communication, the direction and speed of passing to give the assist at the right. Dynamic, situational pressure and tension are normal in game situations like these.


To improve your shot requires constant performance analysis by the coach together with the individual player. This means a conscious process that is repeated by the player together with the coach during each training session. This makes a player consciously competent (explicit learning) during the training. When a player trains in this way creates the greatest chance of unconsciously conducting repeating the learned action during the match. To keep improving your shot requires the recognition that the performance analysis of a shot at the korf is a multidisciplinary endeavour: the knowledge from multiple disciplines is used to improve the ability to shoot:


1. Psychology; the player’s mental skills that enable them to improve the shooting action, but also confidence and the resilience to stay motivated while training.

2. Biomechanics; the ability to understand how the bodily movements can help improve the physical side of the shooting action.

3. Statistics; to enable players and coaches to understand what type of game situations are more likely to lead a player to convert their shot.


Performance Behaviour and the long shot.[2]

Scoring more goals than the opponent is the difference between winning or losing. Coaches expect players to be focused on converting chances, as they are selected on their ability to score. However, not all players can handle the pressure to perform when it really matters when they are expected to score. Not everyone is able to stay in control and focus on this task. The unavoidable tension at key moments in the match can lead to fear of failure and nerves. The self-confidence of the players, the positive thoughts during shooting practice, can become uncontrolled during important matches. When a coach is confronted with a situation like this, they should employ mental techniques during training sessions. By exposing players to tense and nervous game situations, fear of failure and other external stressors they can be made manageable. With good mental preparation a player is more likely to control their emotions during a decisive moment.


Fear of failure and the valley of disappointment.

Coaches and top players know that during matches things can go different than expected. Unexpected situations can be pre-empted by arranging training sessions that instill a positive mental framework. This mental framework helps the players take charge of themselves on the pitch, it helps them take control. The ability to control their own thoughts during a match is vital. Shooting requires control by execution. It helps if players receive instructions for this during trainings. Visualization of their shots by the players themselves prior to a match also supports controlled shooting.  Coaches and top players know that periods might occur when scoring is difficult. During such a spell players need to remain motivated and resilient. If coaches and players remain convinced and motivated to keep trying to score by choosing the right shots, they are likely to return to form. Top players have a good understanding of their goals, experience less stress, and operate with a higher level of perseverance and resilience. During a period in which players fail to score the following thoughts can help:


- Be prepared. Coaches and players know that everyone is subject to setbacks and disappointments. It is inevitable that anyone faces a challenge at some point. Keeping this in mind ahead of time will help coaches and players prepare mentally to better deal with the disappointments when they arrive.

- Remain focused on the goals. It is important to keep the goals in mind, even when coaches or players feel like you are stuck in a 'Valley of Disappointment'. Remember why you took on a challenge and stay focused on what you intend to achieve.

- Seek support and feedback. When a player struggles, support from colleagues, coaches or mentors can be helpful. A close circle of peers can help coaches and players keep perspective.


When a coach expects certain performance behaviour from their players, they must motivate the players in training. According to James Clear, this includes four separate steps: the cause, desire, result, and reward.

Picture 1

Figure 1 James Clear's model the plateau of latent potential

Flow, the peak experience of the longshot shooter.

Some players in top korfball teams are expected to score every game. These players are aware of this expectation. The challenge for them to score is important in every match. Typically, they convert 30% of their shot attempts into goals. There will be times when these players are unable to fulfil on this expectation. When this occurs, players go through the valley of disappointment. The method to return to form is by going back to basics. This means focusing on the long shot during training: looking at balance; direction and overall coordination. First from close range and then step-by-step increasing the distance.

Conversely, players who are expected to score each match can find a flow, a peak experience. In games like these they deliver a performance of exceptional level, an above-average performance, a sense of absolute control. They can hardly miss when they shoot and convert approximately 50% of their attempts into goals. In these games they are relaxed, focused and greatly confident. They get absorbed in the activity of performing the long shot, and experience intense pleasure and happiness. The player who is in flow can forget about the other tasks in the attack. They are focused on shooting and scoring and hardly see the other players. 

Menno van der Neut, a DVO/Transus player, demonstrated the definition of flow on February 25 (2023) during the Korfbal League matchup versus DOS'46. He managed to score ten goals out of nineteen dynamic shots. Due to his flow-state, Van der Neut was unconcerned despite DOS'46's attempts to stop him by switching defensive players.

- Video footage of ‘flow’ by Menno van der Neut: https://youtu.be/QGphprBFiBs


Biomechanical analysis of the long shot.[3]

When players perform an action, their motor (move-actions), sensory, and cognitive (thinking) processes interact. First, their brains allow the player to control their move-actions, so to enable them to do as they wish. Secondly, the long shot is about perception. They use their senses to take aim at the korf. Finally, the physical action (bodily movements) of shooting is made as an attempt to score. Exposing the shooting action of a player to biomechanical analysis can help players and coaches to better understand and appreciate the action. It is important to acknowledge that the long shot is biomechanically complicated: it consists of many interlinked movements. Good balance, direction, timing, movement sequence and correct acceleration of all body segments are essential completing a good shot. The effect of a good connection between the successive movements is many times greater than the sum of the effects of all joints and muscles separately. Due to the high speeds of movement, this force transfer cannot be seen with the naked eye. Still, even when a player executes all aspects of the movements well, a goal can still not be guaranteed.


How to perform the long shot?[4]

The long shot is performed around the korf at 7-10 meters. The top rim of the korf is 3.50 meters over the floor. Due to this distance the shooter, when attempting a long shot, must generate greater amounts of force to reach the korf. To perform the action successfully the player must follow several components in sequence. When first receiving the ball, their feet are spaced for balance and comfort. Alternatively, the shooter steps backwards, balancing on one leg. As part of this movement their centre of gravity is above the standing leg(s). From this position they launch the ball in the direction of the korf.

When attempting a long shot the generation of force starts at the feet. Then it works its way up the body until it from the arms it is exerted on the ball. A shot is then the summation of force exerted throughout the body. Utilizing this force effectively is key to shooting a long shot. Players want a fluid motion that can be repeated throughout a game. Shot actions that overexert lead to fatigue and reduce effectiveness. A correct movement prevents this from occurring. The power generated throughout the body allows the maximum force to be exerted by the muscles and transferred to the ball to complete the long shot.

On page 32 and 33 of The IKF Guide to Korfball Coaching Mick Snell shows how force is generated using his entire body, from his feet to fingertips. A sequence known as a kinetic chain. The combination of all muscles together enables a player to throw it further. Mick Snel, a former international player of the Netherlands, is widely known for his deep and precise long shots that require a lot of power. Players cannot shoot the ball without being able to generate power. The more body parts a player is able to involve in their shooting action, the greater the possible force that can be generated to shoot the ball with the right speed and at the right height. Using the principles of force summation, players can perform skills that require large amounts of force. If they can utilise different muscle groups, they will also be able to repeat this throughout a match. Players who understand how to apply this principle will be more successful. Players who don’t are more likely to suffer from an unbalanced shot that can cause fatigue, thereby leading to inaccuracy, and an inconsistent shot action.

When aiming the ball to the korf, balance and the centre of gravity of the body are key. Bodies consist of many individual particles of mass, the centre of mass in a human body is the point where the mass of the body is evenly distributed in all directions. To increase vertical velocity for a long shot while standing on one foot, will require the manipulation of the centre of mass. This can occur by applying force through taking a step backwards. After stepping back the player must keep balance on their standing leg. From here they generate the power to shoot and remain in control to take aim. Raising the centre of mass can help improve the accuracy of the shot by contributing to upper body stability. Besides the manipulation of the player’s centre of mass, a still head and eyes also contributes to the accuracy of a shot. Manipulation of centre of gravity is useful when being defended. A step back allows a player to get a better look at the korf, thereby improving their accuracy. Similarly, a defender may be in a position to block a shot, and the step back can provide the attacker the extra time needed for an opportunity to score.

Finally, the optimal angle of release of the ball is contextual and based upon a player physiological characteristics. Typically it is argued that releasing the ball at an angle of 45 degrees is optimal. However, this applies to the physiological characteristics of the average human being. To improve your long shot then also requires the identification of a player’s anthropometric features, as these help reveal at what angle a player should release the ball to be most likely to convert their shot.

A korfball coach should be able to provide feedback to a player in order for this player to deliberately improve his shots. Consequently, the coach shouldn't just "look" at his or her players; rather, he or she should be able to "see" the areas where the player needs to develop in order to increase the accuracy of their shots. A coach can begin to see the differences with the aid of video footage:

-     Video footage: Well balanced shots - https://youtu.be/LgS2X6JzeEI

-     Video footage: Correct line to the korf - https://youtu.be/56TdHglQOCY

-     Video footage: Engaged and moving after finish - https://youtu.be/_UjXQFnbV5I

-     Video footage: Good arc (25-45 degrees) - https://youtu.be/Mrx_2-yIaVE




Performance analysis is the process of recording and analysing the actions of players during performance. Statistics are a practical coaching tool, with as its clear purpose to provide objective (and often directly evaluative) data that can inform and support players in a number of constructive ways. Five functions of performance analysis are of paramount importance to the coaching process. These are: 


- to provide immediate feedback to both coach and players.

- to identify areas that require improvement.

- to evaluate specific performance aspects, such as shooting attempts and scores,   rebounding, etc.;

- to act as a selection mechanism in assisting coaches and players.

- to compile long-term statistics for database development.


Joost Spierings has developed a statistical methodology for korfball.[5] These methods have been in use for many years at the highest levels in the competitions of the KNKV. Spierings’ statistics provide important insights into the long-term development of the general performance of top korfball in the Netherlands, while also providing insight into the weekly practice of coaching and the performance of the players involved. In reviewing a match, statistics are discussed together with video images.6 The use of statistics together with video images give insight into a player’s performance. Statistics are a quantitative analysis that works best together with a more qualitative analysis: they should be seen as complementary. It would be a mistake to look at statistics without considering biomechanics and psychology, as in isolation numbers are subject to bias. A team performance is so much more than can be captured in numbers.

[1] Read: The Art of Korfball Coaching, 2022 e-book

2 Read: The IKF Guide to Korfball Coaching, chapter 3

[2] Read: The Art of Korfball Coaching, 2022 e-book, Chapter 4

[3] Read: The IKF Guide to Korfball Coaching; 2012,  3.1 Distance shot or long shot

[4] Read: The Art of Korfball Coaching, 2022 e-book,  pages 25 – 30

[5] See: The Art of Korfball Coaching 2022, e-book, pages 91 -93

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