Ball control is the name of the game. And often, the difference between winning or losing a Floorball game.
It’s no secret that to win Floorball games you need to score more than you opponent. How that plays out in a game will vary, but a team that controls the flow of the game has a higher chance of winning in the end.
While the amount of ball control a team has doesn’t necessarily correlate to winning, unless the team is able to capitalize on quick counter attack. When evaluating most floorball games you’ll notice that a higher percentage of goals are score in the through a quick counter attack, or the ability to recover the ball in the attacking zone. This fast paced style of play is what makes floorball so exciting to play and watch. It also requires players to be more careful with the ball in the defensive zone, and places significant importance on the defenders to be able to control the ball accordingly. A team that is unable to control the ball through their defense into the attacking zone will have a difficult time creating scoring opportunities.
Each player on the court should at any time be able to control the ball under pressure and either escape through movement or through passing to avoid the opposing team. The skill of ball control takes time to develop and is one that all players from the beginning to advanced should routinely work to hone this skill. As a coach there are a number of drill and scenarios that can be done to encourage ball control for the offense and the ability to pressure the opposite team without fouling. The ability to effectively pressure the opposing team is a key component to a quick counter attack or a turnover in the offensive end. Again turnovers in these areas give teams a higher percentage of scoring opportunities.
There are many examples of this, but one that sticks out was the final match between the USA and Canada in the 2016 World Floorball Championships. It was a tight game played well by both teams with minimal scoring and scoring opportunities. In the end it came down to one play. With time winding down and Canada set up in the offensive zone the Canadian defense misplayed the ball at midcourt, which turned into a quick counter attack by the USA. Despite an unfortunate bounce for the Canadians resulted in the deciding goal for the USA. This is but one example of many on the importance of ball control through a match, and that very small missteps can turn into big goals for the other team.
If you can spend every day with a stick and a ball working and pushing yourself to be better and more comfortable stickhandling in various situations. When I instruct we spend every lesson starting with ball control and building from there using various situational drills. While players may not fully understand in the beginning the importance of this skill they will as they develop.