When I first approach someone about Floorball the question always comes up. What’s the difference between floor (ball) hockey and Floorball? In its simplest terms I break it down by saying different equipment, and different rules. While there is clearly more to it, that’s a very simplified answer. When I instruct a new group, one topic I spend more time on, and one that is harder to teach is effective defense.
Effective defense is in and of itself an art form. It requires all parties to understand their role and position in their space while being acutely aware of who and what is around them. To further complicate matters defensive players must also recognize body language and other non-verbal cues in order to decipher what is coming at them. How a defender responds will vary depending on the situation and how one responds the first time may not work the next time. Knowledge and skill will come with experience, but it’s important to create situational challenges during practice to help simplify the defenders decision making skills. When I’m working with defenders I encourage them to regularly scan what’s around them. What I am trying to do is get my defenders to know where they are at all times, especially in relation to the goal. I will encourage them to find markers on the boards, or floor that can be quickly used to identify where they are in space without always needing to look. By doing so they have a better chance of being in the proper position.
Figure A. Figure B.
It’s a good idea to remind players that their role on the court will change and evolve. At times they’ll be a defender, and others they’ll be a forward. It just depends on the situation. If the group on the court is thinking in this manner as the defender moves out of position into an offensive role another player will see that they need to adjust to match the situation. In figure A, if the defender chooses to go for the ball they will need support from the center and forward on that side. If they’re playing to maintain a shape of a box then the player near the ball becomes the “free” player. If the ball is in the corner the defender closest to it will choose to pressure the ball or to seek a better position of defense. In this situation with the ball behind the end line the player with the ball has a low percentage of scoring. From here they will be looking to press the ball behind the goal, along the boards, or attack the goal with a pass or shot. Ultimately they goal of the offensive player in this position is to draw out the defender and slot the ball into the middle to a crashing forward. Statistically most goals are scored in an around the front of the goal box.
Get out there and start training, pushing, and learning to get better in all aspects of your game.