Introduction of any sport is easy, but the game of floorball causes more kids to remain active for longer than any other sport that I’ve be a part of.
Give a stick and a ball to just about any child regardless of age or skill and they’ll take off without any direction. The beauty for most kids is that they want to participate in sports like Floorball. The trick is effectively guiding them in learning the necessary skills to properly develop. Kids as young as 18months can pick up a stick and move the ball around. Through this development kids are learning any number of skills that will benefit them developmentally from depth perception, hand eye coordination, and gross motor skills.
I spend a lot of time working with beginners in the sport. Living in the Pacific Northwest hockey isn’t a regular sport being played by most kids. Normally the only time kids play hockey is through their school physical education program. In most cases it’s a 6 week program once a year at best. When I meet new players I spend more time focused on helping them become comfortable holding and maneuvering a stick and ball. Floorball is an adjustment. The sticks are light, as opposed to heavier hockey sticks, and the ball is very light. What we need to teach is a soft but controlled touch. This can be difficult when you have a group of 10-20 students all anxious to get playing, but it’s important to take the time to go through basic stickhandling drills. When I teach a class in this format I make sure they can see me and I demo the skill then ask them to follow. I’ll walk around giving feedback as necessary. The key is to continually encourage them and remind them of the skills. It’s very unlikely that they’ll take to it right away, but given time will develop. I’ve found as an instructor giving positive feedback and encouragement is beneficial for new players. Once we go through a few stickhandling drills I’ll move onto one or two more drills before scrimmaging.
I’ve been around youth sports as a whole for a number of years as a coach and a player. One thing I’ve noticed is that most practices tend to be too focused on the skills and little time promoting and encouraging play. Remember the group I’m talking about are between the ages of 10-14, and in most cases have never played before and need to hopefully develop a passion for the sport. One way to do that is to play. I will go through the basics for the rules and will use a stop start method as we scrimmage as a means to teach and reteach skills, rules, and tactics to the game. With one ball and 10 kids they’ll all likely run at it at the same time. It may drive the instructor crazy, but given time and proper instruction they’ll catch on. Far too often we don’t let the game just happen. As coaches we want to control or add tactics to the youth game when kids aren’t able to understand or comprehend what they mean. It’s our job to take a step back and remember our players are learning and we need to walk them through the process.