Defensive Strategies

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.

Floorball Growth and Development in Detroit

Floorball is growing around the USA, and there are a number of programs and businesses that are working on the grassroots level to spread the word.  One such person is Patrick Jesue out of Detroit Michigan.  Patrick comes from a hockey background and has been working to develop Floorball in Detroit.  He recently traveled to Switzerland to coach in the U19 Women’s World Floorball Championships as part of the coaching staff for the USA Women’s U19 team.  Patrick currently works at the Brownstown Sports Center where he’s implemented Floorball into their facility programming, and started Detroit Floorball.

How did you get involved in Floorball?

PJ: In 2014 I went to Las Vegas for a USA Hockey Level 5 National Coaches Symposium. One of the ADM regional Managers, (Guy Gosslin) was walking around with a USA Hockey branded floorball stick. I inquired about it, and he told me it was floorball stick. I proceeded to ask a lot of questions, and he informed me while playing professional hockey in Skellefteå, Sweden they would play it for off ice. That it was very popular in Scandinavian countries and that it would benefit our hockey players tremendously because of the way the game was played. Ball possession, finding open floor to create space, ball protection, and stick skills. I was really intrigued because I enjoy watching the European style of hockey, and also being from Detroit it made me think how the ” Russian Five ” played. For 4 years now I have been enamored by the sport and want to do anything possible to see this take off in the United states. In the 2nd year of our Club we purchased 90 beginner sticks, and a set of Swerink boards to make sure we give an authentic feel to the game. I have been researching equipment, strategy, and also the skill development part of floorball to one day say that I have played a role in the grassroots of the game

What compelled you to start a Floorball program?

PJ: Initially, because I worked at an ice arena I saw it as a means to get young children interested in a sport that closely resembled hockey, it would give them an chance to enjoy playing and then I would give them an opportunity to try hockey for free with hopes of growing the largest learn to play program in the Metro Detroit area.

What makes Floorball appealing to kids and adults in your area?

PJ: With my original intentions being about the growth of hockey, I quickly learned that anyone who saw us playing wanted to give it a try.  A majority of the kids wanted more.  The outreach from players wanting to invite their non-hockey playing friends made me quickly realize that this was not hockey.  It gives many more children a chance to get to play at the fraction of the ice time and equipment costs.  We invited some of the hockey parents and also some of my close friends to play on our Sunday night floorball drop-ins and they quickly appreciated if from the fun aspect as well as great cardio exercise.  Most important was the comraderie  among one another.

What are some highlights so far from your Floorball program?

PJ: Since our inception last year the Detroit Floorball Club was averaging about a total of 45 players at Sunday night drop in. We also did Saturday mornings in the summer for a girls only floorball drop-in and had great interest with that. If I had to state my favorite part, it would be having all of the 8 and under kids out playing. They are the youngest ones and most impressionable. They loved playing throughout the summer.

What does the future hold for Floorball in your area?

PJ: In this short amount of time, we have seen the players become very interested in the sport. I have had many conversations with school gym teachers about implementing floorball instead of floor hockey. A big goal of mine is to spread the news about how fun, safe and what a great exercise activity it is for everyone. We hope to have some competitions in Detroit in the very near future.

What advice would you give to other individuals or businesses looking to start a Floorball program? 

PJ: If they are in it to make money or be an entrepreneur, they are getting into for the wrong reasons. The onus should be on the game itself and watching all players develop while enjoying themselves.   Now having the opportunity to see how the game functions in the other countries, we need to be patient and enjoy the ride.  We are in the infant stages, in what I feel is going to be something very big.  There will be frustration that comes with it, but the reward of seeing the players excitement will far out weigh that frustration.

 

Taking hold of the value

One of main aspects to Floorball Guru, if you haven’t noticed yet, is we’re focused on educating anyone and everyone about Floorball.  It’s a challenge to educate people and help them see what you see.  It’s a path laid with skepticism, failure, but in so many ways a positive path to learning and growth.  Floorball has a number of benefits that make it an applicable and enjoyable sport for all ages and abilities.  The hardest aspect to any new sport or venture is education.  If no one knows it exists it doesn’t do any good.  You could have the best product out there, but if people can’t find or know where to buy, and why to buy you’re missing out.  For Floorball this is part of the challenge, and there are many people out there working to change that though even that is a challenge in and of itself.

A little known fact about me is I have a twin brother who lives in Nashville, TN. Nashville is great city, and has a great fan base built for hockey, specifically the NHL’s Predators.  When I got involved in Floorball I initially thought of my brother and how much time we spent playing stick sports in the driveway.  We even pulled a hose out and froze half of our parent’s driveway with our older brother one winter.  Dad wasn’t super happy but it was fun either way.  As we spoke about Floorball and I got a stick in his hands he began to see opportunity with the sport.  He’s been active in trying to educate and get people aware of the sport, but it’s a challenge for him.

For starters no one around him has equipment.  I bought him sticks as a Christmas present, but he can only do so much with that. How can you sell a program if you don’t have equipment? You’re hoping that someone else sees the value and is willing to give it a shot, but that’s not the norm.  I’ve looked into community grants, corporate programs, but those have their own challenges.  At one point the International Floorball Federation had a grant available where clubs and organizations could apply for an amount of equipment to get them started.  I know a group in Utah that did this and it’s helped them grow in their ability to expose more kids to Floorball.  They’re doing quite well with the development there.  While not everyone has those same options it’s important to be active in seeing what’s out.  In the end it may require a bit of investment, or finding others to invest in your idea to get it done.

In business and life we’re presented with opportunities to engage.  In many cases we get to choose whether we engage with it or not.  Sometimes that can lead to positive things, while other times it’s negative.  For many the negative aspect is a fear of failure.  Failure to try, to put themselves out there and not have a positive outcome.  Like many of you I’ve had those experiences and continue to have those experiences.  It doesn’t stop me from trying, pushing and working to make a difference.  To see my vision of this sport and what it can become, and the benefits that it brings and will bring to so many.  While in many cases it’s difficult to make a financial investment it doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.  Go out and talk about your passions.  Find like minded people and surround yourself with them.  Above all else stay positive.  There’s nothing worse than being around someone who is negative.  I’m not talking about someone who’s cautious or someone challenging an idea.  I’m talking about someone who only sees the negative, doesn’t offer solutions to the problem, takes no responsibility, and isn’t invested in your idea.  You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.  Stay positive, have fun, work your tail off, and you never know where it will lead.

For those reading this what’s stopping you?  Money can be found, loaned, and invested.  If you’re a facility, what people and departments can you bring together to maximize available resources?  If you’re a hockey program, how can you use Floorball to increase overall participation and engagement to your brand?  Think outside the box, be creative, and don’t stop pushing forward. As soon as we get comfortable we stop evolving.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who when given the opportunity to try Floorball doesn’t see the value in it.  Usually it’s the people who have never tried it who immediately dismiss it.  Those people are always out there.  Don’t let that discourage you.  Keep at it, stay creative, and I fully believe that good things will come in the end.  Too often we want the immediate, but in reality you have to play the long game.  It will work out in the end.

Building your teaching style

Teaching anything takes more than knowledge of what you’re teaching.  It takes an understanding of who you’re working with and how they learn.  It also takes a willingness to never settle, and to constantly work on your craft.  As people become more aware of Floorball it’s been fun to see who reaches out.  I never know who is going to contact me with interest in getting involved in Floorball.  While I tend to set up demos for various groups and organizations in some case I’ll get someone to reach out to me.  I love to teach and while I’m not and educator I do spend a lot of time teaching or coaching a variety of topics from sports to business.  It’s something I’ve had to work on and build but the experiences I’ve learned along the way have helped me craft my own style.

If you’re reading this you’ll get the inside scoop on something that I think is really important.  If you want to be a good teacher, coach, administrator, etc.  Observe others in your field, profession, etc.  Watch what they do, critique how they present a topic, how they approach a room, a group of people and pull from that something you’re not doing that you see value in and starting doing it.  I call it stealing.  It pops up if you’re paying attention.  It could be a way someone frames a game, or skill, or just how they interact.  When I catch a moment like that I do a mental note and the next time I can I try it out for myself.  Needless to say it doesn’t always work, but at the very least I learn from it and can work to make changes the next time.  I love watching how someone instructs because you can quickly see the ones who know what they’re doing and if they’re effective or not.  You can also spot the ones who aren’t quite there.

I can tell you I didn’t learn much of this overnight.  In fact I spent a solid 5 years working, volunteering and coaching to develop this aspect of my life.  In doing so I have been fortunate to learn from many people who have helped shape my teaching style into what it is.  The fun part for me is that I know I’m not done, and hopefully never will be.  I’m constantly learning, growing and stealing strategies from others to change the way I think and see the world so I can more appropriately approach a situation as it arise and gain a positive outcome.

What’s surprised me over time is how applicable these skills have been outside of simply coaching or instructing.  I’ve used the strategies learned in business, personal life, and when engaging with him two boys.  As Floorball Guru continues to develop and grow I’m hopeful that I can continue to learn, grow, and have opportunities to help others develop their own style.

Preparation for U19 Women’s World Floorball Championships

2017-18 has been an interesting venture for Floorball Guru.  In the winter of 2017 I was announced as part of the coaching staff, along with Patrick Jesue out of Michigan, and Pekka Nuutila from Finland, and GM Anders Buvarp for the USA U19 Women’s Floorball Team.  The team had already qualified for the 8th World Floorball Championships in Switzerland.   Needless to say I was very excited for the opportunity.  A few years earlier I had the opportunity to play for the USA Men’s team in Riga, Latvia, which eventually helped push me to start Floorball Guru.  I can tell you that being a coach of anything is a challenge, but when you’re trying to find player and build a sport that’s not widely played in your country it’s a tall order.  While Floorball is growing and more people are getting involved it’s still built on a grassroots movement.  Compounding the challenge is a lack of female players playing the sport in the US specifically.

To build our team we relied on past players, but also seeking out new players and teaching them the sport.  While not an ideal situation the long term goal was to build a team while building a long term plan to attract new players.  Thankfully there are a number of wonderful and dedicated people around the country and internationally who have helped us along the way.  In the end we were able to put together a team that can compete with an eye to future.  I honestly think that we’re on the verge of some great things happening in the sport throughout North America.  I’m grateful to have the chance to volunteer my time and work with some amazing people, coaches, and players.

Finding players wasn’t the only challenge we faced.  With the current layout of the USA Floorball Association all players have to pay their way.  This isn’t uncommon for many amateur sports, but when the majority of your competitions are 3,000 miles away things get expensive fast.  Simple getting the team together to train, get equipment, apparel, hotels, food, fees, etc. It’s not cheap.  We have to rely a lot on the generosity of friends, family, and strangers who donate to the cause.  Back in November the U19 women’s staff made a concerted effort to find and attract corporate sponsors to help defray costs, but to also join us as we continue to build things in the US.  All of this together is what makes these experiences happen.

Leading up to the tournament the coaching staff spent a lot of time finalizing details, working on our marketing strategy, and built our fan base of supporters.  What I’ve found is that there are so many people around the world rooting for each other.  It’s been a neat experience to figure out how this all works when our staff and players are scattered across the State, and Internationally.  I couldn’t wait to get to the tournament and take it all in.  In the end it was an amazing experience and one that I am using to continue to grow Floorball in the US.  While we didn’t get the results we wanted I couldn’t have asked for a better group of players and staff to work with.  I feel that through this experience we are another step closer to our goals.

 

Building The Game

Floorball doesn’t have to have a specifically-built gym or court design. The beauty of the game is that it can be placed anywhere, and run with multiple games at the same time. In many communities there are a number of recreation facilities available to young athletes. This offers an opportunity for the game of the floorball exist.

They can range from private organization, YMCA’s, and parks and recreation.  One of the unifying aspect of those facilities is that they’re in a constant state of evolving to meet the needs of the consumer.  In addition they’re also constantly trying to attract new members and user groups in order to maximize their resources, and increase their bottom line.  In general, facilities that pigeon hole themselves into one area have a much more difficult time with this.  As a facility manager myself I thoroughly enjoy going to new facilities, and talking with other managers about how they operate.  It should be as no surprise that just about everyone is looking to maximize their space throughout the year.  Floorball is certainly a worth avenue to implement in facilities looking to attract or retain participants.

When I talk to people about floorball I get a number of responses.  Some of them are more dismissive of the sport as not being hockey, or too similar to floor hockey that they’re not interest.  Others feel it’s too physical, but they’re really more concerned about the sticks and players being hit.  Lastly, some people don’t feel comfortable starting a program that they don’t know much about.  It’s important to do an assessment for each program and understand how a floorball program could be implemented into their facility and current programs.  How much equipment is needed? What equipment can be used that’s already owned?  What about staff training?  These are valid questions to ask.

As a manager of a University recreation center I go through this process for every program I implement whether it’s an equipment purchase, wellness class, outdoor recreation trip, or intramural sport.  While there’s always programs that are an immediate hit, it can take some time for things to catch on.  A great way to gauge interest is doing a needs survey to find out what your customers or patrons want to see. If you’re a facility that doesn’t offer a stick sport inquire if people want or are interested in that.   If it’s a youth program, add it to your sports offering.  I’ve yet to meet a group of kids that didn’t at least engage in floorball when offered a stick.

There’s always a nature of risk involved when starting a new program from the monetary, and time invested to get something off the ground. The goal is to make calculated risks that will hopefully be beneficial in the end.  Find what works with your facility, and adapt it as needed to meet your space constraints.  As you evaluate the needs of your customers I hope you’ll consider floorball.

Floorball: New Sports Start-Up

Floorball is separating itself from other sports. It’s officially a young start-up amid traditional sports, but it is scaling quickly.

While there are lots of sports out there, you’ve recently stumbled upon floorball.  If you’re like me, you might be wondering where has this sport been all along?  While floor hockey has been a staple in elementary physical education classes throughout the North America it has not expanded beyond that world.  It’s pretty rare to see floor hockey leagues at your local community center.  Basically outside of school floor hockey hasn’t truly caught on as a staple sport for the masses.  Why is that?  People clearly seem to like hockey and variations of hockey, but floor hockey isn’t growing youth leagues and development programs.  In steps floorball, which by all accounts is growing and has developed into an engaging product that is now played throughout the world. Regardless of how you found floorball now that you’ve found it you’re excited to play.  If you’re like me your options may be very limited to non-existent.  When I started out I had one option to play, which required a one and a half hour drive each way.  In the long term that wasn’t a feasible option.  I also wanted to grow the sport and to do that I needed to step up and put in the effort to get things going.

Currently I’m the Director of Recreation at Saint Martin’s University and I saw clearly the need for floorball as an intramural sport.  However, students didn’t know what the sport was, and most were more interested in playing sports that they knew and felt comfortable with like basketball, soccer, and volleyball.  While those options may be the choice for the majority I know there is a population that doesn’t want to play traditional sports, or is just looking for something different.   To introduce the sport, I designed demo days for students to come out and learn the sport. I promoted them as another option for fitness and learning.  Needless to say it took some convincing and peer pressure to get the first group going.  Having the court set up in the gym with the equipment out drew initial interest, and as we got started we began to pull other students playing basketball in the gym to join us.  This informal atmosphere helped show how much fun floorball can be. Through this process I was able to build a core group of students who became engaged in floorball.  This aspect is a crucial part of the development in order to maintain and sustain long-term growth.  While I was doing the leg work to promote the sport once people started playing they naturally wanted to play out of their own interest.

Eventually we started an intramural league that has been sustained since, and as it has grown I’ve been able to to introduce more aspects of the game into the league.  In the beginning I wanted to get students playing so I focused on the basic rules and safety procedures.  Initially we played without goalies using smaller 2×4 foot goals.  The feedback from students was that they wanted to play with bigger goals so we moved to 6×4 foot soccer goals I had in the facility. To keep the ball in the goal I attached an old baseball net to the goals.  I could have purchased floorball goals, but I wanted to use what I already had in the facility.  It worked and the students loved it.  With the bigger goals we added goalies, which really meant giving a student a goalie helmet, but I encouraged them to wear heavier clothes and bring knee pads.  This changed the game again for the students and added a different component to the game. They loved it.

Another option I’ve done to grow the floorball in my area is to work with the local City Parks and Recreation department to teach youth floorball classes.  This has allowed me to introduce floorball to kids and parents.  Through this program I’ve been afforded the opportunity to educate and instill an interest and passion for the sport at the youth level.  In addition, I added time after class devoted to pick-up game for adults.  The focus of these programs is to help set the ground work for a youth and adult floorball league.  After a year of working with youth and adults in this fashion the demand and interest for a floorball league has been fostered.  So much so, that kids and parents in my classes began inquiring when a league would be formed.  You have to create the demand before you can move on to the next step.  In the fall of 2018 I will be starting the first floorball league in Washington State.  It’s taken time, but the relationship I’ve fostered with the local parks and rec and community will hopefully build a solid and successful league program for the future.

If you’re new to floorball and you’ve found a passion for it, you’re not alone.  To start anything will take time, energy, and patience.  If anything, you’ll spend a lot of time educating people about the sport, and how it’s not floor hockey.  As more and more players get involved you’ll be surprised at who will come out to play, and the new people you’ll meet.  While the floorball community is somewhat small there are a lot of people out there willing to help, and are rooting you on to grow the sport in your area.  The success for one is a success for all in the growth and development of floorball.  I encourage you to keep pushing forward.  You’ll make mistakes and things won’t go as planned, but it will work out in the end.  Always think the long term success over the short term, and the groundwork you’ve laid will flourish in time.

Why Floorball Matters

I’ve been fortunate to have had many opportunities to play, coach, instruct, and be involved in sports to some capacity in my life.  In that time I’ve seen the good and the bad related to sports.  However, there is no denying the incredible value sports can bring to our lives that transcend the field.  The skills, trials, lessons, struggles, and victories learned playing sports have helped prepare me for adult life both professionally, and personally.  It was through those experiences that I chose a career in athletics, specifically on the program development and management of recreational programs.

I’m above all else a sports fan.  While I have my favorites I can appreciate the nuances of most sports and the value that they bring.  When I came across Floorball I was instantly drawn to it.  What I saw initially is what many see.  A fast paced, electric team sport.  However, my lens as a recreation professional saw past the initial viewing into what it could become, specifically in the US.  What I saw was a program that combined multiple sports into one.  A sport that had appeal in the US from a hockey aspect, but from an all-around athletic aspect.  There is a lot of skill involved in Floorball, and while hockey players would initially have stick handling skills, basketball and football players would have a better understanding of the movement on the court.  Now you have a sport that could attract a wide audience.

If you look at youth sports you’re somewhat limited in what you can play.  Depending on your age you’re limited by what’s available.  Part of that is due to the development stages that kids are at this time in their life.  Part of it is due to a lack of sports available in a given area.  Ultimately part of it is due to lack of businesses and/or volunteers able to run and operate sports programs.  While I’m not going to get into that side of the issue, that’s for another day.  However, everyone has different skills and interests.  We’re all searching for a passion in life, or something to connect to that make us come alive.  It’s why we get involved in activities.  We want to find things that we enjoy doing.

As an instructor I’ve had many conversations with parents about their kids.  What I enjoy hearing is when a child expresses their joy related to an activity.  I’ve seen it happen in all sports I’ve been involved in.  It’s a big reason why I coach.  Floorball as an activity provides another options for kids to get excited about trying something new, learning, building, and growing.  For a parent to come up to me and say, “My son or daughter loves this.  They’ve played other sports, but just aren’t as excited about them. We’ve been looking for something like this.”  It’s those responses that have signaled to me that there is a place for Floorball.  I think that while it will compete with other sports, and will likely draw kids away from other sports in the end it provides opportunity.  I look at it this way.  If Floorball was a superior product to say Baseball, and kids flocked to Floorball at the demise of Baseball the market has spoken.  While Baseball has been around for 100 years is it still meeting the needs of the player?  What is it about Floorball that attracted players over Baseball?  In the end sports matter because they engage us like few other things do.

What’s holding Floorball back?

The market place is an interesting area to observe. There’s more than one facet of it that can change at any moment and for any number of reasons. As many professionals will attest it’s important to be aware of the current trends in the marketplace, but to also be on the lookout for changes that may be coming and prepare accordingly. Too often we can get stuck by being reactive rather than proactive. However, the challenge with that is sifting through the latest and greatest trends in the marketplace in order to find what will work for you. Each private business, organization, and program (etc.) will have varying needs and challenges. Outside of the US Floorball is a growing trend, which has been shown through increases in countries playing the sport as well as more overall awareness. If the sport is growing outside of North America, why isn’t it catching on in North America?

Between the US and Canada, Canada is further ahead in their development of Floorball. They have a number of well-established and growing leagues, but it still hasn’t gained mass popularity yet. From a culture with a proud heritage of hockey one would think Floorball is an obvious place for Floorball. While the sport is growing it still faces an uphill battle to differentiate and distinguish itself from hockey, or ball/street hockey. The US market is in a similar struggle as Floorball fights for space in the market between basketball, soccer, football, and volleyball.

I think one of the biggest problems that needs to be solved is related around available equipment. While Floorball can be played almost anywhere and on any surface, it still needs to prove that its worth. Without a board system Floorball loses some of its allure. Without a board system many that see Floorball equate it to floor hockey that is primarily played in primary school. The current problem is that boards are cost prohibitive. In order for leagues to form people want to play the sport as it is intended.

Another issue is getting people involved. The older people get the more set in their ways they are, and the less likely they are to try new things. With this in mind the focus needs to be centered on getting kids involved. That means running youth instructional programs, clinics, and getting kids to learn the basics and start finding that passion for the sport. Parents are constantly looking for things to keep their kids busy, but also to expose them to many areas that might spark a passion in their child. Floorball has a place to do that. Not everyone likes playing traditional sports, and in fact they’re looking for something new and different. Floorball is that sport, but it requires people in position of influence to explore how Floorball can bring a positive impact to their facilities, organizations, and programs. In implore you to give Floorball a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

Creating a Prospect & Development Floorball Program

Starting a new program or event is always an adventure.  While you may think you have this great idea, program, or product to provide it doesn’t really matter if you can’t attract people to it.  The internet provides a plethora of resources to help you spread the word, but in reality the more important aspect in the beginning is to utilize the network you currently have in place.  As you raise awareness your ability to extend your reach will increase accordingly.  At the same time it’s important to be ready for opportunities as they come, and be prepared to act.

I’m always looking for opportunities to grow Floorball and get it in front of groups that will see value.  Recently I was afforded an opportunity to work with USA Floorball to find and develop female players.  Given my proximity to the Pacific Northwest, and the network I’ve built from different jobs, and relationships, I set forth to program a prospect and development camp for adult and U19 Female players.

There were multiple challenges that needed to be overcome in order for this event to happen.  First and foremost Floorball hasn’t really caught on yet in the area.  My first call was to reach out to my contact at the Washington Wild Female Hockey Club, which is the largest Female Hockey Club in the area.  I had been in contact with them for some time already and were in the process of scheduling off-ice training for the club when this opportunity came up.  They were kind enough to help market the program to their players.  While the hockey route is the most obvious marketing strategy, I started to look for other potential advocates in my network who could help me.  While my focus was driving players to the event a long term focus was educating as many people about the sport.  If anything hopefully more people became aware the sport existed through this process.

Eventually the day came for the development and prospect camp.  As is the case for many events, I was a bit nervous.  I had been in correspondence with interested parties leading up to the event, and the metrics were showing it was getting in front of people.  However, I wasn’t really sure what the turnout would look like.  In the end we had two female players show up.  Needless to say I was a bit disappointed in the turnout, however, the two that did show up were very interested in the sport.  Through our conversations and goofing around with the sticks I feel they really enjoyed learning about Floorball.  From that experience alone I have two new ambassadors to the sport who will hopefully expand the reach and education of the sport.

I’ve done a lot of events for all sorts of activities, and it’s easy to focus on the low numbers and shrug it off as a failure.  I’ll admit I was a bit frustrated, but in the end I have to stop and stay positive.  Anything built on a grassroots movement takes time, education, and persistence.  As I move forward I’ll continue to keep pushing things forward.  Eventually over time I believe people will see the benefits of Floorball and want to get involved.  As you start your own programs I’m sure you’ve been through this same process.  Keep pushing, stay positive, and have fun.