Let’s say you’re new and you’ve just found out about floorball.
You have a general understanding of the sport, rules, equipment, and now you’re ready to get involved.
If you’re fortunate you’re already in the process of purchasing equipment to get a program going. What now? When starting any new program, or event you’re going to need to create a culture that buys into what you’re doing. How do you that? What does that look like? You can have the greatest product in the world, but no one knows about it you’ll likely fall flat on your face. In order to make change in this way you need to be the initial driving force pushing for your new program to get out there. While some people may look at and brush it aside all it takes is one more person to join you and take up your cause. Now that you have support there is some sense of legitimacy to what you’re doing, and now that you have momentum it’s a matter of time before more and more people join you and things flourish.
I’ll use hockey as an example. Initially, and in many ways is still the case, hockey coaches and administrators in the US upon first glace look at floorball from one lens. This isn’t hockey, or it’s similar to ball hockey so why bother? I’d argue that in many cases from my experience this is a common occurrence for non-hockey people as well. However, all it takes is one person to see the value in floorball and how it is a useful tool for off-ice training, or engaging and attracting new players in a similar sport for it to take hold. All businesses, organization, and teams are looking to engage new members and grow their base. Without regular engagement and new blood in the system facilities, organizations, and team will struggle in the long term.
As a facility recreation program manager at a University I introduced floorball on campus. In the beginning I spent a lot of time promoting and educating students about floorball. I hosted events and did other giveaways to entice students to come out. I engaged them on a personal level and encouraged them to give this new sport a try. Once I was able to get a few students engaged in the sport it grew from there. Over time I became less the driving force behind it, and students had taken reins for themselves. With their involvement and ownership we have an intramural league as well as informal pick-up games that happen on a regular basis.
As with many new programs it will likely take time, and the development and growth of any program will vary based on a number of factors. Some areas will be able to take floorball and seamlessly integrate it into what they’re already doing. Others will see slower growth, but in the end I encourage anyone looking to grow a program to stick with it, and if you’re passionate about the sport and what it can do for kids and adults the growth will come.