Don’t Forget the Officials

Developing players in floorball is important for many aspects.  The more people who can play the more teams and clubs that can be formed.  The more teams formed the more people involved in the sport.  As more teams and players enter the Floorball world the more influence the sport will have as a global sport.  However, for the growth of the sport to mature time and money must be spent finding, training, and developing quality officials.  Currently the US does not have a recognized official that has the experience and training to qualify for any major tournament through the International Floorball Federation.  This should come as no surprise because without established leagues there are little opportunities for officials to develop. There is some development happening, but it’s on a small scale and that in and of itself needs to change.

For groups that are just forming it will be very important to ensure that players are learning and playing the sport per the established rules.  While new groups may not have enough players for full games there are still opportunities to learn and grow.  We see this played out in other sports through a “call your own foul” understanding among players.  This forces players to better understand the rules and game play to make the correct calls in varying situations, which is important for officials to understand.

For many players just starting out one of the more difficult aspects of the game revolve around not being able to stick check or stick lift.  As a developing official, it is important to be able to recognize when this action is a foul, and can make the call accordingly.  Just because the defenders stick hits the offensive players stick doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a foul.  In its simplest form, a defensive player may not go through the offensive players stick to obtain the ball.  Above all else the way to continued development is continued training and development through experience on multiple levels.  The more experience officials can obtain and the more games they observe the better they will be at making the correct calls when they occur.

Those who observe and play Floorball can see how electric the sport is, and it’s easy to see the quality of play on the court.  However, unless the quality of officials is equal to that of the players it will not be a complete product.  I firmly believe that this development in officials will be what the growth of the sport ultimately hinges on.  Hopefully we’ll start seeing more and more people getting involved as officials.  Who knows, hopefully we’ll see an official represent the USA at a major tournament soon.   There’s a long way to go, but things are moving in the right direction.

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