Importance of focusing on youth development

I’ve tried really hard to consistently evaluate Floorball and where I think it’s going in order to best prepare, plan, and make the right moves to push it forward. It’s funny when this process happens at times because I don’t usually just sit down and think about it. It’ll come up as I’m doing something else, or if I have time to let my mind wander. Working in and around sports for the majority of my life has helped shape my view on some of this stuff. While many are trying to figure out how to grow the sport, I think the best answers are usually the simplest ones. It should come as a surprise, but for some reason this answer is difficult for some to grasp. I believe if you truly want to grow Floorball you have to develop it at the youth levels.

Simple right? Makes sense when you think about it, but then why isn’t more emphasis placed on it? Some will immediately jump to putting the burden on schools and having them running it in P.E. class. We’ve been seeing a number of NHL teams jump into Floorball and offer it in a variety of ways. Don’t get me wrong this is great to see, but what we’re not seeing in return are clubs or organizations created and developing Floorball programs to push things along as well. That’s a potential problem.

One of the things I believe is key to success and is something missing are businesses popping up to teach the sport, start leagues, and grow the game from that standpoint. The business models are already out there from other sports the question is who is willing to put in the work to do it? I venture there are a number of people out there willing to take advantage of the untapped opportunity, but many will just sit on the sidelines and see what happens. They will be happy to talk about how the sport should be here or there, but not as willing to put in the work to make it happen. That’s one of the things that’s more frustrating to me and is a lost opportunity. I think we’ll see pockets of things happening, and eventually it’s going to catch on.

Like other sports and the clearly lucrative youth sports segment I’m amazed that more people are trying to tap into this purely from an economic standpoint. I’m not even talking about the retail potential, which will eventually become crowded, I’m talking about people being able to somewhat corner a market in their area or region if they so choose. Soccer is a great example of this. In the early years you saw maybe a small handful of businesses teaching soccer classes, but mostly camps. Now it seems like everyone is doing some sort of soccer camp or program. Floorball could become that, and I believe that through the youth focus it will. Just watch in time, you’ll start to see more and more things pop up regarding Floorball. The question is are you going to be part of it, or the one playing catch up when, not if, they take hold?

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