Life is full of lessons. You have your ups and your downs, and everything in between. Sometimes the lesson learned is obvious and sometimes it’s not. It’s important to make sure you’re paying attention because you never know what will come up. Here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years as I’ve gone through the process.
It’s not as easy as you think
I’ve started numerous programs of which I thought all of them would be successful. I’ve built things from nothing hoping they would take off, and some ideas did while others fell flat. Things that I thought would be hits failed and things I did out of just offering it but didn’t think anything would come from it succeeded. You have absolutely no idea what will work and what won’t. I honestly thought, as I know others have, that Floorball would take off. It has all of the ingredients to do so, but it’s still fighting against the grain.
In the very beginning I was a bit surprised at how difficult it was to get in front of people or talk to them on the phone about the sport. If they had a floor hockey program going, regardless of its success or not, there seemed to be little interest. On top of that getting people to play the sport at times has felt like pulling teeth. Adults for some reason don’t seem very interested in it, at least until they try it. That can take a lot of effort just to get to that point. Starting anything new takes time, effort, and patience. All of which you have to have in order to succeed.
There is no magic bullet
When people first find Floorball they’re usually pretty excited about it. It basically becomes euphoric in a sense. There’s this passion that comes with starting something new, but what happens if you found a new sport but there is nowhere to play? That passion usually fades because most people don’t want to put in the effort required to build something from nothing. When I first started programming floorball I went through this same process. I figured people would easily jump on board with this new sport and things would take off. I focused on my strengths and background and started teaching classes.
I think the key to the sport is getting kids early in the sport process. Everyone finds what they like and I think Floorball has its place. A typical class session has anywhere from 13-23 kids in it. I’ll do various sessions throughout the year. It was two years before I even thought about starting a league, and then camps. All of them have had ups and downs, but they’re mostly consistent numbers. My challenge right now is growing it beyond my capacity. Others around the country have started with leagues or camps and have had some success with it. You have to go with what you know and think about what will grow in the long-term versus the short term.
You can’t do it alone
There is only so much time in the day, and for many of us looking to start programs we’re probably holding down full-time employment, families, and other aspects of life. I’ve been fortunate to have a few people in my life who have helped me along the way. It’s never been easy, but it’s been crucial as I plan for the long-term. I can’t be everywhere at one time so I have to be able to teach and train others to do what I do. Hopefully they’ll do it better than me. That’s the goal. Build out enough people teaching and starting programs that over time it will catch on.