When considering how to foster growth in your position players, especially youth, the game of Floorball offers many nuances that may not exist in other sports. In a safe, practical playing surface, you can train players for these tactics without risk of major injury.
This framework goes into movements for defensive as well as offensive play. While players have specific positions those positions at many times can be fluid as the movement of the game plays out. The concept of positional play can be a difficult one to grasp for younger players and is an important skill to regularly introduce and build on.
What I’ve found when teaching younger players (ages 7-14) is that some will immediately grasp these concepts and can play in that framework. On the other side there are many players who do not immediately grasp these concepts. As a coach or instructor it’s important to continually encourage and direct your players in a manner that will not overly frustrate them. A frustrated player quickly loses interest and thus a desire to play. Sometime the struggle is purely developmental. Children in these ages are all developing at different paces and that needs to be recognized and addressed in a manner that meets them where they are at. We must not forget that everyone learns and processes information differently, and as an instructor we must remember to present information in different ways. Some of these tools include using verbal cues to describe what is needed. In other cases coaches may use a white board to map out the movement on the field. Other tools may be a physical demonstration walking players through the process. Many coaches use all of these tools and more to help teach their players.
In regards to positional play I try to frame the idea with something that all players can relate to. In this manner I treat the field of play as an airplane. Hopefully ever child has seen what an airplane looks like and can quickly visualize what I’m trying to convey. I break the airplane down using the field as a reference. In this manner I’m able to quickly introduce positional play to my students in a clear and concise manner. I will spend a few minutes on this topic and then we play. As the game progresses I will start and stop the game in order to address positions of offense and defense bring it back to the airplane. It is likely the first few weeks that the framework will fall apart, and it will take some time for many to fully comprehend this concept and patience must be practiced.
Remind yourself and your players that for many this is a new sport, and that you’re all learning together. Find any success and make sure to praise it. As your players progress you’ll see an overall better style of play come out in the end.