Start a league or teach a class. Those are the two main options when you’re looking to start your new Floorball program. What do you choose?
On one hand starting a league can seem a bit more straight forward. For many you may be looking to add Floorball to your current sports programming for youth or adults. Depending on how you’re looking to structure your league you’re going to want to make sure you do the following.
Education – There is a misunderstanding that Floorball and floor hockey are the same thing. While they have some similarities, there are some important distinctions between them. Mainly, the equipment used, and the rules. Distinguishing between these two is crucial for players to understand and follow. You could play floor hockey with Floorball sticks, but that defeats the purpose. Floorball is a finesse sport and requires a different style of play, which is what makes it so much fun. Make sure to spend time leading up to your league starting to ensure players are properly educated.
When we run our league we tend to get a mix of players from those who’ve gone through our instructional program to newbies. To ensure everyone is on the same foot we treat the first week of games as a preseason and help ensure everyone knows the rules and understands the game play. This has helped to ensure that players play the game properly and have more fun in the process.
Officials – A league is only as good as the level of officials you have. It is highly recommended that you dedicate time to training and developing your officials. The learning curve is likely to be high, but it is important that you spend time focused in this area. Your league won’t survive if you don’t have good and consistent officials. In addition, make sure that you protect your officials. Historically players give the official a bad time and a culture that demeans the official will leave you with none available over time. Spend time developing officials to be students of the game. Give them support and guidance through each game and give them resources to learn and grow.
On the other side of the coin is instructional classes. The main benefit to this is developing a strong youth base. This gives kids the opportunity to learn and new sport, hone new skills in a safe environment. This is our focus in our programs and everything we do is built off of these programs. The goal is to create less of a practice, but opportunities for each player to learn and grow their skills at their own pace. Every kid has a ball and works on skills at their own pace. You’ll have some progress faster than others, but everyone is involved.
When starting something new this allows everyone to learn at their pace and build confidence. Once they’ve done that they’ll likely come back to continue to learn because they enjoy it. One feeds the other. Once you have a core group who are progressing then you can start to provide the next level of development through leagues, clinics, camps, and tournaments. This is what we’ve done with our programming and we’ve seen consistent turnout and growth over the years. Had we flipped the process to focus on league play it’s not likely we would have seen the same amount of success.
Everyone is different. There is no right answer only what works for you. Whatever you choose keep at it. Give it time, and ultimately things will align.