Floorball Stick Sizing

If there’s one question I get from people it’s usually around what stick they should buy. That question isn’t always an easy one to answer because everyone has preferences. As you begin to search for floorball sticks you’ll likely find any number of sticks with varying prices and functions.  Beginner sticks tend to fall in a price range of about $30-50 and tend to have more flex in the shaft.  This information can be found sometimes in the description of the stick (Salming 32, etc.).  On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find professional level sticks fall in a price range of $150-230.  What’s the difference and why would I spend that kind of money?  The main reason to purchase a professional level stick is that it does provide an increase in performance.  As you develop as a player you’ll begin to find what works for you and a professional level stick will help increase your skills and playing abilities.  A professional level stick will also have a variety of options from stick flex, type of grip, and coupled with the right style of blade can make a positive impact in your game.

If they happen to know a few things like their style of play it’s easier to direct them. However, a much easier question to answer is what size stick is best for you?In an instructional setting, it is important to take time to properly size the stick to the participant and ascertain whether the player is right-handed or left-handed.

When introducing this concept some players may already know how they hold the stick; if not, there are a few tricks to quickly assess this in a large group setting. The key is comfort for the player. They may assume they are right-handed, but they may be more comfortable playing left-handed. Have players grab the stick. If their right hand is closest to the end of the stick the stick will fall to the left side of the body, meaning they use a left-handed stick. Talk to the player and encourage them to find out what is most comfortable for them to play with. At the very lest have them try one and see what happens. Doing it this way can make it a bit more obvious which side they prefer.

Choosing a stick is an investment in the sport and you want to make sure you have the proper tools to be successful. A stick that’s too short or too long can hamper the learning process because you’re not able to maximize your play. You can get buy with a bit longer stick, but it’s much harder for taller players to play with shorter sticks. Be thinking about that as you plan out what you’re looking to buy. If you’re buying a stick for your kid err on the side of a little bit longer knowing they’ll likely hit a growth spurt in the relative future. It should be at their chin, but if it’s a bit above the belly it’ll work just fine. Go out and find that stick for you. If you’re looking for your first stick check out what we have to offer for individuals, schools, and programs in our online shop.

Navigating Equipment Choices

You’ve hopefully found out about Floorball through some form or another.  Hopefully you were able to get some hands on experience through a demo or some other form.  If not, it’s likely that you’re intrigued by the sport and want to know a bit more.  Doing a brief internet search you’ve likely come across a variety of companies selling Floorball equipment and you might be wondering what the differences are between sticks. Similar to other sporting equipment out there, Floorball equipment varies in quality, performance, and construction.  It’s hard to know what the right choice is for you, and even harder to make a choice if you’ve never actually held the stick in the first place. 

I’ve been in your same situation and I’ve been fortunate enough to try many sticks. As part of my platform I write unbiased equipment reviews on my site because I want to help people make educated decisions about their equipment.   If I think something is garbage I’ll make sure to state that, because I don’t want others to be frustrated with it.  It’s really frustrating shelling out money to only be disappointed with what you get, especially if you’re unable to get your hands on it first.

The Floorball Stick

Floorball sticks are comprised of fiberglass, carbon, or a mixture.  The characteristics of a Floorball stick will vary depending on their construction, but a lot of your final decision will depend on your playing style.  Increasingly, Floorball companies are developing and marketing equipment to meet your playing styles.  If you’re lucky enough to have a shop near you, or an opportunity to try multiple sticks I encourage you to do so.  Some things you’ll want to pay attention to is the flex of the shaft, and how the blade feels.  This can take a bit of time to recognize, but once you do you can start to more effectively hone in on the characteristics you’re looking for in your stick.

When I’m looking at a stick I’m looking for something that will complement my playing style, and give me the performance I need.  I’ve played with $40 sticks that I feel perform better than $80-100 sticks, and vice versa, so don’t solely make a decision based on price.  One of the unique characteristics to Floorball sticks is that they’re lightweight, but keep their shape during flex and allow you to increase performance.  When I grab a stick I’m evaluating its weight but that’s not my main priority.  I’m more interested in how the stick feels. I note the flex of the stick first and foremost.  Floorball flex is usually in the name of the stick and marked on the shaft as well. 

Stick Flex

For younger players and most beginners the ideal flex would be a 32-35. The purpose of flex is to create energy through the shaft of the stick that when released propels the ball forward quickly.  It’s not solely about strength, but finding a balance in the flex of the stick and the player.  For most this means that you’ll still be able to create flex out of the shaft to create energy effectively.  If your flex number decreases (i.e. 30,29,27 etc.) it will require more force to flex the stick, which creates more energy.  One thing to note is that depending on your playing style a stick with a flex rating at 27 may not be the right fit for you, whereas, a flex of 29 might be the right balance. Until you get your hands on it, knowing the difference is a challenge.

Blades

The other piece to the puzzle is the blade.  Blades are being constructed with a variety of characteristic.  In many cases sticks are already paired with an appropriate blade, though you can easily change the blade to suit what you’re looking for.  Blades are typically marked based on how hard or soft they are.  You should be able to find this information marked on the blade.  A hard blade is good for shooting, though harder to control fast passes.  A soft blade is great for passing and control, but you lose power during shots.  The characteristics of the blade come down to how it feels, which you won’t know until you try it. 

Conclusion

I would recommend when you purchase a blade to go ahead and purchase a different blade to test out.  You can always switch back and forth to find a pairing that works for you.   The more you play, the more you experience the better understanding you’ll have on the equipment that works for you. For more information about equipment choices check out podcast and written reviews.

 

Teach, Teach, and Teach!

Floorball is a great sport for any number of reasons.  Its ability to engage a large population in an inclusive way is why it continues to grow. If there’s one thing I’ve preached over and over again it’s that to grow the sport of Floorball we need to teach the sport.

I’ve had this conversation with many people over the years.  I feel there’s a rift between two groups of people.  The first believe that we need to develop tournaments and adult leagues in order to engage a new population and grow the sport. They believe that the focus should be on growing these events across the U.S. Currently these events are focused on adults, though there is a push to do more for youth.

The other, and I’m firmly in this category, believe that the focus to long-term growth is to teach the sport through informal and formal channels and build the base. It’s hard to grow anything long-term if you don’t have a stream of players coming up on the back end to feed leagues and tournaments. Classes also can be designed at lower costs to encourage local development and interest more players who may be displaced by other higher cost sports.

Both options are good and needed. I certainly think that those working to grow the game on both sides is important. However, I believe the main focus for development hinges on people teaching the sport.  We need teachers, coaches, and mentors to engage our younger population and give them opportunities to learn, grow, develop, and have fun exploring Floorball as a sport option in their lives.

I grew up playing everything imaginable.  My parents didn’t push us to do sports, but offered opportunities if we wanted to.  Growing up, most of the youth coaches were parents.  Clubs were reserved primarily for middle school and older.  While some parents were better at teaching the sport than others most seemed to do just fine.  Soccer for instance, wouldn’t be what it has become in the US without people willing to volunteer or be paid to teach. We desperately need that in Floorball.

I live that life. I’ve been fortunate to have had many opportunities to teach and to engage children and adults in teaching them Floorball.  I’ve done it at the very basic introductory level, and I’ve done it at the National Team level.  All of it is fun to me.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy, and takes a lot of time and work, but in the end it’s something I’m passionate about. It’s not about me, it’s about giving others the opportunities to find things they’re passionate about.

For the past three years I’ve taught Floorball with Lacey, WA Parks and Rec. It’s been a great thing for me to be active in my community, and share my passion with others.  My wife teaches in the local school district, and because of that our paths ultimately cross in interesting ways. Kids that go to her school end up taking one of my classes. We both get to know the parents and kids, but in different ways.  What we’ve found interesting is that the kids in my Floorball classes talk to her at school about me.  The parents talk to her and me about how much their child loves Floorball.   They tried everything, but their child didn’t find a fit or passion in other sport until they found Floorball.  To me, that’s what it’s all about.  It gives me continued energy to push, evolve and develop Floorball so that others can find that for themselves.  It may not be for Floorball, but if in taking a Floorball class it gives them the confidence to go and try other things it’s worth it.

I implore you, if you’re remotely interested in Floorball, or you already have a passion for the sport, teach.  Please teach and share your passion with others.  As much as I’d love to travel the country teaching it’s not possible.  No one person can do anything alone. We need as many people growing, building, volunteering, teaching, educating, and talking about Floorball to grow it.  If you’re not sure where to start that’s why I created Floorball Guru. To give people a place to find resources, learn from my successes, and failures.  If you need help, resources, or want help please reach out.

Art of Zorro In Floorball

You might be wondering to yourself, what is zorro? Zorro is a floorball unique floorball skill, which involves lifting the ball onto the blade that mimics the same movement of lacrosse.

The goal is to rotate the stick quick enough and at the right angle so the ball effectively sticks to the blade.  Zorro has also been referred to as airhooking or skyhooking.  Over time the art of zorro has evolved into a form of juggling, like that of soccer juggling.  Players have begun to push the boundaries of what can be done by adding their own personal flair.

While zorro moves are not new to the world of sports there are examples of this in hockey.  To me the clearest example comes from 1996 and the University of Michigan Hockey; Mike Legg scores a decisive goal lifting the puck onto his stick and scoring from behind the net.  As zorro has developed, more and more player has gravitated to the skill and fun involved in learning and trying to one up each other.  At the same time, social media has helped showcase players’ skill and creativity.

If you’re paying attention to floorball and the rules you’ll notice that many zorro moves being showcased on YouTube are beyond the rules of the game.  While during a match players may not touch the ball with their stick above the knee, zorro moves do have their place.  It takes a skilled player to effectively pull off a zorro move during competition, but when done right can be devastating to goalies.

Despite the positive qualities that zorro can provide on the offense there are some drawbacks to it during a match.  To complete a zorro move during a match a player will need to use a blade that is designed to cradle the ball.  The drawbacks to the blade is that it will affect other areas of the players’ game including shooting and passing.  Another drawback is the that being able to use the skill at speed during a match is very difficult, and can be used in limited scenarios.  Thus, most floorball players do not play with a zorro blade.

Zorro is a great skill to learn and its flashy characteristics bring a unique flair to floorball. Whether you choose to learn and the art of zorro for building skill in control and hand eye coordination; or you use it to enhance your game on the court the best part about it is it’s fun.  Get out there and learn what you can to get better.

Equipment Trends On The Market

Floorball equipment has evolved over time as companies have refined the manufacturing process.

It is important to know what you are purchasing, in order to ensure the best quality for your athletes or recreation program.

In recent years, there have been notable advancements in stick and blade construction using strong and more durable materials.  When looking at a floorball stick it is an engineering feet when you consider the forces placed on the shaft and blade.  The lightest stick in 2016 weighs in at a mere 177 grams through Fat Pipe Raw Concept 27.  As the sport and equipment evolved more has become available to the consumer.

If we look at sticks there are a number of variations to choose from introductory to professional.  On the retail market recreational players have the opportunities to play with the same sticks as the top players in the world.  Sticks also tend to change in color or layouts yearly in an attempt to meet market trends.  This gives more options for the consumer to choose their preferences in both color and functionality.  Currently there seems to be a few things happening with floorball brands.  On one hand most companies are pushing neon colored sticks on the market this year in some fashion.  This trend would fall in line with what’s happening in other sports like soccer where neon colors adorn jerseys, and shoes.  If a neon pink shaft and blade is your preference of color you can find that.  On the opposite side of the spectrum some companies are opting for a simplistic approach.  In this manner colors are basic all white sticks and blades, or all black.  One thing to take note is that blades and shafts are not necessarily compatible between brands, so beware that your Exel Blade may not fit a Salming shaft.

For the consumer there are a number of options available related to equipment from sticks, blades, grips, and accessories.  In the US there is a minimal amount of companies selling equipment, so depending on what you’re looking for you’ll be forced to go overseas. As the market continues to grow in the US more and more emphasis will naturally be focused to meet the demand.  In many cases with equipment it’s a matter of preferences for the consumer and as a whole there are a number of options available in the market.  The US is a primarily untapped market in the sport and as it catches on, and it will, more and more products will begin to flood the market.  As a result it is likely it will also influence in many ways how equipment and apparel is made and marketed in relation to the US and Europe.