Steps to Building Floorball

From the beginning of my Floorball journey I’ve been focused on developing the sport through stages. For me the current progression of stages includes classes, leagues, and camps. Through this process I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Stage 1 – Classes

I think the foundational structure to the success of Floorball is to teach the sport. I’ve always promoted this as the most effective way to create long-term sustainable programming. Teaching the sport takes a lot of time and effort, and isn’t glamourous, but it is vital. Some of the challenges you may encounter include learning the sports ins and outs and turning it into a teachable format. A lot of this will vary depending on the audience. For young players new to the sport you may find that they lack developmental awareness related to using and moving with a stick. It’s important to spend time working on the very basic skills while providing challenges along the way to encourage growth and development. Sometimes I have been frustrated with students in this aspect because I want them to be further along in their development than they are. I regularly check myself and my expectations for my students and make sure that I’m recognizing where each student is and identify how to support them. 

Stage 2 – Leagues

From the beginning I had the goal of starting a Floorball league. For many getting into Floorball starting a league tends to be their first stage into the sport. When I look at my own goals and program development I preferred to push this stage later in the lifecycle. By developing a platform and customer base interested in Floorball I was ready to move on to stage 2. If you’re wondering about the timeline between the two stages, it was about two years from when I started teaching regular classes to when I launched my first league. The timeline isn’t necessarily important and will vary for each individual and program.

My goal for developing my league format was focused on youth between the ages of 7-14 and adults. I can tell you that for me the adults have been more challenging than the kids, but I’ve been working on that. More to come. I chose kids 7-14 because this tends to be a very active age group in sport development, specifically 7-11. This age group is typically when leagues are formed for many sports. After 11 I’ve noticed a big drop off, which I attribute to competing sports. One thing to think about for your league is that players may be familiar with the sport, or it may be their first time. As such you need to be prepared to help teach and educate players on basic rules and safety guidelines. I tend to use the first week as a preseason where I will teach this information as players play. I have found this to be an effect method to setting the stage for the rest of the league.

Stage 3 – Camps

Having spent the time to develop the previous two stages I felt it was time to develop camps. I focused camps around the same ages I did for classes and leagues. Everything I’ve been developing has a purpose. I’m not thinking short term but long term. While I could have started with camps the likelihood that they would succeed is rather small. One feeds the other. While I tend to pick up kids along the way there is a core group of kids and parents involved in the process. This builds a following to keep growing. The challenge is to ensure enough opportunities for kids to grow and be challenged. While many will tout the importance of their camp and how kids will develop, and that’s true, in reality, camps are basically daycare for many. Knowing that I build my camp to make sure that it’s more than drills and scrimmages. I try to make sure that kids are engaged throughout the whole program, which is not easy.

I’ve spent years developing this process in my area. It’s taken some time to get from point A to B. I encourage everyone looking to develop their own programs to really think the process through. The path I chose isn’t for everyone, but I do encourage you to follow it if you can, while thinking about the long term. Setting up a solid foundation will ensure long term growth and success. If you need assistance doing so I’d love to help you reach those goals.

Keys to Starting a Floorball Program

You’ve recently found Floorball in some fashion.  Maybe you heard about it from a friend, saw a video on youtube, or social media.  If you’re reading this you’ve found what I’m doing in regards to Floorball so welcome.  I’m hoping that in your quest for knowledge you’re starting to develop an interest or maybe fostering a passion for Floorball.  If you’re like me, when you saw Floorball you wondered about why you hadn’t heard about it before.  You may also be wondering how you get involved. These are great questions to ask, but will take you on a journey of discovery.  In the end what you do with this new found knowledge will depend on you.

Unfortunately for most you probably don’t have a developed Floorball program in your area.  If you’re a person of action that will likely fall on your shoulders.  You can try to approach other organizations hoping they’ll see what you see and start a program for you.  The likelihood of that is small, not out of the question, but not as easy a sell as you might think.  I’m not saying this to discourage, but to inform given the experiences and lessons I’ve learned through my own journey.  I hope you can learn from my mistakes and failures and successes.

I want to tell you the secret to success.  You may or may not want to hear it, and you may disagree with it, but in all honesty it’s a sure fire way to expand and grow Floorball in your local area.  The question is are you willing to act on it.  Are you ready?  The most effective way to grow Floorball everywhere is youth programming.  What I’m referring to is a multi-step process and will take time to implement.  First, you’ll need to invest in some equipment (say, $500 to start) that should get you enough sticks to start.  Second, you’ll want to connect with the local City Parks and Rec.  Offer your services as a 1099 employee to run a brand new program and that you’ll be the instructor.   At the same time you’ll want to negotiate the rate of pay.  Personally I’d avoid an hourly rate and work off a percentage split based on the user fee.  As your program grows you make more money as does the city.  They get to offer a brand new sport without having to do much of the work.   You can also leverage their marketing power to build your program.

When programming you’ll want to be mindful of marketing schedules.  Some cities offer a new guide every quarter, while others do biannually.  If you miss the deadline you miss out on the marketing impact.  Make sure to stay on top of that.  The nice part about a partnership like this is that you’re both vested in the program.  If it becomes a success the city will see that and may be able to help you with the next phase.  The next phase is leagues for youth and adults.  Use the classes to fuel the leagues, and over time you will have developed a sustainable program.

Here’s the tough part.  It’s going to take time.  It won’t happen overnight and you won’t likely see a lot of interest in the beginning.  From a class perspective parents and kids come back because the like the sport or activity, but they’ll for sure come back if they like the instructor.  Its hard work being an instructor, and it’s not always that much fun.  It’s way more fun to develop leagues because you get to play.  It’s less fun just teaching and not getting to play, so to a degree it’s a bit of a sacrifice.  If you want to see your program grow you’re going to have to put in the work and make the sacrifice.  In the end if done right you will see the reward of your efforts in the end.

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.