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.

Understand Benefits Of The Game

Focus is a primary driver for any athlete. It creates a beneficial structure that allows enhanced muscle memory to take over during play.

The game of floorball has revolutionized the ability for athletes to focus. Beyond the stick itself is a game of strategy. While floorball is usually compared to hockey, athletes in basketball, baseball and football have all see their focus enhanced through playing floorball.

When you take away the ice in hockey, you allow players to assess pinpoint focus as well as build their overall stick handling, teamwork and movement in a level playing field. This creates communication between teammates, allowing for more control in a player environment which reduces injuries. Creativity in floorball play fosters athletic enhancement in their own sport, as the adaptation crosses back and forth within the lines of communication.

In taking this a step further I’ve begun to engage collegiate athletes playing sports such as volleyball, basketball, and track and field.

During the pre-season for basketball the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams for Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA reached out to me looking to change up their workout routine.  From that I was able to come in and run a 2 hour session for the athletes.  While the focus was to educate them about the sport the foremost goal was team bonding.  However, don’t let the “fun” atmosphere distract you from the fact that I made them work.  Floorball on its own is a very good workout, which was appealing to the coaches, and I made sure to mix in the fun too.

I worked with both teams and designed a short program that would fit their needs.  For the guys the focus was on the scrimmages.  I had already done an introductory program with them in the past so we focused on game play.  They wanted to add goalies so we used 4×6 nets with goalies wearing masks, but they wanted to keep their stick.  While it wasn’t the traditional goalie look they loved it.  Because they’re collegiate athletes it doesn’t take long for the competitive drive to kick in.

For the Women I had a little more time to work with them.  After the basic rules talk I played a few stick handling games as a warm up and then we got right to scrimmaging.  The guys’ format for scrimmaging was changing out after every goal in sort of a king of court format.  The women were broken into three teams and played 5 min matches.  We played for over an hour rotating on that format.  Needless to say they were very tired, but most seemed to prefer this exercise to their traditional exercise program.

Between the two teams maybe one of these athletes had ever heard of or touched a Floorball stick, and that one athlete came from Sweden.  What stuck out to me was seeing highly skilled and competitive players step out of their comfort zone and have fun together.  The program met the coaches’ goals of building “esprit de corps” while ensuring a high level of fitness.  It is likely that as a result of this program that I’ll continue to work with these teams in in the future.

Avoid Ego To Build The Game

Anger only wins when you feed it. Competition is fostered through the belief of winning together. Floorball is a sport that is still growing, and needs active participation from every coach out there to consistently improve and broaden the game.

However, since getting involved in floorball I’ve noticed a few things crop up that confuse me.

One of the main things that I’ve seen is a sense from some that they’re focused on competing with other clubs or states trying to plant the proverbial flag as the best in the country.

This notion doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially when there isn’t a whole lot to base that off of.  Making a statement that Idaho has the best floorball players in the country, and they’re the best state in the country for floorball is silly.  Not because they are or aren’t, but that fighting over a statement like that doesn’t matter.  If teams want to prove it on the court that would be the area to stake claim to those statement.  There are a variety of tournaments for floorball, but the number of teams and overall quality is somewhat lacking in development.  While there are established leagues throughout the country they are not the norm at this point.

If floorball is to gain acceptance and growth then the entire floorball community needs to get behind each other and support each other.  Current leagues and clubs that have been established should be more focused on supporting new and developing leagues and clubs.  Growth in the sport is beneficial to all and will help improve the number of players, quality of players, and the amount of competition at tournaments.  I believe that at some point we’ll likely see more tournaments spring up across the country, and it is inevitable that there will be one or two premier tournaments around the country.  However, the top tournaments in floorball will still be the World Floorball Championships, World Games, and hopefully the Olympics.

In order to develop the sport in the US we need to all band together use our resources to the benefit of all.  Arguing about which club or organization is better does nothing to further the cause and development of the sport.  If we all use our collective experiences we’ll be better off in the end.  If you want to prove you’re the best go to as many tournaments that you can and prove it on the court.  The biggest challenge with the US is how large it is.  Not everyone can afford to travel across the country to compete in tournaments on a regular basis.  It’s a challenge enough for every other sport to do that as it is.

As it is, there’s enough of a gap between people who’ve played to those who have never played that the emphasis should be on helping each other instead of tearing others down.  Complaining or arguing about who’s better isn’t the answer.  Dropping egos and working collectively to find solutions is what will help us move the needle forward in a positive direction.  Those are the people we need to get involved and help improve the sport in positive ways.  We can’t forget that we’re still new to the game and we have to have patience to learn not only how to play, but how to play the game properly.  Be part of the solution and not the problem.

Discover The Game Within

Let’s say you’re new and you’ve just found out about floorball.

You have a general understanding of the sport, rules, equipment, and now you’re ready to get involved.

If you’re fortunate you’re already in the process of purchasing equipment to get a program going.  What now?  When starting any new program, or event you’re going to need to create a culture that buys into what you’re doing.  How do you that?  What does that look like?  You can have the greatest product in the world, but no one knows about it you’ll likely fall flat on your face.  In order to make change in this way you need to be the initial driving force pushing for your new program to get out there.  While some people may look at and brush it aside all it takes is one more person to join you and take up your cause.  Now that you have support there is some sense of legitimacy to what you’re doing, and now that you have momentum it’s a matter of time before more and more people join you and things flourish.

I’ll use hockey as an example.  Initially, and in many ways is still the case, hockey coaches and administrators in the US upon first glace look at floorball from one lens.  This isn’t hockey, or it’s similar to ball hockey so why bother?  I’d argue that in many cases from my experience this is a common occurrence for non-hockey people as well.  However, all it takes is one person to see the value in floorball and how it is a useful tool for off-ice training, or engaging and attracting new players in a similar sport for it to take hold.  All businesses, organization, and teams are looking to engage new members and grow their base.  Without regular engagement and new blood in the system facilities, organizations, and team will struggle in the long term.

As a facility recreation program manager at a University I introduced floorball on campus.  In the beginning I spent a lot of time promoting and educating students about floorball.  I hosted events and did other giveaways to entice students to come out.  I engaged them on a personal level and encouraged them to give this new sport a try.  Once I was able to get a few students engaged in the sport it grew from there.  Over time I became less the driving force behind it, and students had taken reins for themselves.  With their involvement and ownership we have an intramural league as well as informal pick-up games that happen on a regular basis.

As with many new programs it will likely take time, and the development and growth of any program will vary based on a number of factors.  Some areas will be able to take floorball and seamlessly integrate it into what they’re already doing.  Others will see slower growth, but in the end I encourage anyone looking to grow a program to stick with it, and if you’re passionate about the sport and what it can do for kids and adults the growth will come.

Defensive Tactics in Floorball

(photo credit: Adam Troy)

Understanding the tactics of defense in Floorball can open up the game to a broader audience. Floorball is a fast-paced, competitive sport, with many opportunities on the offensive side of the goal with quick counter attack measures.

However, unlike ice hockey, players in Floorball are not allowed to check their opponent. This creates a strategy differential in how defense is played in Floorball.

Defenders need to be aware of their stick, body position, offensive players and the flow of the attack coming at them.  It is important through the development of youth players that they understand some of these concepts related to defensive play in order to be successful.

Floorball’s rules of play prohibit stick checking, stick lifting, or contact with the stick prior to contact with the ball.   A defensive player may not go through the offensive players stick in order to obtain the ball.  Doing so results in a free hit, which is similar to a free kick in soccer.  However, based on these rules there are some strategic moves defensive players can make in order force a turn over.  A defensive player may pressure the ball and in doing may force the offensive player into a turnover without fouling.  This method can be effective at both ends of the court.  However, defenders must be mindful not to foul, especially in the defensive zone, which requires the defender to be aware of their body positioning to the ball and player.

Body positioning and awareness of the spacing on the court is important when defending.  When on the defense it is important for all players to understand these concepts.  The entire team must work in sync and understand their roles in the defense and know what to do as the offense moves the ball around.  In many cases the defense will form a box in the defensive area with each player responsible for a specific zone.  Each player should be communicating with each other as offensive players move the ball, but should equally be aware of offensive players’ movement without the ball.  This is important as most offensive plays are built on quick passing and movement into open space between the defensive box.

When teaching the concepts of defense to new or younger players it’s important to emphasize zones to start.  In many cases younger players that are playing defense want to hang back as play moves into the offensive zone.  It is best to encourage them to move forward to at least mid-court emphasizing the importance of keeping the ball in the offensive zone.  With regards to body positioning introducing the defensive tactics concept can be as simple as staying between the ball and your goal.  At the beginning this will be a challenge and there are a number of other drills that can be done to help teach defense, but it will take time and patience.  While everyone wants to score the goal spending time focusing on the importance of defense will help solidify the team aspect of the sport.