Connecting Floorball with Community

Floorball has been a blessing in my life. I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to travel the world playing and coaching. I’ve worked with groups of all ages and abilities with a focus on growing the game. Being able to work in the field of recreation, sports, athletics, education has truly opened my eyes to the impacts sports has on one’s life. This matters even more for young children who are trying to find their way in the world. Sports can have an impact that goes far beyond the court or field. In the end it’s about developing community and a place to feel welcome and connected.

Working in collegiate recreation I always looked for opportunities to connect students with the broader community. It’s too easy to silo ourselves in what we know or what is comfortable. My job is to develop spaces, programs, and opportunities for students to connect and let them do so. Sometimes that role is more obvious than others. Everything I do I try to think about what impact it would bring and how it might connect people together. A recreation center can be a cog to that process, and it is my focus to create a welcome and inclusive space for all. That challenge requires a willingness to think outside the box to provide programs and opportunities to attract new people to the building.  Sometimes that means adding a new group fitness program or adjusting what and when classes are offered. Other times it means offering new and different sports.  That’s where Floorball came in.

I have actively used Floorball to not only provide a new sport, but to attract new students that are not already engaged in the department. For the most part I would argue that the process has worked. It has taken some time to build, but in the end my goal from the first demo was that students would act of their own accord. After four years, I have students that are continuously engaged in playing the sport, active in seeking out opportunities, and are creating their own community as a result. What I’ve enjoyed in the process is empowering students to find their own path. If that happened to include Floorball great! Without the broader collegiate community working with me it wouldn’t have been successful.

While I’m working with students on campus throughout the year, I’m also able to connect with our international population too. I routinely get opportunities to work with new groups that come from all over the world. What I’ve found from the international students is that they recognize why they’re there and use any opportunity to experience and try new things. This willingness and having a captivated audience has given me some wonderful opportunities to connect with these students. I am hopeful because of being introduced to Floorball they might seeking it out back home, thus expanding the overall Floorball community.

The focus to build community matters. In order to build anything new it is vital to create a sense of community. Once you do that you need to create consistency. Those two factors will help grow whatever you’re trying to build.

Youth Programming

To grow the sport of floorball there must be a continued focus on various factors.

The first step is educating people about the sport and the benefits that is has for them.  In the US kids are already being taught floor hockey through physical education.  This is usually done in smaller lessons over a short period.  Students are taught basic skills and rules of the game.   Growing up this was always my favorite P.E. activity, yet the equipment was always lacking.  Over the last year I’ve spent a more concerted effort educating P.E. teachers about floorball and why it is better suited to teach and play than floor hockey.  Unfortunately, it takes a lot of time, energy, and resources to inform and educate people and get them involved.  The second step will be focused on developing a youth system.

The great thing about kids is that they tend to be open to new experiences.  If you throw in a stick and a ball it doesn’t take much to get them involved.  In my experience when I’ve introduced floorball to kids they’re normally very excited to get their hands on the equipment and start playing.  To develop players, we need to get them in front of the sport.  One way to do that will be to offer classes within school, and through outside instruction.  While some areas may be able to jump right into building teams and competing the majority will not be able to readily do so.  It will be important to teach the proper rules and game play to ensure that players are learning and playing the sport in accordance with the International Floorball Federation.  This will help in the long term as more players begin to compete in organized events and international tournaments.

As the saying goes, kids are the future, and with them the sport of floorball will grow dramatically.  Floorball provides options for kids and parents looking for more opportunities to learn, develop, and get involved in sports.  There are several challenges need to be overcome to build the sport.  For many learning about the sport they may feel apprehensive in learning and starting a new sport they may know little to nothing about.  In doing some research there are a few programs out there available to help along the way.  In some cases, there are floorball curriculums that have been developed for this specific purpose.  The beauty of sport is that you can be creative, and you can draw on a wealth of knowledge from those around you to make this happen.  This is one of main reasons I started writing these blogs and started Floorball Guru.  I want to use my knowledge and expertise to work with other like-minded people who see the value in floorball that I do.   If you’re interested in getting started please reach out to me and let’s create partnerships to grow the sport.