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.

New Year, More Floorball

2019 is upon us. Welcome to the New Year! 2018 saw a lot of great things happen, and we’re excited for what 2019 has in store. 2018 saw a lot of that from traveling the US speaking at conferences, coaching the US at the U19 Women’s World Floorball Championships in Switzerland, various classes,clinics, and leagues formed over the year. The highlight of the year being the Men’s World Floorball Championships, which saw a record attendance for the event, and record attendance (16,276) for the final between Finland and Sweden.

There is a lot to look forward to as we head into 2019. The Women’s qualifiers and championships happen this year along with the U19 Men’s tournament, and a continued ramp up to the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, AL. Floorball has seen recognition with a variety of organizations and events as the link between hockey and floorball continues to grow. It’s an exciting time for the sport of Floorball and 2019 is lining up to be another great year full of surprises.

At Floorball Guru we continue to work hard raising awareness, developing new and unique content, teaching, instructing, and starting new programs. The highlight for us in 2018 was the completion and publication of our book The Floorball Guru Primer which is a great resource to help anyone learn about Floorball, but more importantly how to teach Floorball. This was part of our focus to provide more opportunities for everyone to learn the sport, and have something tangible. There’s a lot of content inside to help grow the game, and we’ve been excited to hear about how it’s being used. During the fall of 2018 we were afforded opportunities to speak and engage at a number of conferences throughout Washington State and Arizona. Leading into 2019 we’ve been invited to a number of conferences to speak about Floorball, most notably the SHAPE America National conference in Tampa, FL. We’re excited about the opportunity to run a train the trainer event for physical education professionals through this event. Hopefully it will be the start of Floorball being taught in schools throughout the US.

A year and a half ago we launched Floorball Guru. In a short amount of time we’ve been blessed to have made an impact on our local community and in the communities around the country. In our own area we started youth instructional classes and a 3v3 youth/adult league that are both growing. What we’ve been creating can be replicated just about anywhere and we hope to be an example for others to start programs. We’re a huge proponent of getting active, and if you’ve been thinking about starting a Floorball program now is the time. If you need support or help we will do what we can. While getting Floorball into schools has value we believe that true growth happens through individuals willing to put in the work to teach, form clubs, form groups and opportunities to play. For everyone reading this we thank you for following along on this journey. We hope that the content we’ve created and continue to create brings you value.  This is only the beginning.  

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.