Defensive Strategies

When I first approach someone about Floorball the question always comes up.  What’s the difference between floor (ball) hockey and Floorball?  In its simplest terms I break it down by saying different equipment, and different rules.  While there is clearly more to it, that’s a very simplified answer.  When I instruct a new group, one topic I spend more time on, and one that is harder to teach is effective defense.

Effective defense is in and of itself an art form.   It requires all parties to understand their role and position in their space while being acutely aware of who and what is around them.   To further complicate matters defensive players must also recognize body language and other non-verbal cues in order to decipher what is coming at them.  How a defender responds will vary depending on the situation and how one responds the first time may not work the next time.  Knowledge and skill will come with experience, but it’s important to create situational challenges during practice to help simplify the defenders decision making skills.   When I’m working with defenders I encourage them to regularly scan what’s around them.  What I am trying to do is get my defenders to know where they are at all times, especially in relation to the goal.  I will encourage them to find markers on the boards, or floor that can be quickly used to identify where they are in space without always needing to look.  By doing so they have a better chance of being in the proper position.

                             Figure A.                                                                                   Figure B.

 

It’s a good idea to remind players that their role on the court will change and evolve.  At times they’ll be a defender, and others they’ll be a forward.  It just depends on the situation.  If the group on the court is thinking in this manner as the defender moves out of position into an offensive role another player will see that they need to adjust to match the situation.  In figure A, if the defender chooses to go for the ball they will need support from the center and forward on that side.  If they’re playing to maintain a shape of a box then the player near the ball becomes the “free” player.  If the ball is in the corner the defender closest to it will choose to pressure the ball or to seek a better position of defense.   In this situation with the ball behind the end line the player with the ball has a low percentage of scoring.  From here they will be looking to press the ball behind the goal, along the boards, or attack the goal with a pass or shot.  Ultimately they goal of the offensive player in this position is to draw out the defender and slot the ball into the middle to a crashing forward.   Statistically most goals are scored in an around the front of the goal box.

Get out there and start training, pushing, and learning to get better in all aspects of your game.

Alternative Training

Training for many is a mixture of love and hate. Floorball has shown improvement with athlete training, because it differentiates how modern athletes build up their skills with a cardio-vascular exercise.

There are always aspects to training that people enjoy and don’t care for.  While it’s important to focus on stick handling techniques, the work done away from the court is just as important.  It’s easy to forget the less glamorous or fun aspects related to training.  However, these exercises and activities are a vital component to the overall development of players.  Adding alternative training methods such as barre fitness and yoga will help players develop smaller muscles that will help them with strength and stabilization throughout their body.

Yoga is a well-known training method across the fitness world.  When done properly yoga can help improve your overall performance including power and endurance.  Yoga has a variety of styles which can focus on relaxation and meditation to strength and flexibility.  Improved flexibility is beneficial for all athletes by helping to restore the body to its natural state.  A body that is working correctly will allow players to perform and feel better while helping to lower potential injury.  The goal in regards to the body is to improve overall mechanics and movement.  The use of yoga as part of a training regimen will allow players to be more efficient and effective in their movements.

Another training method to consider is barre fitness.  You may be wondering what barre fitness is?  As the word implies barre does refer to the use a ballet barre as part of the program.  Barre fitness classes are ballet-inspired utilizing a mix of ballet barre routines, Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training.  You won’t be doing dynamic moves and running around, but a mix of stationary exercises that are focused on activating and developing the smaller stabilizing muscles, specifically in the core.  While this training is beneficial for field players, it is particularly valuable for goalie training.

While lifting weights and cardio are all important aspects of a training regimen and will help in the overall physical preparation for competition it’s important to mix things up.  Using alternative training methods players will increase all aspects of their athletic performance, while helping to minimize potential injury through training.  While it’s important to be training don’t forget to add in rest days.  Rest days are an important aspect in any training plan, and should not be skipped.  However you choose to train be open to new techniques and methods because they can add value to your training program.