What’s your vision for Floorball?

When I found Floorball something clicked. In reality I stumbled upon it by what some would call a chance encounter. I tend to believe that I was exactly where I needed to be. From that I’m working to continue to learn, and use my own skills and knowledge to make this a reality. There are a lot of people out there pushing the sport, and frankly that’s awesome!

The more people talking about the sport, and the benefits it brings the better. I don’t care who you are, if you’re talking about Floorball in a positive light and working to improve the game, and get people active I’m all for it. That’s the fun part about grassroots sports. You’re usually talking about a smaller community of like-minded people all, hopefully, working towards the same end.

That end may look different for each person, but that’s ok. We need all of it right now. In fact, the sport of Floorball needs you! We need you to see the larger vision of what the sport is and what it could be. That can be tough for some because we tend to want to see the fruition of our labor right away. Here’s the fun thing about Floorball, while it will take a decade to happen, it can and will happen. Think about that. How often do you get to be on the ground floor of starting something new? It seems pretty rare nowadays doesn’t it? It’s all possible with Floorball.

Where to begin?

Step 1: Investment

This step is a hurdle. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Starting anything new takes an investment. It will require you to invest time and money into this new venture with the likelihood of not seeing an immediate return. Like all investments you’re better off playing the long game. That’s the mindset you have to have. If you think you’re going to fly in with a new Floorball program and it’s going to take your community by storm you’re in for a rude awakening. I’m not saying it can’t happen, just not likely right out of the gate. Honestly, for you I hope it does take off, but for most I’d plan on a two year cycle.

Make a plan and you’ll be better prepared mentally for what’s ahead. There are creative ways to find money through grants and other sources, but for me I chose to teach. It was a way to explore my passion for the sport and share it with other. Through that process I launched Floorball Guru, which has required more investment along the way. I’ve started youth programs, camps, leagues, run events, demos, and routinely promote the sport in my way. That may not be your path. I encourage everyone to seek their own path.

What’s it going to cost? Costs will vary for a number of reasons. Every state is and location is different and requires different things. However, for most it’s doable. Between licensing, insurance, equipment, and other ancillaries you’re looking at an initial investment of around $1500 usd. That can fluctuate for each person, but I’d say that’s a decent starting point. If you’re looking to add Floorball to your current programming it would be less. The beauty of the sport is a stick and ball is all you need to get started.

Step 2: Development

Once you’ve figured out your path, or how you’re going to build your venture you’ll want to make sure you develop a timeline. I call it a method to the madness. Do you know what you want to get out of this venture? Do you know how you’re going to attain it?

For me, when I launched my Floorball classes I had a goal in two years to start running camps and leagues. I saw the challenge of starting something new on my own and the time it would take to promote and educate people in my area about Floorball. I’ll tell you that after two years I accomplished both goals. I will also tell you that in that time they were not what most people call a success. The only question you have to answer is what does success mean to you and focus on that.

However, I saw them as huge successes. I had achieved the goals I set out and was able to make positive impacts on the lives of kids in my area. That’s a win in my book. The more you do something the clearer the vision becomes, and that’s an important part of the process. You have to have a vision of where you are going. Over time you will continue to hone and develop that vision into clarity. It requires a consistent effort.

Step 3: End Game

I’m a big picture person. I’m able to see what’s happening now, but plan and see what I want for the future. I’m not touting myself, I’m just stating fact based on results. It’s not always an easy process and it’s rife with success and failure. I’ve seen both, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes along the way. However, I hold fast to the end game for me. I see the future of Floorball in my area, State, and Country and I’m excited for what’s happening and what’s to come. I would say my biggest focus is helping others get to where they’re going. If you’re in need of help please reach out as I’d love to help.

Adding Floorball to your Repertoire

If you’re like me, you probably enjoy playing multiple sports to suit your interests and needs. Growing up I played just about anything I could get my hands one. This became important in my personal development and if the topic itself has become more common place in media. Whether you’re an individual or an organization you should at the very least consider adding Floorball to your repertoire.

As an individual there are many benefits to playing or learning to play Floorball. The physical benefits of running are clear, which I enjoy because I need a reason to run. It’s one reason I enjoy sports so much. Cardio is an important component to our lives and Floorball focuses on both endurance and quick burst movements, which is important to develop in most sports. If you’ve chosen a preferred sport and are looking for something else to keep your physical skills in tune during the off-season Floorball is certainly one to look at.

By playing multiple sports players can not only take a break and recharge, but in the process; they’re working new muscles both physically and mentally. While many players focus on developing physically they may not realize how they’re developing mentally. Some call this development athletic IQ. An athlete with a higher IQ in this area can use that to their advantage in any number of scenarios. There lies the true benefit. The more situations a player is exposed to the better they will be able to read the field and hopefully make the proper decisions in the moment. This is a long-term skill, but the exposure of multiple sports and factors can help in this development.

While there are benefits to adding Floorball to an individuals’ repertoire, the same can be said of an organization. In today’s market many organizations are working to stay ahead of the curve. If they’re a pay to play organization the heat is always on to attract new customers while attaining current ones. This requires businesses of this nature the challenge of keeping up with current trends in the market, while trying to read what will increase business. There are many variables to account for, but if there is a building involved one of the key focuses is to maximize it’s use. For many areas everyone has the same old standards for sports. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I would argue that there is a market that is being missed. Will Floorball be the answer to all? No. However, I believe if given a proper chance with the correct training and education it will begin to take hold on a massive scale.

I’ve seen the beginnings of this first hand through my own programs. I’m not one to just talk, I’m actively working on these things myself. I’ve started classes, leagues, camps, and clinics along the way. I’ve seen a very clear market for this sport. For those looking for something a little different and a way to offer more options for customers within the space you already have, Floorball is certainly worth a look. I hope you will give it a chance, and if there is a way I can help you I would love to have the opportunity to do so.

Good things take time

Starting any new venture can be both exciting and nerve wrecking. If you’re stepping out and doing something new you’ve likely invested in that venture. That investment could usually come in the form of money, sweat equity, and an emotional investment in the process. It’s no small feat to make these investments, and in the beginning, there are visions of grandeur as we plot out the path of our new venture. While it’s great to have those visions the timeline that they may or may not come to fruition may vary. My path in Floorball has been no different.

I found Floorball a bit late in the game. However, having a background and experience in developing new programs, coaching, and being active helped me see a vision for Floorball. It’s been 6 years from that initial finding that I’m here today, and while the timeline hasn’t always worked out I’ve tried hard to show up and do the work. I’m convinced without a shadow of a doubt that Floorball has a bright future. While many see the future of the sport from a retail perspective, I see the potential from many different angles, and see it flourishing. The first step in the process is developing it at the youth levels.

Development in youth is a long and tedious process, one that is not for the faint of heart. In many ways it’s a sacrifice, but one that will pay dividends in the long run. The hard truth about any new venture is that usually it requires one person who puts in the effort pushing things along with the hope of getting more people on board. This process will get frustrating and it’s an easy trap that many people fall into. They think it’s going to be easy, or that it will catch on immediately. There are assumptions that people make but don’t do the work to follow up with it, or at the very least they don’t think outside the box.

For me, I saw the potential in Floorball through youth classes. I had a lot of experience developing youth sports and felt this was a great fit. I was right, and I’ll be the first person to argue that it’s the starting point. I reached out to my local parks and recreation department and developed a relationship. Through that partnership I started teaching. Three years later I’m still teaching regularly and making an impact in the sport and on the lives of kids in my city. From the instructional classes spawned a league, clinics, and camps. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, and in fact it took about two years of teaching classes before I did my first league and camp. Now people know what Floorball is and mark it on their calendar as something to look forward to each season.

While it’s nice to have a partnership, it doesn’t always work. Nothing wrong with that, and when I started my first league at the time the city wasn’t interested. It wasn’t that they didn’t support it, they just didn’t see it working out at that time. You’re going to run into this, but how are you going to react? My option was to push forward. I was able to get gym space for the league from the city, but I had to market it and run it on my own. I believed it would work because I had laid a foundation of teaching classes that I felt a league was the next step. I was right; and was able to start my first league in the fall of 2018. When I got the initial no, I could have given up. I could have pushed things back, or I could have pushed onward. I chose to push onward.

For those of you reading this I think the best advice I can give is to try. We’re too worried about failure and how that will make us look to those around us. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been there. However, I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. I regularly tell that to my own kids, and the kids I teach. Push yourself and if you fail along the way learn from it and keep trying. If you’re in the process of starting Floorball I’d love to help you along that way.

Importance of focusing on youth development

I’ve tried really hard to consistently evaluate Floorball and where I think it’s going in order to best prepare, plan, and make the right moves to push it forward. It’s funny when this process happens at times because I don’t usually just sit down and think about it. It’ll come up as I’m doing something else, or if I have time to let my mind wander. Working in and around sports for the majority of my life has helped shape my view on some of this stuff. While many are trying to figure out how to grow the sport, I think the best answers are usually the simplest ones. It should come as a surprise, but for some reason this answer is difficult for some to grasp. I believe if you truly want to grow Floorball you have to develop it at the youth levels.

Simple right? Makes sense when you think about it, but then why isn’t more emphasis placed on it? Some will immediately jump to putting the burden on schools and having them running it in P.E. class. We’ve been seeing a number of NHL teams jump into Floorball and offer it in a variety of ways. Don’t get me wrong this is great to see, but what we’re not seeing in return are clubs or organizations created and developing Floorball programs to push things along as well. That’s a potential problem.

One of the things I believe is key to success and is something missing are businesses popping up to teach the sport, start leagues, and grow the game from that standpoint. The business models are already out there from other sports the question is who is willing to put in the work to do it? I venture there are a number of people out there willing to take advantage of the untapped opportunity, but many will just sit on the sidelines and see what happens. They will be happy to talk about how the sport should be here or there, but not as willing to put in the work to make it happen. That’s one of the things that’s more frustrating to me and is a lost opportunity. I think we’ll see pockets of things happening, and eventually it’s going to catch on.

Like other sports and the clearly lucrative youth sports segment I’m amazed that more people are trying to tap into this purely from an economic standpoint. I’m not even talking about the retail potential, which will eventually become crowded, I’m talking about people being able to somewhat corner a market in their area or region if they so choose. Soccer is a great example of this. In the early years you saw maybe a small handful of businesses teaching soccer classes, but mostly camps. Now it seems like everyone is doing some sort of soccer camp or program. Floorball could become that, and I believe that through the youth focus it will. Just watch in time, you’ll start to see more and more things pop up regarding Floorball. The question is are you going to be part of it, or the one playing catch up when, not if, they take hold?

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.