Floorball is a great sport for any number of reasons. Its ability to engage a large population in an inclusive way is why it continues to grow. If there’s one thing I’ve preached over and over again it’s that to grow the sport of Floorball we need to teach the sport.
I’ve had this conversation with many people over the years. I feel there’s a rift between two groups of people. The first believe that we need to develop tournaments and adult leagues in order to engage a new population and grow the sport. They believe that the focus should be on growing these events across the U.S. Currently these events are focused on adults, though there is a push to do more for youth.
The other, and I’m firmly in this category, believe that the focus to long-term growth is to teach the sport through informal and formal channels and build the base. It’s hard to grow anything long-term if you don’t have a stream of players coming up on the back end to feed leagues and tournaments. Classes also can be designed at lower costs to encourage local development and interest more players who may be displaced by other higher cost sports.
Both options are good and needed. I certainly think that those working to grow the game on both sides is important. However, I believe the main focus for development hinges on people teaching the sport. We need teachers, coaches, and mentors to engage our younger population and give them opportunities to learn, grow, develop, and have fun exploring Floorball as a sport option in their lives.
I grew up playing everything imaginable. My parents didn’t push us to do sports, but offered opportunities if we wanted to. Growing up, most of the youth coaches were parents. Clubs were reserved primarily for middle school and older. While some parents were better at teaching the sport than others most seemed to do just fine. Soccer for instance, wouldn’t be what it has become in the US without people willing to volunteer or be paid to teach. We desperately need that in Floorball.
I live that life. I’ve been fortunate to have had many opportunities to teach and to engage children and adults in teaching them Floorball. I’ve done it at the very basic introductory level, and I’ve done it at the National Team level. All of it is fun to me. Don’t get me wrong it’s not easy, and takes a lot of time and work, but in the end it’s something I’m passionate about. It’s not about me, it’s about giving others the opportunities to find things they’re passionate about.
For the past three years I’ve taught Floorball with Lacey, WA Parks and Rec. It’s been a great thing for me to be active in my community, and share my passion with others. My wife teaches in the local school district, and because of that our paths ultimately cross in interesting ways. Kids that go to her school end up taking one of my classes. We both get to know the parents and kids, but in different ways. What we’ve found interesting is that the kids in my Floorball classes talk to her at school about me. The parents talk to her and me about how much their child loves Floorball. They tried everything, but their child didn’t find a fit or passion in other sport until they found Floorball. To me, that’s what it’s all about. It gives me continued energy to push, evolve and develop Floorball so that others can find that for themselves. It may not be for Floorball, but if in taking a Floorball class it gives them the confidence to go and try other things it’s worth it.
I implore you, if you’re remotely interested in Floorball, or you already have a passion for the sport, teach. Please teach and share your passion with others. As much as I’d love to travel the country teaching it’s not possible. No one person can do anything alone. We need as many people growing, building, volunteering, teaching, educating, and talking about Floorball to grow it. If you’re not sure where to start that’s why I created Floorball Guru. To give people a place to find resources, learn from my successes, and failures. If you need help, resources, or want help please reach out.