Friday, December 16, 2011

How to get a strong national team in floorball


The headline is not correct, it could have been, how to make talent development, or why Swedish floorball is doing something brand new, regarding their way to organize youth in floorball.
The Swedish floorball federation presented their thoughts at an international conference, abouth the good sport for kids, and their new strategy/philosophy to development of floorball.
They were inspired by a guru in this area, the Hungarian born Canadian Istvan Balyi, whose Theory, many are inspired of.

But what is it, Balyi have inspired Swedish floorball to do. And why should the most winning and biggest floorball country change anything.?
Emil Person, who is head of the Swedish floorball national teams told the 500 participants at the conference, what they have done. You can see more here, though the material is mostly in Swedish.
http://www.innebandy.se/sv/SIBF-info/Utveckling/Spelarutveckling/Utvecklingsmodell/
The Swedish floorball federation introduces this materiel ahead of the Swedish finals.
New path
But what is quite interesting is that  Sweden are up for some very big changes in how they will organize their youth tournament and also their way of making talent development.
They see the development as steps. When Sweden beats other nations, (not Fin, Sui, Cze) they don’t win because of their playing systems. They win because they have so many players to choose from, so the level of the national team, means that they more or less could pick random from the 2 best divisions, and still win.
The Swedish development model
Level 6 – Players Key competence
Level 5 – Game System
Level 4 – The Floorball player
Level 3 – The athlete physique
Level 2 – People
Level 1 – The basis
The interesting thing about the model, is the recognition that lays behind.
Most trainers have their focus at level 5 and level 6, and believe that this it what makes victories.
The road to victory starts from the bottom
it’s elementary my dear Watson
Because if you have no game system, if you do not have the  players who have the competence to make good pasing, and if you neither have the physics to run in a full game, so forget about game systems.
But first and foremost, you as a coach, must learn to know your players, so you know what they stand for.
The wise coach
The message is that you must build up from scratch, not from the top as many coaches mistakenly do.
What about the foundation what does this mean?. Yes, it is your whole team or your club or if we’re talking national team, all players in the country.
It is clear that clubs with few players, they have a small foundation to build on, which does not mean, that they can not cope! But in the long run, a club / team will be vulnerable, the fewer players there are to build on.
Swedes win, we do not
Why Denmark always will lose to Sweden, the Swedes’ foundation is 130,000 players against Denmark’s 6,000. Sweden could choose among all the players from their top two divisions, and still have a team who will be top 4 in the world. 40% of all players in the world are from Sweden!
Therefore it is very exciting to see Sweden take the lead in this development.
Danish Conditions
Should we transfer this to Danish conditions, then the Danish coaches and clubleaders focus more on the bottom levels. The better the foundation, the better physics, the better technique, the greater chance there is to work with gameplays. But many coaches, falls into the trap, starting with the top (level 5-6), instead of building from the ground…
Winning matches
It is not  the Swedish game system that makes them beat Denmark, no the Swedes beats us because they are in better shape and have better technique. We don’t  see the Swedish game system when Denmark play Sweden.
This is just the way it is
This is not a criticism of the Danish players, nor the Danish clubs, but an inspiration to the danish clubs, it’s about to saddle on and not make the same mistake as Sweden.
For Sweden have fallen in the soccer trap, namely that the worst players already are sorted out at 9 years of age.
Heavy dropout
Sweden loses 75% of all floorballplayers before they become seniors, the same as happens in football.
The primary reason is trophy-hungry coaches and parents who do not leave room for the players, who are not good enough aged 8-12 years.
Who will be good?
What’s interesting is that studies show that it is in no way possible to say who will be good as seniors!
In Sweden, a researcher followed footballers born in the year 1984. As a 25 year old footbaler, he looked at who made it to be a professional and can live on the sport, and which path they have taken.
Half of all the professionals have been at a youth national team, they have had the best coaches, trained with the best etc.
Despite this, only half of those who were professionals have been at a youth national team. The other half, have never had the same opportunities, but still they made it to become professionals!
Think carefully
Therefore, there is good reason to think the way you organize your youth tournament!
The Swedes have done this and they’re going to do something that will hopefully be an example to follow. The interesting thing is that all the best players and top coaches support this! Yes, you do the right thing is the message.
New strategy
The goal for Sweden is to retain as many players as long as possible in the clubs!
It will give them a better foundation, and thus is the foundation stone laid to become even stronger.
But what is it Sweden are going to do with their tournament for youth?
They will work hard to have a youth tournament, where more equal teams meet, and it will not be age that decide. It’s still to be done, so if its works, we will have to see.
The swedes have also incorporated the rule, that in youth games, the ref blows the whistle every second min, in order to substitute the whole line up, this in order to get all players a chance to play, and not only the best!
Denmark
Transferring this on to Denmark, how would the tournament for youth be designed so that it retains most possible players for the longest time in your own club?
In Denmark you can only be danish champions at U19 and U17, this is quite good.
Making Danish champions for U15, U13, U11 etx, would be very wrong. Then you make the same mistake as in football, where winning the series becomes more important than developing all players and retaining them.
How to?
But how do the danish federation, arrange a tournament that keeps as many players as possible, and create as many matches to be played for the teams. Which rules must the be introduced, what structure should there be?
Discussion
I was lucky enough to sit beside just Istvan Balyi at the conference and we talked a lot about this. He welcomed what Sweden have made steps to do! As he said: It’s common sense.
He showed also what USA is setting up in ice hockey. They want to develop players themselves, therefore they started to use Istvan Balyis model. He has advised them, and in this video you can see a somewhat different view of hockey over there.
Next step
Finally, it will be interesting to see what the central board of the danish floorball federation, the tournament comitee and not least the clubs, to take up this issue.
A simple way is to create a closed facebook group where relevant people would be and here could discuss the matter, and come up with
an initiative on this. I would like to make up and contribute.
Finally, try to look at the players on the team you coach, see what time of the year they were born. In the world of football there are approximately 75% of all players born in the first 6 months. Are you a better player because you are born like this ? NO, it is the system and the coaches who are the problem. This is the football trap, you are a succes as a coach, if you can keep as many players as possible in your team/club, instead of the aim just to win matches, then you will loose players
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Caution

Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!