Sunday, January 13, 2013

no 4 from jyvaskyla on winning

Happee from Finland is not only one of the world's best Floorball teams - they also understand that marketing of what we love is 100% right and fully crucial.
Floorballcentral has been granted the kind permission to re-post one of their top players opinions upon some aspects related to winning and Floorball. The opinions in this post represents not always the views of Floorballcentral. But we do embrace the discussion of important matters and this is.....important!

In the latest Hirvimettä blog entry Happee’s no.4 Jaska Kunelius is looking for an answer to the question “Who is allowed to compete?”. The topic of competitiveness is nowadays widely discussed in the Finnish society and to a large extent it provokes negative associations. Despite the poor results of many junior sport teams in international tournaments, as well as weak seasons in many leagues, the fear of child exclusion, sport burnouts and general distress of children at school due to the competitive environment, is still present.

Kunelius refers to his pedagogical education and argues that there is a clear attempt for suppression of the competitive edge – the future teachers learn how to equalize the situation for all students by not counting goals, not deciding the winner, merging talented players in team games with the grey mass of average performance, without thinking about that, how substantial competition is for some sport disciplines or for how many sport-talented children the physical education classes might be the only way to experience success in school. And while competitiveness is prevented exactly in sport, where it is most natural and where the results are exact (goals, centimeters, seconds), through various talent-events it is promoted in other areas, where it’s not relevant and the definition of a successful outcome is a matter of taste (who cooked the best dish, who came up with the best rhymes, etc.).

The author gives an example for the prejudicial point of view, or how the situation might look like. It seems that culture and sport are constantly pulling the rope in opposite directions. Nowadays it seems that everything is allowed, as long as it’s justified well enough, so here is a possible explanation for society’s double standard towards competitiveness, even though it sounds like conspiracy theory: in sport competing is bad, because through it kids are being humiliated, it’s being shouted at them and it’s being looked for losers; cultural competitions are on the other hand good, because the competing children come from well-educated upper class families; team sports are for workers and yokels. It might be overreaction, but most probably it contains a seed of truth.

Back to a more objective position, Happee’s defender admits that the confrontation of culture and sport doesn’t benefit either one, since the starting point and motives of both areas are quite close. Once the prejudices of one or the other field are left behind, competition seems actually useful for both. While competing, one learns how to meet and handle losses, as well as victories. Competition in sport is not necessary snot-cheek screaming or pursuit of victory at the expense of individuals.

The same applies to the school system. It’s a popular public opinion that Finnish school system excludes children through competition. What many have forgotten is that an instinct for competing and desire to learn new things are parts of child’s natural development. In the hands of a skilled teacher a primary school class is thirsty for knowledge and wants to try, ask and succeed. Through failures, errors and slapstick it is possible to learn more. Responsibility, activeness and desire for experimenting a child cannot learn solely at the responsibility of the school, but also at home. In fact there is no need to learn the desire for competing or experimenting, it’s enough if it doesn’t get suppressed.

Allowing competition requires trust and leaving all the prejudices behind. It requires reducing of the extremes, public discussion and examples. It takes clubs’, decision-makers’ and sport-influencers’ work. Competition is needed and it works, when a parent is not afraid of the teacher putting too much pressure on students or highlighting too much the test results, teaching only one-sided truths or not involving students in shared learning. Competition is needed and it works, when a parent is not afraid of the coach repressing juniors during the trainings, using them only as pawns completely unaware of the individual encounter.

Happee tries to allow a fair competition. Our professional coaching chief Janne Kainulainen is responsible for ensuring that training and guidances given to the coaches of the club. There is a trust in teams competing seriously, but by healthy values and by the rules of the game. The same situation is certainly in countless other clubs. And best of all is that the personal development and competition is also in the hands of cultural experts. So let’s allow both children and adults to test their limits, to compete and pursue their own best.

Translation, interpretation and summarizing:
Rositsa Bliznakova
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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!