Monday, March 24, 2014

Relation of Floorball to other sports

Hi again.

This time my post is focusing for the "hot" topic about the so-called relation of floorball to ice hockey. This has been quite an issue in the social media, when mostly Americans have done some advertising for the game in very strong hockey atmosphere.

Below you can see some tweets about the topic:

My personal replies to the matter have caused a need for further investigation about this issue. So here it is.

Statement 1: Floorball is not Ice Hockey without ice

Actually. It's not even near. Now calm down, I understand that for people just getting familiar with the game, it surely seems like that. I mean; sticks, 5 players per side, two goals, goalies with masks and the rink. Basically the same?

Well. Nope.

The differences are so large that even this blog is too limited for thorough investigation. But I'll consider on some small points that in my perspective are the most important differences between the game.

First of all, the physical game. Although floorball is rather physical game (checking is against the rules - in theory) it is much more clean in this matter than hockey. We have most of our brawls in the corners and in the situations where one player is trying to get the ball from other in open space.

The most uniting scenario in majority of these situations is that usually there's a little no no speed at all. The players don't run and bumb to each other, they mostly "wrestle" stationary while trying to get the ball. There are some situations similar to hockey tackles, but they happen in situations where the ball is not on the possession of either of the players.

Second, the offsides. As many already know, floorball field has only one "line" and that's the one in the middle. So there are no offsides, and this allows the game to be played constantly throughout the field. When you see still pictures from professional game, the player that is furthest from the ball, can be as far as near the goalie. All this without being outpositioned, but rather playing the tactical scheme of his/hers team.

Third one is the specification of playing positions. Well ok, this is quite a long shot. But anyhow, in my perspective, the floorball player is not as much limited to ones position as for example in ice hockey. When hockey player is a winger, he is a winger. Same goes with the defenders. Though we have players like Erik Karlsson in hockey, the main idea is still focused on the respective position of the player.

My personal thoughts here rely on the idea that player has to be able to produce at least decent results regardless for the position where one currently is. Our game in this season relied mostly for on-game rotation of players. So in many cases we found that the highest player was defender, where the bottom one was a winger. And this could be the situation in defensive sector also.

The speed of the game is so fast, that you can not just stay in position that you are listed in the roster. Natrually this happens in all ball sports, but I think that not so much.

Feel free to argue in all the content here.

Statement 2: Ice Hockey is not the best supporting training-game for floorball

It is good, but not nearly the best. 

The finesse of handling the stick is not nearly the same in hockey. For example my own hockey stick is maybe 160 cm (c.a. 5 ft.) and floorball stick is 100 cm ( 3 ft. and some inches). The playing pose couldn't be further away from each other. 

I have my history in Ice Hockey. And this can be seen for defect in my floorball playing. My slapshot might be powerful ( 130 km/h) but it is not economical. I know players that can deliver the ball faster with simple wrister. The ways that hockey player uses his/hers long stick and weighty puck have caused many problems for players moving between the games. 

Stickhandling and eye-to-hand coordination of course are universal in theory. I have seen very much floorball-type stick moves in hockey field (using the tip of the blade for some turns etc.) but in general you use the sticks differently. Come on, you don't compare ice hockey to the traditional hockey that is played in grass. Or to golf.

Tactics of Ice Hockey and floorball are totally different (see earlier about offsides). Floorball is much more free-flow game in the entire field. So sticking to Ice Hockey scheme is actually harmful for floorball players.

This doesn't mean that the hockey would somehow harmful for floorball players. Or vice versa. For example Jori Lehterä and Teuvo Teräväinen have their history in floorball. Both are good in at least stick handling. Most of current top floorball players in Finland and Sweden have played ice hockey in the past.

So there are benefits, yes. But hockey is not the best one available. Then what is?

Statement 3: The best possible support game for floorball training is basketball.

This statement relates to the tactical side of the game. Not so much for the actual skill with ball.

For me as a coach, the most important part of playing team sport is not at all the things you do with the ball, but the things you do (and do not do) without the ball/puck/whatever. And with this in mind, I strongly suggest that you should play much more basketball than ice hockey. 

In basketball the man-to-man defending is much more emphasized than in other games. The most significant aspect is the movement. When moving indoors with legs (not skates) the actual movement lines are very similar to professional floorball. 

Also the actions in basketball when the ball is lost to the opposing team is, aside from crucial, again very similar to floorball. Looking back to my teams last season, the one pinpoint in development was actually the turnovers. What was and what should have been done in those situations. I have to say, I got some of my ideas watching Finnish national team progress in World Championships qualifications. 

For the next summer, we will emphasize our training in basketball (among others).

What other sports are good for training floorball?
  • Badminton/ping pong (mostly for goalies - hand-eye coordination)
  • Soccer (endurance, positioning)
  • Track and field (good for speed, endurance, stamina... everything)
  • Gymnastics (balance, body control)
  • Parkour (same as above)
  • .... and of course everything that gets you moving!
Feel free to comment!

- Tommi Remsu

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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!