Monday, July 21, 2014

Floorball & Innovation



We welcome Matt C, using twitter-handle @Hockey_matt on twitter, to our blog with a guest post. 
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I am always reading a variety of magazines, articles, blog and books. 
Whether it’s my wandering mind, impatient nature or general curiosity, I feel reading keeps my mind active and engaged. Some of the topics I spend significant time reading about include sports, innovation and entrepreneurship. I am particularly interested in how these intersect and if they don’t, why not? Two recent articles struck me for different reasons and I wonder if their intersection could involve Floorball.
In Why I Turned Down Apple For A Startup Joseph Pigato states, “Any time you consider a startup, ask yourself one thing: Is there a compelling problem that has created a market demand for this solution? If the answer isn’t yes, look for another startup.” Startup culture has long fascinated me as related to creativity and innovation. When it comes to our current youth sports culture, we obviously have many problems. Obesity continues to be a problem while many kids are quitting organized sports for a variety of reasons including lack of fun, insufficient playing time, pressure from parents or a lack of skill development. While the vast majority of kids are not going to grow into elite athletes, a love of fitness and an active lifestyle are imperative.  
The second article and one that got significant play in the social media world is Youth Participation Weakens in Basketball, Football, Baseball, Soccer. This piece from The Wall Street Journal examines why combined participation rates, in boys and girls aged 6 through 17, fell approximately 4% from 2008 to 2012. While some sports like ice hockey have seen participation rates increase, these rates could yield a variety of long-term problems. Kids that don’t participate in youth sports miss out on the benefits related to social interaction, teamwork, communication and structure along with the development of physical literacy and general athletic skills. 
My thoughts turned to Floorball after reading these two unrelated articles. It is a game that was new to me a few years ago but its appeal was multi-faceted. In reference to the two articles above, can Floorball help solve a ‘compelling problem’ in our sport culture that is seeing decreased participation numbers in the traditional, mainstream sports? I believe the answer is yes. The barriers to entry are minimal when considering the equipment and facility needs. Floorball is a game devoid of complex systems and and extensive rules for the beginner. Like ice hockey, the game is often the best teacher. No formal coaching can replicate the time a player spends on the court with a stick and ball, letting the imagination run wild while exploring the creativity that makes the game so dynamic.  
As adults, we are often too quick to jump in and 'coach them up’ and correct errors regardless of the sport. The relative simplicity of Floorball (for the beginner) affords the latitude to sit back and allow our young athletes to figure things out on their terms at their own rates. As a lifelong hockey player, coach and administrator I love the cross-training benefits. Floorball encompasses many of the same themes such as creating time & space, taking advantage of numerical superiority whenever possible, spatial awareness, body control and hand-eye coordination. Perhaps more than any of these, the creativity and deception skills that are inherent in Floorball are things needed in many of our young hockey players. As a health and fitness lover, I am inspired by the many benefits Floorball offers, both on and off the court. Whether it’s competitive athletics or physical education in school, Floorball is a game to be enjoyed by athletes of all ages!


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Matt, also say that he might be back with more on the Floorball subject at Floorballcentral.org
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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!