Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The anatomy of small area hockey games

If you read the magazine USA Hockey - you in a heartbeat will be convinced that small area games is good for Hockey. And you do not have to be either a Rocket Scientist or Einstein to figure out why small area games is good for hockey.
It is just basic facts that a tight area will present all players with more puck contacts - so the ratio of puck per player will just increase. This means you have the component of fun play (motivation) mixed into almost the same level of puck contact as during more boring drills (but not long lines of players waiting to do the drill).
But this is not all, a small area game also creates a faster game since the other players come much more closer to you - and you will have much less time until another player is in your face. The whole thing of the small area - steal in principle dead transport times from the game and increase the amount of intense plays per minute - something that naturally drive skill developments.

Then - if we play with kids - kids are smaller and no adults. To accommodate for their size and give them a sheet of ice that is in line with their size and abilities - not only provides them with more realistic forms of the sport - it is just a better way of training. To see 8-10 year old play full ice hockey is just a sad over-kill that only shows how ignorant the coaches are.

It is however our opinion that cross-ice is superior to the idea to just move the nets closer on the ice, since cross-ice presents rebounds from the boards behind the nets - something that just will enhance the playing action.
We have also seen another form of 3 on 3 hockey - using only one goalie and a blue line - that indeed creates a new form of the game - it is good. But the idea of fast turn-overs are gone - so from our perspective as some sort of a drill benefit - we say cross ice must be much more efficient - without travel loops over the blue - and just the straight flow back and forth with realistic small area turn-overs and full action.
If you play cross ice with a goalie or not - depends if you have goalies available - but with no goalie you should use smaller nets..

In reality it does not matter if some old hockey guru in the USA is said to have invented small area training in 197x- cold something. Or if small areas games - just is Swedish Floorball transcended onto the ice. The way they often play Floorball with small nets over there.. What matter is that if U grasp the ideas on how to improve hockey as a game.

In Ice hockey it is fairly hard to move the boards to get a very small rink to play on. But we have seen a few such rinks. This is the optimal way to play small area games since the puck will come at you all the time from both players and close by boards in all directions.

For Floorball as a support sport for Hockey - it is very easy to arrange the boards and in 10 minutes build a small area game to play on. To quick have a tight rink set up that will provide re-bounds from close range in all directions. But this is not the only benefit for Hockey players.
The interface between the Floorball ball and the plastic Floorball stick is often more developed than the more clumsy hockey stick and the puck. Exactly why this is we do not know to 100%. But you do not have to watch many stick-handing drills to get this impression. We suspect that the flow of the Floorball Ball on the floor - with less friction (than a puck on the ice). A Floorball stick can also move faster since it weigh less than a hockey stick. Also the balance in a Floorball stick is different since it is significant shorter. All these are components that makes stick-handling with a Floorball stick way more fluent as compared to hockey stick drills on ice or with "golf" or other practice balls.

So if small area hockey games are good for Hockey - and we agree. We say that Floorball and small area Floorball games bring yet more benefits and anothe speed dimension to the hockey players table. The kids will not only play small area games - Floorball also brings an even faster form of the game forth - with yet even faster and more fluent stick handling. But as the very light Floorball ball also travel faster than the puck, and at times bounce in very unexpected ways - well the stress in the speed that Floorball offers Hockey players - can be nothing but good.
And that what we want to read about, in the USA Hockey Magazine too.

By the way;
The countries with the world's highest Floorball penetration in schools - are today ranked first and second by the IIHF in Ice Hockey

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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!