Supporting the growth of Floorball in the United States.

More about floorball

There is also the potential for players who get into the sport to represent the U.S. on the international level. The Floorball World Cup is held every two years, with women competing in odd number years and men in even number years. The next World Cups will be held in Switzerland in 2003 (women) and 2004 (men). There is also an Under-19 World Cup and several other international competitions including the Czech Open which is held every year in Prague, Czech Republic.

Getting a group started is not all that difficult. You need people who like to have fun and do not mind getting sweaty. People who like hockey but can not skate, do not like the hitting or do not have the money for expensive hockey equipment are a good target group to start with even though floorball is a great sport for boys, girls, men and women regardless of their experience or background. Floorball would even make a great sport for wheelchair-bound people since the equipment is so light.

Ideally you want to find an indoor place to play like a gym, rec center, roller rink, or other athletic facilities, etc. but you can also play outside on a basketball or tennis court. The drawback is that the blades on your sticks will wear down fast on outside courts. A good surface to play on is wood since it does not wear down the blades. Friction on the ball and blades is minimal, making for a fast game. Playing on astro turf, carpet or a rubberized surface will affect the speed of the game but it will be fun no matter what. Schools often times rent their gymnasiums to the public after hours. Public recreation facilities and the YMCA also rent space as do some churches.

The two most common obstacles to finding a space to play are availability and ignorance. Availability refers to the fact that basketball and volleyball tend to block out large chunks of time at gymnasiums, rec centers and YMCA’s while inline hockey is monopolizing roller rinks. Ignorance refers to a facility operator’s resistance to allow floorball into the facility because of fear of the sticks and other equipment marking up the court surface or causing damage to the walls. Floorball sticks are virtually non-marking and the plastic balls will not damage walls. Goals usually have pads to protect floors but if they do not have them, small furniture pads are available at hardware stores and they can be placed under the goals. COURT Rental: Depending on where you play, you will probably have to pay a fee for court rental. The bigger the group the lower the cost per person. It helps if you have people pay for several sessions in advance. This way you have court rental costs covered even if not everyone shows up on a given day. Also, this requires more commitment on part of the players and will help having people show up.

The full IFF (International Floorball Federation) rules can be found here as a pdf file.

Materials
The basic equipment you need is a set of sticks, balls and goals. If you are unfamiliar with the rules of floorball you can download them as a pdf file from the IFF web site, www.floorball.org. You do not need to have high-end sticks to get things started. The way to go would be to get a starter set which includes balls. The sticks are generally made from polycarbonate or a similar material, have a straight blade and no wrapped grip. The advantage of starting with these type of stick is that both left and right handed players can use them. You can use small or medium size goals to eliminate the need for a goalie. Small goals are 60cm x 90cm goals and medium size goals are 115cm x 90 cm. When playing on small goals it is recommended to put a 110cm x 60cm goal area in front of the goal into which no player may set foot while playing the ball. Sticks however are allowed in this area. Knees should not be permitted on the floor when playing on the small size goal. With the medium size goal you do not need to put down a goal area. You can have a flying goalie which means that players can stand in front of the goal when on defense. One knee may touch the ground.

Recovering material costs
Recovering material costs If you are not independently wealthy or have a sponsor, you may want to recover the expenses of the initial equipment purchase. Depending on how you handle the court rental, you could add a certain amount to the court fee per time per player until you have recuperated your investment. You may also want to build up a fund for equipment replacement or upgrades so you may continue to charge a certain amount per time per player over the court rental fee even after the initial equipment is paid for.

Developing youth groups
Many floorball groups are made up of adults. Often they got into the game through co-workers or friends from Scandinavia who played the game there. The adults play to have fun but for the most part they do not concern themselves with making the sport of floorball more popular, trying to attract more players and developing youth players to keep the sport alive. As a result, when players move away it affects the entire group since there is not a well established player base. New adults have to be recruited and be taught how to play. It will be a benefit to your group if you make an effort to bring in youth players. One way to do this is by volunteering to start a youth floorball group at a local school, church, rec center, YMCA, etc.. Doing this may also provide you with a place to play for free or at a lesser expense in the long run. The kids will learn fast and perhaps get their parents to become involved. Before you know it you may have enough bodies to form a club with youth and adult teams.

Purchasing a Stick
Once people get into the game they may invest into purchasing their own stick. When selecting a stick the things to look for are flex or stiffness, weight, shape of the grip, length of the stick and type of blade. The flex/stiffness is usually listed in millimeters on the stick. This refers to how much the stick will flex under a 30 lbs of pressure. The lower the number the stiffer the stick. Weight of a stick can vary depending on the materials used in the shaft, the blade and the grip. Most players prefer a lighter stick over a heavy one but in the end it comes down to how the stick feels in your hand. Grips come in round, oval, dual, teardrop, square and semioval shapes. The shape of the grip is a personal preference and best found out by playing with a variety of sticks if possible or at least handling a few different ones before purchase. The length of the stick can vary, with the maximum length allowed by the IFF being 112cm. The average length is 95cm-99cm. The stick blade can be made of either a hard or soft plastic material. A harder blade will increase shot power while a soft one will help with ball control. It is recommended that a player bend the blade to fit his or her style of play. When bending the blade, use a heatgun to warm up the blade. Be carefull not to melt the plastic. When the material is warm and pliable, shape the blade then, while holding the shape, cool it off in a tub of cold water. Repeat until the desired shape is achieved. Be sure to adhere to IFF rules and hook the blade no more than 3 cm. This is measured from the highest point of the bottom edge of the blade to the ground, with the blade laying flat on the ground.