Every intramural program offers the basics — basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc. However, when it comes to increasing student engagement, it is important to offer unique programs that peak student interest. If you are looking for a fun, new intramural program, Floorball could be the perfect option.
“A lot of campus intramural programs offer floor hockey. It’s been around for a long time,” said David Crawford, the founder of Floorball Guru and Director of Recreation at Saint Martin’s University. “However, if your floor hockey program has stalled or declined in participation and growth, it is worth a look to figure out why. Do students not like the equipment, rules, or game play? Would a change in some of those factors increase participation and overall satisfaction? If so, Floorball is worth a look.”
Crawford recently developed his own company, Floorball Guru, which informs, educates and encourages everyone to get involved in Floorball, while presenting the fun and benefits that Floorball can bring to individuals and organizations. Crawford answers a few of our questions.
Can you give me an overview of Floorball Guru?
DC: Floorball Guru is focused on promoting and education people about the sport of Floorball. The intent is to be a resource for people that are new to the sport. This is done through a weekly newsletter that highlights different topics related to Floorball. The newsletter includes things I’ve done, or am doing to develop the sport from the grassroots level. Floorball Guru also provides floorball instruction, camp, curriculum development and consulting for individuals, groups, or organizations looking to get involved in Floorball.
DC: My background is in the field of recreation. I hold a BA and MS in Recreation, and I’ve been involved in sports from playing a variety of sports, coaching and developing youth sports programs. I love all sports and I’m always on the looking for new things to try. I came across Floorball in 2014 and was instantly hooked. What I saw was a sport that was fast, involved similar aspects to other sports and looked fun. Since then I’ve been involved in teaching and educating people about the sport. Floorball Guru was born out of a desire to share this passion for the sport and share my experience and knowledge starting and growing programs from the beginning. It’s always tough to start something new, there are a lot of questions to ask and things to think about. Having been there myself many different times, I wanted to be a resource for people to encourage and help them in starting a Floorball program within their organization.
What makes Floorball a great sport and appealing to students?
DC: Floorball is truly an all-inclusive sport. It can be adapted to suit the needs of the player. As far as sports go, Floorball is fairly popular as a stand-alone sport for women. What I have found is that it draws people to the sport. Most importantly from a programming stand point, it allows students another choice to recreate, be active and engage with their community. In the end it’s a simple game. Almost everyone understands how to use a stick and a ball, so it takes very little time to get someone involved. What I like about Floorball is that the rules of the game limit the amount of contact. Unlike hockey, which is focused on physicality, Floorball is primarily focused on finesse. Players are not allowed to body check, stick check, stick lift, or go through a players stick to steal the ball. While come contact is allowed, by removing most of it forces players to think about how they control their stick and body. This helps reduce potential injuries and conflicts that can arise from competition. Initially many people see it as floor hockey, which is played in many schools. However, the differences between the two sports include the equipment used and the rules of the game. While the rules may take some getting used it, the speed of the game can be fast, and control of the stick and ball help minimize potential injuries while increasing performance. At the very least it’s a great form of exercise.
What advice would you give to schools looking to start a Floorball program?
DC: Obviously I would say follow my weekly newsletter, and checkout the resources and information on the Floorball Guru website and social media platforms. At the same time, I encourage anyone looking to add Floorball on their campus to utilize when possible the equipment already on hand. Other than sticks and balls, don’t feel like you need to invest money initially beyond that. Floorball does have specific equipment (specifically sticks and ball) so floor hockey equipment won’t do. While the sport is played 5 v 5 with a goalie, it isn’t required outside of official sanctioned competition. Feel free to mix things up based on your needs and facility restriction.