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Floorball Bootcamp for Forwards: Part I

You can only win a floorball game by scoring at least once, but actually: the more, the better. Usually, it’s the forwards that score the goals, although of course, this is not always the case.

Featured image from Per Wiklund.

By the end of this bootcamp, I will have given you all the tools so you can start your journey to become a complete forward. This means that you will be able to score more goals, know what to do when you lose the ball, what to do when you’re defending and we’ll also pass you some tips from some of world’s best players (in part 2).

To make things easier, I have divided the bootcamp in 2 parts each consisting of 2 chapters. These chapters more or less correspond with your general tasks as a floorball foward:

Chapter 1: If your team is in possession of the ball. You try to create space and depth in order to increase your chances of scoring a goal.
Chapter 2: When the team is not in possession. You are the first line of defense and try to keep the opponent on his own half as much as possible.
Chapter 3: The changes between possession and loss of the ball or vice versa. What are the standard patterns you can follow when losing the ball or when your team conquers the ball?
Chapter 4: Jan Zaugg, Joonas Pylsy, and Albin Sjögren speaking. These three top forwards tell us about their thinking during a floorball game.

Let’s waste no more time!

Chapter 1: Ball possession

If your team is in possession of the ball, you can build up an attack and create chances to score. In this chapter, we will talk about what to do when your team is in ball possession and how to set up a playing system properly. Let’s use an example: your team has received a free ball in their own corner and a new line enters the field.

As a forward, you can now try to make the field ‘long’ by running all the way to the opponent’s goal. A defender will have to walk with you, creating more space for your team to build up the attack on the rest of the pitch. In case the defender won’t follow you all the way to the goal, then a high ball can be sent your way, giving you a life-size chance of scoring.

So when your team is in possession of the ball, it is one of the key points as a forward to be in motion. You can make a longitudinal movement, i.e. towards your opponents’ goal and back to the centerline, or a transverse movement, i.e. parallel to the centerline. The goal is to get the opponent out of position and to give your teammates an option to move towards.

Partly, your plan depends on the team’s tactics. If you play in an offensive 1-3-1 system and you are the ‘highest’ forward, then you are regularly at the opponent’s goal. However, if you are one of the forwards of the ‘3’ (from 1-3-1), then you are more at the center line and act as an option to pass to. So discuss this within your line and team. A tip: consult with your fellow forwards about which player is the ‘runner-by-default’, meaning: when starting a counter, it’s good if everyone knows it’s player A who immediately draws a sprint towards the opponent’s goal.

As forward in this case you never stand still (for a long time). You don’t have to sprint non-stop, but make sure you’re always on the move. Sometimes you can sprint, sometimes you can ‘run slowly’, but either way, movement means that your opponent has to focus on you and therefore has less eye for the ball and your team-mates. So force your direct opponent to keep an eye on you.

Have you pulled a sprint towards the goal, but still you find yourself unable to receive the ball? No problem – as long as you can distract at least one opponent you’re doing fine! After a few seconds, you may be able to drop back towards the centerline, but then one of the other forwards will have to move up forward to keep the field ‘long’.

Moving in the width of the field can also be crucial in the search for goals. A perfect example of this is given in our article on the Royal Road, where the goalkeeper is forced to move:

It is crucial for the deepest player to shield the goalkeeper well, be ready for a rebound and always be prepared to shoot.

With this, we have discussed what you can do as a forward when your team is in possession of the ball, but not yet what you should do if you are the one who has the ball. Let’s dig a little deeper into that!

The choices you make in the field usually depend on your positioning. When writing this piece, I’m assuming that you’re on the half of the opponent. No goals equals no victories, so as a forward you have to focus on scoring. To make it more clear, I give a 3-way plan while ball possession:

1. Shoot; 2. Pass; 3. Action.

Huh?

I’ll explain:

1. Shoot

As a forward, your goal is to score. If you’re in a position to shoot, do so. I often see a kind of doubt among players when they are in a promising position, ‘do I have to shoot now, or do I have to pass?’. The answer is 9 times out of 10: you have to shoot!

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