(Featured image by Per Wiklund)
Time for a riddle.
You receive them quite a lot during a game of floorball but your team rarely scores from them. What are they?
Okay, you probably read the title, so you know the answer is … free hits.
If your floorball experience is similar to mine, your team scores from a free hit once… a season.
In a good season.
Taking free hits isn’t easy. But we will make it a bit easier for you and your team to take advantage of this hidden gold.
In this article, I’ll teach you how to improve your free hits. Look at this free ball from Falun’s Alexander Galante Carlström:
What’s going well with this free hit?
Think for a moment.
There are several reasons why this free ball is successful.
One of the reasons, of course, is that Galante is one of the best snipers of the game.
But the truth is, his shot only is a small part of what makes this a successful free hit. In fact, there are a couple of crucial “tricks” that he and his team perform. In this article, I gathered some of them and call them “rules”.
They are basic rules that all professional players follow – mostly unconsciously after years of practice.
The good news is that these rules are relatively simple to apply. Everyone can introduce them to their game and make their free hits more effective – without too much effort.
I’ll start the article with the 3 rules followed by a couple of some dos and don’ts. Then I’ll show you three successful examples from the SSL. At the end of this article, you will know exactly what went well with Galante’s successful free hit, and hopefully, you’ll be just as successful as Falun applying the rules into your own floorball game.
Time to start!
The referee whistles: free ball to your advantage!
What happens now? This varies from team to team but chances are it goes something like this:
The teammate that likes to shoot most walks towards the ball and sees if he can find any excuse to shoot directly on goal. Seeing that this will most likely end up in a red ball-shaped bruise on the leg of the defender that is blocking the shot, he tries to find a teammate that is closest to him to pass him the ball so he can shoot around the defenders. The other teammates just watch the whole scene and are standing somewhere nearby, not really focused on the ball or on the goal. Because they are not a threat, the defenders have an easy time blocking the shot since they only have to focus on two players. Sometimes one of the two forwards is near the goal.
The shot goes into the wall 9 times out of 10, giving the opponent an opportunity for a counter.
Was it a successful free hit for us? No.
What is the goal of a free hit?
Is this a stupid question? I don’t think so. It is good to have an aim for your free ball, no matter how obvious, in order to be able to decide (as a team/line) how to reach this goal. Let me put the most obvious goal into words:
The goal of a free ball is to create at least one good shot, and – if the possible rebound is counted – in some cases even two.
In fact, this means that one of the first agreements we should make is that the free ball can hardly ever be shot directly at goal.
After all, there is almost always a player in the path of the shot, as a wall. If this player isn’t there (yet), don’t hesitate to shoot – but don’t do it if the opponent has put three people in the path of the shot!
This is our first rule.
Rule 1: never shoot directly if the path of the shot is blocked
Yes, I feel stupid for saying it but we have to start somewhere.
Let’s take a look at the situation below:
In the picture above, our team, the blue crosses, has the ball on the left side of the field. Does the situation look familiar to you? It’s about how Galante scored his goal.
The blue cross at the ball – Rasmus Enström in the GIF – takes the free ball. At this moment there are two players available to receive the ball: Thomas Holmgren, the blue cross on the middle line, and Alexander Galante Carlström, who walks in.
You can see that the three defensive pink circles are focused on the three blue players around the ball but thanks to Galante’s running action there is still room for the shot.
Read more about Rule 2 and Rule 3 in the next part of this article!
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