Kimmo Vallema blogs about his floorball experiences in Germany. Want to know more about him? Click here to read his introduction article.
Preseason training has started…
“As you might have figured out, I have been writing my blogs in advance a little so I can enjoy a little vacation myself this summer as well. So, as I am writing this now in the middle of July, it probably is the middle of August as you read this.
In any case, at this time… in JULY… most of the teams in Germany are already well into their training for the next season. This means that all across the country, there are players and trainers alike giving their blood, sweat, and tears every week to be better prepared for the upcoming season. So whereas the back offices are sweating in their offices – literally, because it has been so bloody hot, trying to secure players, sponsors, training-times, trainers, licenses, referee-trainings; basically, everything it takes to keep a club running – it is the players that have been doing lap after lap, pushup after pushup, pull-ups, sit-ups, running lines, jumping boxes, climbing, running, swimming and match-up after match-up.
… not just for the players
Whilst all of this is going on, there is a whole special bunch of people preparing for the upcoming season as well. All across Germany, there are people being trained to take abuse from players, trainers and spectators alike. Yes, the referees. I will not bore you with the details when it comes to the actual qualifications for referees in this country, but needless to say that they are not simple, and just when you think you learned the organization, they will change it.
I personally had a chance to observe a basic training given at our club just a week or so ago. The students spend an entire hot day in the hall with a trainer discussing rules, behavior, stance, movements, you name it! As a player, or a spectator for that matter, one tends to forget that these referees are just like you and me. They make mistakes as well and do not see everything, yet they are the ones willing to put themselves forward and at the same time expose themselves to ridicule and abuse at amazing levels. Personally, I have to raise my (fictional) hat to them with respect. It takes courage and commitment to do what you do. Sure, you make wrong decisions at times and might even seem partial, but it is not an easy thing to do. So with all due respect: thank you! The old joke “HEY REF, SELL YOUR WHISTLE AND BUY YOURSELF A GUIDE-DOG!” is only occasionally accurate! 😉
Practice makes perfect
In any case: back to the teams. In the end, you can do all the preparation you want, but you will not really know where you are until you measure yourself against others.
Enter… practice-games. Pretty much every team is also trying to line-up some practice-games before the season officially starts. There are of course the smaller tournaments across the continent where teams in whole or in part are participating. This could be anything from Floorball Meeting in Münster to the bigger Prague Open or the Street-Floorball-events taking place across Finland at the moment. Even those really do not manage to really gauge the level of the team as many of the players are still on holidays or in transition between teams.
Time for tournaments
One of those tournaments that traditionally take place a couple of weeks prior to the league-start, is Renew Cup 2019. Named after the Sponsor of the tournament Renew Group (representing Zone and Unihoc in Germany), it is a tournament that pulls together a number of “their” teams for a weekend in a series of games. Usually, the mix has been roughly 50% 1st Bundesliga and 50% 2nd Bundesliga with an occasional participation by a Dutch team.
Only a week later, German floorballers are being treated to another tournament, this time in Wernigerode. Sparkassen-Cup is actually two tournaments as they have one for Women and one for Men.
What brings additional flavor to these tournaments is the fact that many of the teams are still experimenting with their line-ups. These games are often used for testing lines, testing juniors as well as testing those new foreign players. However, this is the same for every team so whether any grand conclusions can be drawn is a bit questionable. Details about the tournaments can be found at the bottom of this article.
“I will be the one running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Personally, I will be involved with the Renew Cup as our team (DJK Holzbüttgen) will be participating and our club is also hosting this year’s tournament. As a matter of fact, I will be trying to manage one of the halls we will be using for the games, so come say hi if you can! I will be the one, together with a lot of other volunteers from the club, running around like a headless chicken trying to make sure everything runs smoothly in our hall. It takes quite a bit of work to get that many teams in hotels, fed, playing, etc. Luckily we do have a lot of enthusiastic volunteers to pull it off.
So, are you interested in seeing what floorball is at the highest levels in Germany? Use this opportunity to travel to one or both of these tournaments and see it for yourself. Hopefully, after the tournaments, I find some time to report also the latest news and results from the two events. I am also hoping to find some time to put together a small team-by-team update before the league starts on September 14. Something to tie up the Silly Season and see where the teams stand at the start of the competition again in mid-September.
Here some details about the two tournaments:
24.-25.August 2019 in Kaarst Germany
Teams: DJK Holzbüttgen (1. Bundesliga GER), SSF Dragons Bonn (1. Bundesliga GER), Dutch National Team (NL), Tollwut Ebersgöns (2.Bundelisga, GER), Red Devils Wernigerode (1.Bundesliga, Ger), Dümptener Füchse (2.Bundesliga, GER), FC Rennsteig Avalanche (2.Bundesliga, GER), Blau-Weiß Schenefeld (2.Bundesliga, GER), TV Eiche Horn Bremen (2.Bundesliga, GER), PSV 90 Dessau – Black Wolves (RL OST, GER)
30.8. – 1.9. in Wernigerode Germany
Women: Red Devils Wernigerode (1. Bundesliga, GER), UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels (1. Bundesliga, GER), Unihockey Team Aarau (1. Liga, CH), Tatran Střešovice (Extraliga, CZ), TJ Sokol Královské Vinohrady (Extraliga, CZ)
Men: Red Devils Wernigerode (1. Bundesliga, GER), UHC Sparkasse Weißenfels (1. Bundesliga, GER), Jona-Uznach Flames (1. Liga, CH), Red Lions Frauenfeld (1. Liga, CH), MFBC Leipzig (1. Bundesliga, GER)
Any thoughts about floorball in Germany? Or questions you’d like to ask to Kimmo? Let us know by sending an email to [email protected] or contacting us through social media!