Each floorball game is a practice game, until you earn your living on it

Stress affects floorball performance

Performance connected stress arousal

The figure above is showing the performance of two equal floorball players (capacity, when they are at their best), the difference is on their stress levels. A players optimal performance might be in the beginning, middle or at the end.

The first line/player will perform well or at his/her best with lower demands and stress level, while player two needs and can play at his/her best with high demands and expectations.
Do you know these curves for your players? Who will perform well in critical situations and who will be at their best with low expectations? These curves are just two examples, you would probably have as many different lines as you have players.

Floorball practices, games and drills

Each floorball game is a practice game, until you earn your living on playing floorball. That’s a quite good attitude to have, to keep the right perspective on things and situations, to try to keep the stress level on an acceptable level.

Floorball – Repeat mode

Repetition is a powerful teaching method and tool, remember the 10 000 hours of practice or the Pareto 20/80 rule (coming later). Through repetition, a new idea will be integrated as a normal thing, even if it from the beginning was innovative or new. The same goes for floorball practices and drills, repeat, repeat and your floorball players will integrate what you have been practicing on, to the game. We often need to be reminded, rather than instructed?

Floorball skill practice drills

Messi, Eto’o and Ronaldo feints

You can see those incredible feints done by Messi, Eto’o, Ronaldo and others, and we are amazed, how did he come up with that or how was he able to do that? The answer is simple, through repetition and hours of practice, to automatize the moves.

Social facilitation

An aspect to consider when you are introducing a new floorball skill drill, is theopposite of social loafing, social facilitation, it means that we will perform better when we have people around us watching, but there is a but, it’s only easier tasks or well-known activities that is will apply on. When you are learning or practicing a new floorball skill you don’t want a lot of people or team members watching you, it will only make you nervous, stressed and insecure.
So when you practice a new moment, you might split up your floorball team in small groups to lower the physical and psychological arousal level and therefore get a better learning environment. When your players are more familiar with the new floorball drill/technical moment you can start to do the practice in bigger groups in order to raise the arousal level to be more like a game situation.

Youth floorball practices and drills

David Beckham, free kicks

A young David Beckham was practicing free kick after free kick “alone” in the nearest park. Since he was alone, he could practice with a low arousal level, automize and learn the correct technique. If you add visualization to this practice you have a powerfull tool for the future.

He was lucky?

He was so lucky or their team had more luck than us. Have you heard these words? This at least something you might hear many times, when people are successful, but the people saying those words, don’t know what’s behind the luck, hard work and commitment, the more you practice “the luckier” you get.
Look at Mourinho is he lucky or is it luck? For me it’s quite obvious it’s thousands of hours of hard work, learning, studying and practice. Success doesn’t just happen because the stars line up in your team, it’s created. Look once again on the leadership model, can this be your formula for “luck”?

Floorball goal scoring and shooting practices

Is it because we have been lucky? Of course not. It’s about anything else but lucky when you’re talking about my players. “  /José Mourinho

Floorball – Four steps building up stress or arousal

Connected to personality you can also talk about stress or arousal, how you are, perceive and react on things, will affect the level of stress or arousal.

Stress can be described as a process with four steps that will lead to a particular end.
Step 1 – Environmental demand, competition, new skill etc. (physical and psychological)
Step 2 – Individuals perception of the environmental demands. The perception of the demands will vary between your atheletes (Amount of psychological or physical “threat” perceived)
Step 3 – Response, if your player feel an imbalance between demands and capability, this will create arousal, anxiety, muscle tension, attention changes
Step 4 – Behavior (performance or outcome)

Floorball practices for 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 years old players

Stress occurs when there is a perceived imbalance between physical and psychological demands and the individuals capability to meet the perceived demands. Too high levels of stress will affect your floorball players performance, but there are also research done, showing an increased risk for injuries.

The more important the floorball event/match is, the more stress provoking it will be. Mental training and feedback can be used on each step (1-4) to adjust the level of stress and to help your player to perform at his/her best. Some players need help to lower the “stress level” (step 1-4), when others might need the opposite, meaning they need to be “stressed” up a little bit to perform at their best (step 1-4).

Floorball – Stress level affects focus and attention

Too high or low levels of stress/arousal will affect many areas, one of them is focusing. When you are talking about focusing, you can talk about optimal, broad or narrow focus.

Hockey vs Floorball

Let’s have a look at an example from the UEFA Champions League match between Inter and Bayern Munich.

Level of focus, Attention, arousal, stress, optimal, narrow, broad

1. Optimal attention field , with moderate or optimal arousal. (Lucio is able to see the opportunities for passes, but can also try to get past his opponent)

2. Too broad attention field, as a result of low arousal. (He can hear the crowd and his coach Leonardo, and has the focus on something else than the closest situation), can result in loss of ball possession.

3. Too narrow attention field, due to very high arousal. Limited to one option and it will be hard to perform it well due to too narrow focus (opponents feet) and tension in muscles.

What about the focus or attention in this picture (Bayern Munich defenseman and Inter’s Samuel Eto’o)?
Where focus Samuel Eto'o Inter Bayern Munich Champions League

Floorball – Correct Mental Pictures – Mental Training

Our brain is amazing

Eonverye taht can raed tihs rsaie yuor hnad… not all of us can, but most… and if you can’t, you’re still normal ; )

Icdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae.. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!
Bring this along in your leadership, our brains are amazing and will create pictures of what we say, even if we don’t get the full, or fully complete picture.

No, no words in communication

Think about a moment where somebody is talking to you and you felt all the energy was gone at that moment, or afterwards. Think back of the words that person used, could these have affected the loss of energy?

I think there are worlds that you can avoid in your communication, do you have some own examples of negative words?
For me the words must, always, don’t and never, are some examples that can kill the message, or give the wrong kind of thinking. You can try to put those words in a sentence and think of the reaction from the receiver, by thinking how you would react on the message.

You can also use the “but – word”, to kill your message. But can easily be changed to and, in many of the cases, like for example, and you can… compared to, but you can…

Let me give some examples of these negative destroying words, creating the wrong mental picture.

Don’t think of…

Don’t think of a yellow sour lemon, but I said Don’t think of a yellow lemon! How many times do I need to repeat it, Don’t think of a yellow lemon!

What happened, what were you thinking of? A yellow lemon? Most of us will or would.

Don't think of a lemon
Somehow our brains are built to sort out the important thing in a message (like in the example above, with the letters), but the “don’t part” usually falls out, and we think of a yellow lemon.

Don’t hit the post, don’t hit the post… You know the result…

 Feelings vs. Facts

When you are up to take the penalty shot you need to control your stress level, feelings and thoughts (more of this in the feedback section later). You can also try to visualize the facts, in order to control the feelings and thoughts, did you know that to cover a football goal (soccer) you need 10 footballs above each other and 31 beside each other, meaning you need 310 footballs to cover the whole goal. You have 310 spots to shoot the ball into the goal.

Basketball example

If you ask somebody who is not that familiar with basketball, how much space there will be left outside the ball when it goes into the basket, by the way, what would you answer?

How many centimeters or inches round the ball do you think there is left?

Basketball basketBasketball in a basket

Of course there has been research done in this area. There were two teams of young people, the first team were looking up to the basketball basket and could start to throw their basketballs. The second team had a basketball basket on their level and they could feel the size, feel it, and also try to fit themselfes in to the basketball basket ring and they could see how much space there where left around the ball. After that they started to throw the basketball into the basket.

I think it’s already quite obvious which of the teams performed better. Team one with a self created or given negative mental picture? Or team two with realistic fact based positive image?

I will give you the right picture as well. The answer is that, you can nearly get two basketballs (at least in women’s size) in to the basket at the same time.

Basketball in basket from aboveBasketball basket

That was not the picture you had in your mind, right? Quite a difference between these two images? You can imagine how easy it will be for you the next time you play basketball, or imagine the effect on our players when they have the right picture and are not steered by negative thoughts and feelings when they start a new drill, practice or work towards a common goal. Everything is possible, use facts to beat your negative feelings and thoughts and work with changing negative to positive, what if, to why not?

Mental homework

This could also be a homework for your floorball players, that they try to change their own negative thoughts they are facing in other situations outside floorball to positive thoughts. They need to practice these skills as much as technichal skills with a ball. If you want to be a champion you need to thin like one. Take the full responsibility for your own thoughts, there aren’t room for negative thoughts. Your thinking drives your behaviour and actions and these will form the performance. What about you as the leader?

Positive or negative touch on your message?

Choose your words wisely. You can say things in a negative way or in creative positive way. Why tell your players how they should not do things or what they should avoid, when you can choose to talk about how they should do, and what opportunities they have. Words you say as a leader affect your floorball players, their mental pictures and the culture within the floorball team.

If you throw something in to the water, you can see the rings it will create on the water surface, so chose carefully what the things are, you “throw” in to your floorball team. Each action, word, behavior, attitude, relationship counts within the team, in order to be successful, each of these actions will be spread amongst the team one way or another.

Words coming from you mouth, will create the pictures in your players heads and also the words coming from their mouths, you strengthen what you talk about positive or negative, and you are the one making the choice between these two alternatives!

Focus should be on what to do, not on what you should avoid doing.