The technical skills in floorball can be divided into offense and defense skills. For example, offense skills are stick handling, dribbling, shooting and passing (also receiving the pass). Out of these, dribbling, passing and receiving the ball are needed to create the scoring chances (build-up phase) and shooting skills to score (scoring phase). Just the technical skills are not enough in a game situation, because the player must also be able to make tactically right decisions. Choose the right ”tool” for a specific situation and also know how to use it. Therefore, The decision a player makes is strongly based to his or her psychological and physical characteristics. The actions of an individual player, combined with the cooperation of the players on the field, form the team’s performance.
What is passing and why is it needed in the game?
In floorball, passing and receiving pass are one of the most important skills. Passing is a fastest way to move the ball from player to player or one field area to another, thus the ball always moves faster than player who is running with the ball. Passing also creates continuity of game. Above all, it is a way to create scoring chances and play the ball towards the opponent’s goal (to win space). Because the ball possession is usually starting in a situation where scoring is not possible, without good passing and receiving skills it is difficult for a team to play offensive game. In a situation where it is not possible to play the ball forward, team can maintain the ball possession by passing the ball from player to player. At the same time, it allows the team to create space which can be used in build up.
When used properly, a pass is an effective way to play offensive game. The opponent is forced always react to the pass and through this it can be used as a tool to change the balance in field and create advantage in offensive game. The faster the ball moves from player to player, the higher the pressure is on the opponent’s defense form and it will be more difficulty for defense to steal the ball. The goal of the passing game is to create scoring chances, so a mere pass to a free player is not always enough, and a pass should be made to the player in the best scoring position. Thus, in addition to technical skills, tactical skills are also required to provide right timing, unexpected and accurate pass. Passing includes also the risk of losing the ball. Before passing the ball, the player have to evaluate the possible risks and taketake into consideration the abilities of player who is receiving the ball.
According Wein Horst (2004) passing can be used for the following purposes:
- Pass by an opponent
- Allow better positioned teammate to attack with less risk or to score
- Relieve pressure from defense (clearence)
- Initiate an attacking move (build-up phase)
- Progress in the field (pass into run of the teammate)
- Retain posession (with a back pass or possession pass)
What makes a good pass?
Passing technique refers to a player’s ability to make different passes. Players have to be able to pass and receive the pass in fast situation, also under pressure. Good pass consists of several different factors. Execution requires technical and physical capabilities as well as factors related to the game intelligence, such as understanding of the game. Good pass requires also appropriate use of the technique: choosing the right technique and considering the direction and timing of the pass. The game situation determines what is the right pass for the situation and whether it is made with the forehand or backhand and along the floor or in the air. The timing of the pass should be such that the player who is receiving the pass is able to continue the game without problems. This requires that the receiver makes him or her available and is free from defender. The quality of the pass is important that receiver can maintain advantage compared to the defender and this way have more time for next game actions. When passing to player who is in the movement, pass should be directed to the front of the receiver rather than to the behind, as accelerating the speed is easier than slowing down. Speed of the pass is both a technical and a tactical requirement.
Passing is a collaboration between at least two players. Giving the pass is an important skill, but equally important is how we are receiving the ball. In order for the game to continue, it is really important that the receiver is able to continue the game immediately after the ball is in his or her possession and observe the field at the same time. Therefore, receiver should always try to be in positive playing position. He or she also needs to speak same language with ball carrier and communication with him or her a stick, eye contact, body language or by speaking. That way passer knows where and when the other player wants the ball. The goal in passing should be to play from movement to movement that raises the tempo of offensive game.
A good pass is characterized by (Horst 2004.):
- It has a clear meaning: For example passing to player who has better field position, winning a space and playing closer to goal, pass by an opponent or maintaining ball possession.
- It`s accurate: Receiver gets the ball where he or she want`s to have it , the opponent is unable to intercept the pass and It is easy for the receiver to continue the game.
- It has a right timing: Proportioning the timing to the movement of the teammates, their readiness to receive the pass, and the opponent’s attempt to steal the ball.
- It`s executed with maximum speed / force: the shortest time required to deliver the ball between two players (minimizing the ability of opponents to react), taking into account the individual abilities of the player who is receiving the ball.
How to train and improve team passing?
Different kind of passing games (see blog post from Rondo https://coachkfloorball.com/2020/12/03/rondo-and-other-ball-possession-games/) are best way to improve teams and player`s passing skills. Since the goal should be always be to train skills which we need in game actions, like unpredictable passes and decision making alongside technical skills . A practice like this combines the technical and tactical side of passing, while the cooperation between players develops at the same time. Different passing drills, on the other hand, only develop a technical performance that may sometimes be necessary, for example, for younger juniors. Despite this, it would be always good to add some tactical elements also drill-style exercises.
In passing training, its good focusing equally on the technical and tactical requirements. With a limited techniques, it is not always possible to give the pass that best suits to the situation. On the other hand, a good passing skill set is not useful if you don`t know how to choose the right solution in the game. The technical skill training can be carried out independently or as part of a team training. In below you will find some examples of different passing drills, which can be added to team training for example part of warm-up or technique training.
A few examples of different passing drills in groups of two, three, and five players:
Source: Horst, W. 2004. Developing game intelligence in soccer. Reedswain Publishing.
Westerlund, E. 1997. Jääkiekko. Nykyaikainen urheiluvalmennus. Mero Oy, Gummerus, 527-544.