What is Floorball? A Beginner’s Guide

Woman waits to receive floorball pass

Floorball is a fast-paced, exciting indoor sport that’s like a mix of hockey and soccer. You might know it as salibandy, especially if you’re in Finland! It’s getting more popular all the time, and enjoyed by people all over the world. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know: what floorball is, how to play, what gear you need, and where to find a game.

What is Floorball?

  • Floorball World Cup Match

    Floorball World Cup Match

    The Basics: Floorball (Salibandy in Finnish) is played with two teams of five players plus a goalie. The goal is to score by shooting a lightweight plastic ball into the opponent’s net using special sticks. It’s played on a rink with boards, kind of like an indoor hockey rink. The rink size for international competitions is 40 meters long by 20 meters wide, with goals that are 160 centimeters high and 115 centimeters wide. However, rules allow for some variation in rink size, so they can be anywhere from 36 meters long by 18 meters wide up to 44 meters long by 22 meters wide.

  • History: It was started in Sweden back in the 1970s and quickly spread across Europe and beyond.
Floorball rink

Floorball rink

How to Play? (SALIBANDY säännöt)

  • Important Rules: Like any sport, floorball has rules to keep things fair and fun. Here are some key ones:
    • No High Sticks: Keep your stick below your waist at all times, even when you’re swinging to hit the ball.
    • No Rough Play: Don’t slash, lift, block, or push other players’ sticks. Avoid body contact as well.
    • Passing and Shooting: Use your stick to pass and shoot the ball towards the goal.
    • Face-off: Games start with a face-off, just like in hockey. This also happens after a goal is scored.
    • Positions: You’ve got forwards (trying to score), defenders (trying to stop the other team), and a goalie (protecting your own net).
    • Substitutions: Teams can swap out players whenever they want during the game, even while play is happening.

Equipment (SALIBANDY varusteet)

  • The Stick (floorball maila): This is your most important tool! Sticks are made of lightweight materials and have a curved blade for scooping and shooting the ball. Choosing the right length and blade type matters for your playing style.
  • The Ball: It’s plastic, about the size of a baseball, and has holes in it for better control.
  • Protective Gear: This is optional, but knee pads and eye protection are good ideas, especially for goalies.
  • Jersey: Show your team spirit with a floorball jersey! In Finland, you might call them “salibandy pelipaidat”.
  • Mouthguards: Used optionally to protect against concussion and dental trauma.
Floorball Player

Floorball Player

Where to Play?

  • Clubs and Leagues: Getting involved in a club or league is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in floorball. Here are some major leagues around Europe:

  • Schools and Rec Centers: Many schools and community centers offer floorball programs or open gym time. Check with your local facilities to see what’s available.

  • Find a Game:

    • The International Floorball Federation (IFF): Their website https://floorball.sport/ lists member nations, and many of those will have links to their specific national league websites.
    • Social Media: Look for floorball groups on social media platforms that are specific to your region.

Did You Know?

  • Floorball is famous for its incredibly fast shots. The current world record for the hardest shot is over 200 kilometers per hour!

FAQs

Like any sport, there’s some risk of injury, but with basic safety gear and following the rules, it’s relatively safe.

Sports stores and online retailers carry everything you need. One place you can buy from is here:

Floorball Sticks (salibandy maila)

Absolutely! Floorball is a great sport for people of all fitness levels.

Not at all! Basic sticks and balls are relatively inexpensive.

No, there are organized floorball activities for kids as young as 5 or 6 years old.

Yes! There are thriving women’s floorball leagues and tournaments at all levels.

Alpha® offers extensive range of Floorball Jerseys and Shorts. You can find them
here.

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