The obstacle course is a useful and effective warm-up which allows the player to practice several different skills including running, passing, ball control, and shooting. It requires some preparation and some time to implement. See diagram.
When there is little time (2-10 minutes) to warm up before a game, it is best to emphasize the same skills which will be used in the game: running, ball control, passing and shooting. It is best to practice all of them, not just a stationary shooting warm-up as most teams practice. Sometimes a player will warm up by shooting 5-10 times on the goalie from long range (with no other player in front of the goalie). But, this situation is very unrealistic and never happens in a game. In some games many players don`t even have any shots on goal. Yes, the goalie needs to be warmed up, but just having long, unobstructed shots directed towards him or her is inadequate preparation for the game and almost useless for the player. Players should jog,/run around their zone and practice passing (to the boards or another player while moving) and also practice ball control. Designated players (team shooters) can also warm up the goalie.
The most important skills in broomball are BALL CONTROL and PASSING. These two skills are required, and used, throughout the game. Mastering these two skills will allow a team to easily clear the centre red line (good defensive play) and will help a team to score goals (good offensive play).
Ball control starts with BODY CONTROL. The player needs to keep their balance while running. The player should bend knees a little and take short, quick steps. The player should crouch (sit, as if there is a chair behind you) to stop or slow down.
The player should always be in control of his stick, and never raise it higher than chest level. The player will use both sides (forehand and backhand) plus forward and backward.
With the BALL, but not moving, try to stickhandle with the ball while looking up slightly. This skill will allow a player to look at the play at the same time. Try to keep your stick in constant contact with the ball by using many small touches. Use the back, front and top of the broom.
Next, do the same actions with movement, moving forwards and handling the ball. First start slowly as control is important, then try to move faster. Then, go backwards.
Protect the ball by keeping your body between the other player and the ball. You can move backwards, away from the defender to make more space and give you more time.
1 on 1 with partner. Stickhandle towards defender, and try to go around the defender.. Then, change.
British Bulldog. Each player carries a ball from the centre red line to the end red line. One player (for example the goalie) will try to stop one or more players from reaching the end red line. Any stopped player will then join the goalie and try to stop the other players. The last player remaining is the winner.
Passing is probably the most under-rated skill, yet probably the most important and complicated. Passing requires good decision-making.
Passing is used throughout the game in both defensive and offensive zones.
Why Pass? To improve your team`s situation on the ice. For example, to break out or relieve pressure in the defensive zone OR to score a goal in the offensive zone.
When to Pass? When your teammate is in a better position or you can advance the ball to make a safer situation or to give your team a good scoring chance.
● It is sometimes better to pass backwards (to the goalie or another player) to relieve pressure or regroup if there are not good forward passing options. It is not always best to
pass or push the ball forward (especially if the ball will just go back to the other team, and especially if the ball has not cleared the centre red line).
● Also, it is sometimes better NOT to pass, even if a teammate seems to be unmarked. In some cases the unmarked teammate can be used as a “decoy” as the defender will expect the pass. The defender will begin to commit to the unmarked player and it will give the ball carrier an advantage as he fakes the pass. Don`t make an “obvious” pass which can be intercepted by the other team. Fake passes can be very effective.
● Do not pass if your teammate is in a worse situation than you (for example if your teammate is heavily marked/covered by someone). If you do not have a good passing option, then it may be best to go backwards or do your best to protect the ball, rather than just passing blindly.
● After passing, players should not “give up” on the play if possible. They should keep running and “follow up” on the play and continue to give support to the team.
Accuracy, strength, and quickness are important for effective passing. Accuracy decreases at greater distances, so it is best to keep passes between 3-8 metres at first. Longer passes can be made when a player has demonstrated accuracy and strength. For good accuracy the player should look at his target and “follow through” in the direction he wants the pass to go. Also, it is best to keep the passes low and along the ice. These are easier to receive. Bouncy and high passes are more difficult to control for the receiver (though sometimes necessary in order to get past a defender).
Strength refers to the “hardness” of passes. Passes should be “firm”, not hard like a shot, but not weak and slow. Weak and slow passes will be easy to intercept or easy for the other team to adjust to and defend.
Quickness refers to how quickly a pass is delivered. With some weaker teams there is much time given to complete a pass, but with stronger teams there is very little time
given to complete a pass. It`s a good habit to try to make quick passes to prepare for stronger competition.
Check to see that the “passing lane” is not obstructed (there are no defenders there, or near there). On board, illustrate with diagram of good passes vs. bad passes.
● Push Pass
The push pass is good for short passes when you don`t have much time (no backswing is required). Place your stick directly behind the ball and push it towards your target. Push pass can be done on forehand or backhand.
● Wrist Pass
The wrist pass is similar to the push pass and also good for short passes that must be done quickly. The wrist pass, using the strength of the wrists, is raised a bit off the ice and can be effective when trying to clear a fallen player or a stick in the way. Only used on the forehand.
● Sweep Pass
Good for longer passes, if there is more time. Gives good control over the stick to beginner players as the stick is brought parallel to the ice in a sweeping motion. May also be effective if a player has fallen and is on the ice and needs to make a pass from ice level. This pass is usually done on the forehand.
● Slap Pass
This pass closely resembles a hard shot and is usually used for long passes or when a very hard pass is required. Requires a big backswing so best if there is more time available. This pass can be done on forehand or backhand.
● Flip Pass
This pass is used when you want to raise the ball up and over other players or the centre red line. It is best used on the backhand, and is very difficult on the forehand. On the backhand the player places his stick directly behind the ball and bends his knees while simulating a “snow shoveling” motion. Note also that it is very difficult to flip a “moving” ball. It is best if the ball is not moving when trying this pass.
The player can practice all of the passes (except flip pass) against the boards. A piece of tape can be placed on the boards (as an “X” to represent the target). The “X” should be placed at ice level, except if trying a raised wrist pass. Look at the “X” and then follow through in the direction of the “X” when shooting.
● 1-time passing.
Advanced type of pass which can move the play forward very quickly. A player does not stop the ball when receiving this pass, instead passes it upon arrival while the ball is still in motion. A player should master basic passing with good accuracy before trying this pass regularly.
● “No look” pass.
Advanced type of pass in which a player looks in one direction, but passes in the other (it is a kind of fake as the defenders are expecting the pass to go in the opposite direction).
● “Give and Go” passing.
Advanced type of passing play used by 2 players against a defender. The first player passes to the second and then quickly runs to an open area. The second player then quickly returns the pass to the open area where the first player has gone.
● Keep your eye on the ball (watch the ball carefully from its point of origin and as it travels towards you).
● Keep your stick on the ice if possible, to give a good target to the passer.
● Often passes are not perfect, so you must compensate for bad passes by either using your hands (for high passes), or your feet (for low errant passes), or by changing from your forehand to backhand side (or vice versa) to accommodate the pass. Also, run towards the pass if it is coming slowly (don`t wait for a very slow pass).
● Make space for yourself so you will be a good target. Make yourself open and available to the passer by going where he can pass to you (create a good passing lane and avoid obstructed passing lanes). Consider also where the pass might go. An organized team has “set plays” which are understood by its players.
● Communicate to teammates by calling them to let them know you are open for a pass. *But, keep in mind that the other team will also be alerted that you are open and will begin to adjust and start to mark or cover you… therefore it is very important that the pass should be completed quickly. If the passer takes too long to make the pass, then it could be intercepted. If the passer cannot complete the pass quickly he should not pass, and should consider other options instead.
* In pairs (2 players) or with 3 players practice all types of passes (including flip passes). Practice on forehand and backhand if applicable. First practice without movement (stationary). Then, practice while moving around in a random way (not just a circle). The randomness will force the passer to watch carefully for his target, rather than getting used to a fixed pattern.
* “Monkey in the Middle” (“Tori Kago”). This game is played with 3 or more players. 1 player is designated as the “monkey” and must stop the other players from making successful passes. A variety of passes can be tried while not moving, and also with movement.
* “2 on 0”. 2 players pass back and forth from one end of the ice to the other (can finish by shooting on the goalie). Does not resemble a game situation very well, but is useful for practicing moving passes.
* “2 on 1”. Same as “2 on 0” but with 1 defender. Good for practicing how to pass around a defender. Try to establish “depth” and “width” to get around defender. More resembles a game situation.
Japanese teams are often outplayed in international competition and are constantly on the defensive. Because of this, Japanese teams are strong defensively, in their own zone. Often the defence is able to block shots or stop the opposing team from having a good scoring chance, but the next step is to be able to control the ball and bring it out of the defensive zone into the other teams zone (take the ball over the centre red line). If the team has been under much prolonged pressure then it is good enough to clear the red line and then go off for a change (all players will be tired). It is another useful skill to be able to clear the centre red line WITHOUT icing the ball. If the ball is cleared the entire length of the ice (too strongly) then there will be an icing call, and the face off will come back to the Japanese team`s defensive zone in front of the goalie.
Imagine a shot was blocked by our defense. Imagine that a Japanese player is first to recover the ball and temporarily has possession. Imagine he is facing a 2 on 2 situation. See diagram.
1. Don`t panic and don`t wildly swing at the ball without any idea where the ball will go. Usually the ball will go directly back to the other team and will put our team under more defensive pressure.
2. Control the ball. Use your ball control skills to control the ball if there is some time (you must assess the situation).
3. If there is much space in front of you (no defenders near you) then it is best to carry the ball by yourself towards the centre red line. If you can reach the centre red line by yourself then you should take the ball into the other teams zone.
4. If you are being marked and there is no one to pass the ball to, then it is best to protect the ball as much as possible until a teammate becomes available for a pass. Teammates should always try to be ready to support each other by being available for a pass.
5. If there is a defender protecting the red line then you can try various strategies to clear the red line: a) use or fake to use the boards, b) flip a non rolling ball, c) make a good pass to a teammate who is open.
There are a variety of shots which closely resemble pass types. Shots should be harder in order to challenge the goalie.
If shooting from very long range or from bad angles, there should be a teammate positioned in front of the net ready to make a deflection or recover a rebound.. It is best to keep long range shots low and hard, making it possible to deflect or to recover a rebound. It is best to try to shoot from an area known as the “slot”. From the slot it is possible to shoot directly at the goalie or towards the sides of the net where teammates may be positioned. A player should use a quick wrist shot or quick backhand flip shot if in close and use bigger shots from further away.
A very effective shot is a “one timer”. This is a shot which is done when receiving a pass (like a one time pass). The shooter does not stop the ball which comes towards him. Instead he immediately shoots it when it arrives close to him. This shot is challenging and requires a very good pass to be placed just in front of the shooter.
One shooter will stand in the slot and receive passes from teammates who are positioned around the player. The shooter will adjust his body to receive the passes and immediately shoot towards the goalie without stopping the pass.
One shooter will shoot low and hard at a teammate positioned at either side of the net. The teammate will try to “deflect” the ball (lightly touch so as to change the direction). This shot often surprises goalies who cannot always react quickly to a shot that changes directions at the last moment.
The passer uses a wrist shot or backhand flip to raise the ball to about waist height of his teammate. The teammate takes a baseball type swing to bat the ball out of the air and towards the net.
Create two teams and divide evenly according to speed and skill level. Each team will arrange themselves in order from fastest to slowest. The first player of team A will race against the first player of team B, the second player of team A will race against the second player of team B, and so on. Players will start on their knees at the start line (see diagram). When the whistle blows each player will run forward and around a cone towards the ball. The first player to reach the ball will try to control it and bring it towards the goalie to try to score a goal. The second player tries to stop the first player and, if possible, will try to steal the ball and also try to score a goal. Once either player has reached the “free zone” with the ball, the other player must give up and let the player with the ball have a chance to score. There is one point for being first to the ball, one point for stealing the ball, and three points for scoring a goal.