The leaves are changing colors, cold fronts are starting to move through, and snow is just around the corner. That means it’s broomball season again!
With that in mind, here’s a refresher of some basic tips to help you become a better broomball player. These are mainly aimed at beginners – if you’re an All-Star in your local league, you’re probably well beyond these simple tips. You’ll want to have a basic understanding of hockey, of course.
Defense: If you’re a total newbie who just joined a league for fun and you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry. A lot of us have been there. Just focus on your defense. Get in people’s way, try to block shots, use your stick to block passes, clear the ball away when it comes near the goal.
If you can help keep the ball out of your own net, then you’re not a liability, which means your teammates will be glad to see you out there. Being a scorer requires a certain level of skill and hockey instincts, so that part of the game will take time. Don’t stress about that yet. But you can always start by being a good defender.
Broomball strategy is similar to ice hockey. So when it comes to defense, always try to clear the ball away from the goal along the boards – never clear it up the middle near the goal! If you see lots of open ice up the middle, it will be tempting to try to clear it there. But if you whiff on the clearing attempt, suddenly you’ve left the ball right in front of the goal for an opposing player to grab.
Shift length: If you have more than six players on your team, you’ll be rotating players in and out. Keep your shifts short! Broomball can be very exhausting, so you will want to make sure you don’t get stuck on the ice for too long. There’s nothing worse than people staying out too long on the ice and getting tired. Or worse, they steal your playing time because they won’t come off the ice in a timely fashion like everyone else. Try to get your team on the same page regarding shift length.
Shooting: Practice is really important. We’re assuming you don’t have a broomball rink in your backyard. So the time you have at the ice rink will be your only chance to get better. Use your time wisely! Arrive early if you can. If you have time before the game, practice shooting so you can get used to using the broom.
Elevating the ball is key to scoring goals, so you’ll want to learn how to get it up off the ice, either with a quick wristshot or a slapshot. You can take a big backswing on your slapshot like hockey players do. But many broomball players find they can achieve a more effective slapshot by chopping down on the ball like you’re chipping a golf ball out of a sand trap. Try different techniques until you get the hang of it.
It’s never a bad idea to get the ball near the goal. If you have no play, and your teammates all seem covered, why not flip the ball towards the net and hope to get a good bounce? Lots of hockey goals are scored this way, and broomball is no exception.
These are just a few broomball tips for beginners to get started. Remember to have fun, and if you want to truly invest in the sport, pick up a pair of broomball shoes. This will give you some extra grip on the ice so you’re not sliding all over the place. Good luck!
Images: Creative Commons user jasonrasp. No changes were made to these images.