One World — One Ball

Tomas Sladky: How to connect playing and coaching floorball in the same time

Hi guys!

Well, now it´s my turn to talk about floorball topic, which is somehow included in my daily routine and which is somehow interesting to analyze.
Beside all people in the floorball society like board-members, sport-chefs, managers, referees, volunteers, etc., many of us are floorball players and many of us are floorball coaches too, right? And what if you are player and coach in the same time? :)

Honestly, is it you?
Do you like this double-role?
Can you focus 100% on both roles?
Is it easy to switch between those two positions?
Do you feel comfortable during your own “player” games?
Do your coaching experience help you to play better on the field?
Do you share all your ideas with your players during your “coach” games?
Do your thoughts help you to find the best way how to lead the team as a coach?
Is it too complicated?
No, it´s not… sometimes! :)

I´ve chosen this topic, because in the last ten years I´ve had to answer all these questions almost every day...
I got the first coaching experience when I was about 14 years old. My dad was my own coach and when our team was growing, he needed some help to take care of the youngest group of players. I took it, I tried it and I liked it. Maybe, it sounds familiar to you.

Either way, if you have a coaching ambition or not, it´s a very cool lesson for you to lead a group of young people. You can really develop your personal skills and leading character. Being a good role-model for small kids is one of the most important thing in sport in general! So, don´t be afraid, you have nothing to loose, just visit some practice of juniors in your club and join them for one hour! Believe me or not, coaches, all players and their parents will love it. For you it´s just 60 minutes, for the rest it´s maybe a life-change moment, when some big star from elite team will “come-down” there and just play the same game. But, it´s only a tip… ;)

Anyway, my story is a little bit special, because I left my home-country in age of 20 and I spent 10 seasons abroad. Because I had already some coach experience from my home-club of Vítkovice (Ostrava, Czech Republic), everywhere I´ve played, I´ve worked partly as a coach of juniors: in Switzerland (SV Wiler Ersigen, UHC Wasa, Chur Unihockey), in Finland (Koovee) and in Sweden (Jönköping IK, FBC Lerum, IBK Alingsås).
It seemed like the easiest way, how to work for a club. Everywhere I transferred, coaching was my personal interest and official term in each contract.
And yes, you are right, I didn´t use Czech language at all! That was an extra benefit of this adventure! I had to learn to speak German, English, Swedish… What? Finnish is missing? :) Sorry, but this was impossible for me, “anteksi!” :)

All these years gave me basically only positive things into my private and professional life.
Here is a short list of positives, if you are not afraid to play and coach at the same time:
+working in the group of people
+building a self-confidence
+learning how to lead a team during the game and during its critical moments
+meeting a lot of interesting people around the club, parents, fans, not only team-mates
+feeling the game in kind of different way (reading the game)
+no more tactical surprises during the fast game of floorball.
There is one more interesting benefit… Time is flying very fast, I´m 31 and because my parallel coaching carrier is running next to my own games, right now I can play with my former “students” in the highest level! The best example is Patrik Suchánek - line-mate in the national team, or Martin Tokoš – also my actual line-mate in our mother team 1. SC TEMPISH Vítkovice.

To be honest, every coin has two sides, so I should share with you also some minor negatives. From my personal point of view, sometimes it´s difficult to put clear line between thinking as a coach and as a player. The most complicated it was last year in Sweden. It was in IBK Alingsås, where I spent only first half of the season 2016/2017. I agreed to take a double role in men´s team: as a player and as an assistant coach + tactical coach. It was very tough, especially during the games. I had to focus on my own performance and at the same time I had to think about what to say in the locker room during period-breaks! Not easy…
One more story about playing and tactical overthinking… My former team-mate from SV Wiler-Ersigen, Finnish legendary defender, Vesa Punkari told me once after 90 minutes long tactical meeting: f*ck this shit, lets just play! And we won the title in Swiss league! :) So, somewhere between long tactical meeting and saying “just play” you can find the right way and magical compromise, MAYBE! :)

To sum up, I have to tell you this: if you choose to take this double-role, if you play floorball and you are coach at the same time, don´t overthink it too much. Just do everything with 100% passion, do everything with full responsibility and enjoy it!
It´s floorball and we love it!

With the best regards,
Tomáš Sladký
1. SC Vítkovice, Czech republic.

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