Swedish floorball star: Floorballers in Singapore need to build belief
Swedish star Ahlroth says they have speed, skill and stamina but no confidence
Local floorballers have the passion and skills but lack the self-confidence, said Swedish floorball player Valdemar Ahlroth.
Ahlroth, 24, was in Singapore for a week-long summer camp organised by Valhall Asia, along with three other Swedish floorball stars - Tobias Gustafsson, Gustav Fritzell and Jon Hedlund.
The four, who play in the Swedish Super League (SSL), held several training sessions for 40 participants, including some from Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand, from June 8.
Ahlroth, who has two SSL accolades under his belt with club Storvreta IBK, found that most local players he met had speed, skill, stamina and passion, but severely lacked belief.
"Individually, some of them are really good. They can do things that I can't do," he said.
"What they're lacking is self-confidence. They asked me questions on stuff that they already knew how to do, but were still questioning themselves.
"They need to practise their confidence and know that they already have good skills with the stick. Use that, and then do it every day.
"Floorball is mainly a sport for short and quick people, so it's not about size. Sweden were just the one who came up with the sport, that's why we're good, in my opinion.
"Overall, I'm really impressed. There are higher standards than a lot of people in Sweden."
Gustafsson, 26, a defender with Sweden's national team and club Storvreta, shared similar sentiments.
"I didn't have high expectations, but the players here are so enthusiastic and everyone wants to do better," he said.
"Singapore players are fast, can dribble and shoot, but they need to combine everything."
When asked what the local floorball scene lacked, Gustafsson, who was in the Sweden side who finished runners-up to Finland at last year's World Floorball Championship, said that it needed more competitive games.
In the 14-team SSL, clubs play at least 32 games a season,while the finalists can play up to 47 games, over eight months.
In Singapore, the Women's and Men's Premier League, which have 12 teams each, play 11 games over four months.
The top-eight teams proceed to the second round, where they are split into two groups to play three games. The top two from each group will then proceed to the semi-finals. In total, the finalists play up to 16 games over five months, a slight increase from the 14 last year.
Gustafsson warned that having limited number of games could be detrimental for sport development.
"The more you play, the better you become. There are only positive things that can come from playing more," he said.
Singapore Floorball Association (SFA) president Kenneth Ho agreed, but said: "The ideal scenario would of course be for clubs to play league games like in Sweden. However, we have to take into context the professionalism of our league."
The SFA runs nine leagues for over 100 clubs and Ho explained that there are limited facilities and resources, as the matches can be played only on weekends.
"We are (first) looking to raise the level of coaching, which will eventually lead to better game sense and skill levels, through coaching courses," said Ho.
"This will bring players to a higher standard and is within our aim of having all league clubs have qualified coaches."
For youths, SFA has introduced multiple competitions like Floorball Smash, National Age Championships and a youth floorball league this year.
"We have also started our national age-group teams to provide both males and females a structured pathway to our high-performance teams and expose them at an earlier age to international floorball," added Ho.
Competitions for adults are also growing, like the third edition of the SG Floorball Open that ended on Sunday.
The biggest floorball tournament in Asia saw Swedish club IBK Dalen win both elite categories.
The men trounced Aussie Exports 15-0, while the women beat team Philippines 14-0.