Physical education is a topic that has been widely debated over the past years by school professionals, politicians, and the general public. There are countless examples of school districts that have cut down on physical education in order to save money. The sad reality is that not every student in the United States has access to physical education. Some research indicates that the number of schools that do not offer their students physical education is well over 50%. A study by Harvard University from 2013 indicated that 70% of students in the U.S are not provided daily physical education by their schools, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. There are; however, also some positive and progressive examples. Recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced that the City will add an additional $100 million to the phys ed. programs of the New York City public schools.
The sad reality is that American students are in deep trouble since they are deprived of the crucial physical activity that they are in dire need of. The schools that actually offer physical education do not exactly have unlimited resources. In fact, the average budget for phys ed programs across the United States is $764 per year and program. As a reference, that’s how much an average family household spends on groceries over a five week period. To many individuals across America and the world, the lack of funding for such valuable programs may seem as a bit of a joke. The reality, once again, is that American students often miss out on the valuable exercise that is required in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and perform well, academically.
Due to the extreme lack of funding for many phys ed. programs, teachers and administrators are often forced to limit the scope, activities and goals of their program. Physical education teachers must truly choose activities that are accessible, relatively affordable and are guaranteed to have a positive impact on their students. Floorball is one of those activities.
Floorball is fast, fun, safe and relatively affordable. There are of course activities out there that are cheaper than floorball. The fact is; however, that floorball has been proven to be such a positive tool to utilize in the school setting. First of all, the activity is safe. There is a significant higher chance of injury from other types of team activities, such as regular floor hockey. The nature, design and weight of the floorball stick also ensures that students of all ages can take part in floorball activities. Floorball is also an inclusive sport, meaning that everyone can participate, regardless of size and physical ability. The nature of floorball in a school setting is also quite flexible. The sport can be played through regular matches, but also as relay-races, obstacle courses and in the form of traditional games such as steal the bacon “floorball style”. Floorball should also be seen as a valuable component from a developmental perspective. While playing floorball, students are constantly moving around while trying to move the ball to their peers with the use of a stick. This notion will have a positive impact on the students’ motor skills including hand-eye coordination and balance. Oh and the best part is that floorball equipment has been designed not to damage/scuff gym floors.
A physical education teacher in Brooklyn once said that: “Before I discovered floorball, I was afraid to teach my students team sports.”
Such statement is truly a testament to the value of floorball.