They won gold, but now they won’t have to work, the coach fears. Floorball needs a change

Two weeks ago the Czech floorball juniors defended their gold medal at the national world championship. The juniors then followed them to Scandinavia with bronze. While it looks like adult floorball is also shining for medals, junior coach Jaroslav Berka has a different opinion. The success of young people must be an engine of change.

At the end of August, the Czechs in Brno emulated the success of 2019 and, for the second time in history, dominated the World Junior Championships. In the semifinals they knocked out the Swedes for raids and in the final they reversed an unfavorable development match with the Finns.

“Now we are all even more aware of the work accomplished by the team in two years of preparation. They have shown exceptional quality,” said coach Jaroslav Berka from a distance. “None of the opponents worked as mentally as we did, which gave the boys the confidence to handle the key moments.”

Cooperation with a mental coach helped, while the implementation team modeled crisis situations for the team in training camps throughout the cycle. “We spent a tremendous amount of time there, hundreds of hours. The players were faced with times that were supposed to show disappointment, independence, poor cooperation. We talked about everything and put it back. in the context of the World Cup if failure came there. “, explains Berka.

In the home tournament final, the Czechs did not even fall into a situation where they lost 0-2 to the Finns after the first game. Matěj Čermák’s goal in the 59th minute was won 4: 3. Goalkeeper Tomáš Jurco and striker Filip Forman with Matěj Pěnička entered the league’s all-star roster.

“I had feedback that our team were really the best at the World Cup. They were well-deserved wins, not defended in one way or another. The keeper and both players were rewarded well deserved, they were among the best players, ”confirms the coach.

While the junior gold defense may look very promising when it comes to the future of the adult national team, Berka doesn’t think the results of the junior championships will be reflected in the men’s soon.

Juniors in the Czech Republic risk stagnation

“Other factors and parameters are involved, such as the quality of the domestic league. The players are now at the top, they have been able to realize their current potential, but they must be in an environment that will continue to develop that potential.

According to him, the Czech Republic lacks an intermediate level that would prepare players for the transition to the adult category and the national team. Young floorball players abroad will face greater challenges and improve in the years to come, while the Czechs are expected to stagnate.

“Unlike the Swedes and Finns, we don’t have an under-23 national team, we don’t have such a quality competition and we don’t even have concept work in the clubs.

One way is to go abroad, the other is a marked change in the Czech environment. “It is also necessary to introduce the concept between the national teams. For the men to continue what the juniors were working on. There are many steps to allow our boys to improve further,” said the coach junior, who otherwise works as the sports director of Sparta Prague.

Berka wants the two junior championships won to be an impetus for the floorball movement to make the necessary changes. “This should start a detailed debate. I’ll be happy when it is created in floorball, but the truth is that in team sports we are generally in decline. Sometimes something will not happen,” he notes. .

Women work harder

In women’s floorball, according to Tomáš Martiník, who led the junior national team to bronze at the World Championships in Uppsala, the situation is more favorable. “I believe that several players from the junior selection will compete at the women’s championship in December. We have a strong generation from the years 2001, 2002 or 2003. This is our future, ”he said with optimism in his voice.

At the World Championships for the first time in history, the juniors defeated the Swedes, in the group they faced 4: 3. However, the first final participation did not take place, as the Finns lost. 5: 2 v Martiník’s team in the semi-final. The Czechs at least got a taste of the bronze fight, in which they beat Switzerland 6: 2.

The third also ended in 2010, 2014 and 2018. “We went there with the big goal of breaking the wait for the finals, but we also take the bronze as a success. Winning the Swedes on their soil was an important moment, the girls showed that they can compete with everyone, “Martinik was delighted.

In the adult category, the Czechs only have one bronze medal to their credit in 2011. Since then, they have accumulated fourth places. “Still, I don’t think we’re far from the best. The last championship two years ago illustrated how balanced women’s floorball is. The team were also very unlucky for the final at the time,” remembers the coach of the semifinal collapse with Switzerland. .

“Czech clubs have started to work more intensely with women. We are developing players who can compete with the world,” said Martiník, Vítkovice coach, outside the national junior team. Goalkeeper Viktorie Karasová and defender Vanessa Rebecca Keprtová were the most successful at the World Championships in Sweden, which asked for a nomination for the All Stars tournament selection.

Sport locked for four countries

After the two junior championships, only Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland continue to collect medals. “It’s a shame, but it will be like this for a while. Other countries need to be more careful with floorball, we won’t do anything, we don’t try to be worse,” smiles Martiník.

When he learns he was third in four with the team at the World Cup, he does nothing. “It doesn’t mean that the girls are bad. They can’t blame them for being so much better than the others. The results are sometimes surprising, the Swedes struggled against the Slovaks, the Germans played a draw. with Switzerland. We will certainly not be satisfied with the third place, we want to go up “, concludes the coach.

“Floorball is still a young sport and some countries lose fifteen or twenty years for example. Floorball is played almost half the time there, which is a lot. It takes time for the coaches and the know-how of the players. be transferred, ”he explains. Berka.

He sees the biggest change in Latvians or Slovaks. “They can benefit from the connection to Czech floorball. They have no problem hiring coaches from us. I suspect that in about six years some of these countries will surprise the favorites,” said the coach of the Golden Juniors.

Winston Ferguson

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