As part of the development of Hoerning* Floorball’s referees, coaches and players, the Board of Directors decided to ask the local community and the local sponsor to support the club to fund the growth and expansion of the club in 2020/2021. We started the work, late 2020 to find the right tools to help and support each member in the club, that has the energy and would like to help develop the club to the next level.
The whole idea for the investment was to enable all staff members to have extra fun and the possibility of using technology to ease communication during training sessions and matches. Several club members looked on the internet for the right communication tools, a user-friendly solution that everyone can use daily during training sessions and matches. We found AXIWI. After a dialogue with the employees at the company in the Netherlands, we ordered the units to take the next step in our club.
Floorball is an indoor sport, so we decided to use the AXIWI AT-320M model to cover our needs. We ordered a set of 4 and 3 types of headsets, including throat microphones; 2 of each. We also ordered arm belts in different sizes, a USB charger and a transport case to secure the equipment.
We decided to focus on three areas during training with headsets: coach to coach, coach to player and training referees. Lastly and the main reason: In matches providing the referees with clear communication between each other and for the officials to hear who scores, make assists, penalty etc. And also for a possible 3rd referee to listen to the referees in the field. So this referee can listen to how they communicate during matches to learn the rules and how to read the game, which can be pretty stressful due to the high tempo.
Experiences with AXIWI so far
Coach to coach
No doubt about it: Talking about the game setup, changes between players and dynamics during a training/match, or about each player’s advantages and disadvantages. Coaches can now, in real-time, communicate about issues and give information back and forth in a few seconds, plus adjusting the setup of the game or the player. This gives a much more efficient way of communicating closing the significant gap during training in a fast-paced game like floorball. Normally shouting is used, adding stress and frustration among both players and coaches.
With a wireless possibility using a headset and two-way communication between coaches – a lot of tension is saved, and we can’t wait to feel the optimized communication during matches in the future. For example, when working with two coaches for a team, the tasks are typically divided. One coach focuses on the team and team activity, while the other focuses on individual players. Here, both coaches wear headsets and can hear what instructions both give and follow up on it. This concept has proven to be extremely strong, partly for the coaches and the individual player who experiences better synergy between the messages from the coaches.
Coach to player
New players in floorball have a hard time adjusting to both the high pace, correct positioning and at the same time controlling a ball. However, as coaches can’t help turn down the pace, they can support the player in proper positioning in the field, plus giving them a few short commands helping them understand the game as it is being played. As we have tried to use this during training, the instructions (via the headsets) help players understand and end up having a much steeper learning curve. This feels great for the players since having to cope with the fast pace – gives them the satisfaction of getting to know both coaches and the players as they progress much faster in becoming valid players for the team.
We also try to work with “player to player” here. Here, two or three players in the same chain wear headsets and can then communicate during the game to practice new play-through and through-play combinations. The challenge here is that it takes time to wear headsets and listen to others, but it works pretty well. Something we will continue to experiment with because we have challenges here:
- Headsets must fit well, and we experiment with the different ones we have.
Referee to referee
Just like handball, there are two referees to lead a Floorball match. And there is an official table where offences and incidents are noted. This is not only for elite matches but for all Floorball matches. In a club like ours and most matches elsewhere, the referee team consists of two different referees: a trained and a beginner, a very mobile and a less mobile, a harder referee and a less hard referee, etc. Only by elite, two referees are seen with an ingrained knowledge of each other, and even here is a big difference between the referee style and performance. In addition to the referee’s activity, they must also signal what the offence is about. Which is challenging to remember for many offences; when a given sentence is issued, there can be doubt. By using headsets, we experience an opportunity to equalize the referees’ performance when conducting matches. For example, there is a discussion of a misdemeanour, which can often be in a grey area concerning the primary perpetrator and the punishment.
At the same time, referees move around the court a lot, but always by coordinating with the other referee (each referee have a specific area to watch). With headsets, this has become much easier. It has also become easy for new referees to train directly ‘in’ the moment (situation) in real matches and even talk about it without disturbing the game participants. Finally, it has become easier to discuss with the officials at the table; messages about who has scored, stop time, who made assists, what the penalty is about and how long till penalty time. This can be a challenging job to do, but the headsets have made this easier. However, this is also one of the areas we could improve; communication to the ‘officials’ table. Maybe a special ‘official variant’, where they can hear the whole conversation and break in when needed. But otherwise, talk together without bothering the judges, etc.