Contact In Floor Hockey
If you’re interested in ice hockey but don’t have access to an ice rink or would love a game of field hockey but don’t have artificial turf to play on, floor hockey may be the perfect game for you. By merely adding goals to an indoor gymnasium, you can enjoy floor hockey. However, you may be wondering, is floor hockey a contact sport?
Floor hockey is not a contact sport. Though limited shoulder checking is allowed, any use of force to check an opponent will lead to a penalty. This makes your floor hockey victories contingent on speed and strategy.
In this article, you will learn more about floor hockey, including the different types of floor hockey games, which skills are transferable across different types of hockey, and how you can use floor hockey to train for ice hockey.
Two of the most prominent forms of hockey are ice hockey, which is usually just referred to as hockey because of its prominence. The other form mostly popular outside of North America is field hockey. The critical difference between both is that field hockey players do not use any form of skates and run across the field while passing a hockey ball instead of a puck.
The fact that some variations of floor hockey use skates with wheels make it closer to ice hockey than field hockey. A well-trained ice hockey player can score just as easily in floor hockey. In contrast, a field hockey player will need a significant amount of time to adjust to the different rules and the environment.
Ultimately, the absence of ice, some variations involving a ball, and being a non-contact sport, floor hockey does draw some influence from field hockey, but it is not very close to the game in terms of training players in transferable skills. A field hockey player is more likely to transfer his running stamina to soccer than his ball-handling ability to floor hockey.
As a result, floor hockey has become a cheaper training alternative for young teenagers who wish to get into ice-hockey around the age of junior hockey intake.
If you plan to use floor hockey as off-ice training for your ice hockey career, you should know that the key difference between ice hockey and floor hockey occurs in three areas:
- Contact: Ice hockey is a full-contact sport, and you will need to build endurance to high-speed collisions. This, you cannot train for with floor hockey, which, as mentioned above, doesn’t allow such contact and is something it has in common with Field Hockey.
- Skates: When you play ice hockey, you use hockey skates that feature a blade beneath the boot which contacts the ice. Since floor hockey happens on a different surface, it sometimes involves roller skates or inline skates, but most of the time is simply played with regular shoes. The closest you can come to training your balance like ice hockey is by playing with inline skates.
- Padding: Because the floor hockey environment does not include contact like its ice hockey counterpart, there is less equipment involved for the players. The most similar equipment would come from the goalie position. The goalie would still wear leg pads, a glove for catching, a blocker, and a similar goalie helmet. However, the floor hockey versions are much lighter to wear than the ice hockey ones.
Therefore, the two sports are quite similar. The main difference being one is played on ice, and the other is a non-contact sport.
When it comes to floor hockey, the game is not big enough to have its rulebook unified. Furthermore, the game evolved from some of the limitations of ice hockey and field hockey, so creating a single game structure would be quite tricky for all regions. As a result, several variations exist:
- Quad hockey: Quad hockey leverages quad skates and a ball with the same goal-scoring rules as the rest of floor hockey variants.
- Skater hockey: This variant can be played with inline skates but uses a ball instead of a puck.
- Inline hockey: This variant comes the closest to ice hockey as it features inline skates that require similar balancing to ice-skates, though not the same, and it involves a puck instead of a ball.
- Other variants: The remaining styles don’t involve any type of skates, but regular shoes instead. Some of these variants use traditional ice hockey sticks, while others use plastic versions instead.
Not all hockey training happens on the ice. Coaches understand that ice time can be expensive for young players trying to get into a junior hockey program and even some enrolled in these programs. As a result, an entire genre of hockey coaching has spun off with off-ice training instructions.
Here are some of the off-ice training you can get while playing floor hockey. We also have an article describing Youth Hockey Strength and Conditioning Programs to Follow.
There are two key methods of scoring in ice hockey. One is to get as close to the goal as possible so you can shoot the puck into the goal with ease. The other is to get skilled at shooting the puck at a distance while avoiding a turnover.
If you play inline hockey, you use a puck. And despite having different skates and no contact, you can still train your precision. When you get on the ice, your balance will be different, as will the rules, but you will be able to take your accuracy with you and become a long-distance to mid-distance scorer.
One of the ways to avoid getting the puck turned over is to have high speed, especially in the stage where you’re on your side of the goal. That is because when you’re in your half, most of the opposing players are too as they attempt to score.
When you get the puck, the instinct to have a confrontation will potentially cause you to lose it. But if your instinct is to find openings and zip towards the opponent’s goal, you’ll have a better chance at scoring.
With floor hockey, there is nothing close to the levels of physical contact in ice hockey. However, that means you have to rely on finding openings and speeding towards the goal. Because instinct is hard to train, and ice hockey will always give you the option to lean into a confrontation, floor hockey may be better at training you at dodging for your ice-hockey equivalent plays.
If you are a player who gets into one-on-one confrontations with everyone, you may get left off at tryouts because coaches don’t want to spend energy to break this habit. You can break this habit yourself by practicing while playing floor hockey.
If ice hockey relied solely on contact and physicality, it would be a martial art. There is still a level of puck-possession skill involved. Most puck possession at confrontations involves stick handling. And stick handling is a skill that helps both speed-oriented as well as physical players.
Techniques like a push-pull fake and other puck passing strategies can be trained off-ice if you play floor hockey. However, you have to be mindful that the puck’s speed varies on ice compared to the floor hockey court. Nevertheless, the stickhandling from floor hockey is mostly transferable to ice hockey.
Venturing into the soft-skills area, it is worth mentioning that if you are away from your city and do not have a rink around, skipping your training may harm your discipline in following a routine. Therefore, you can opt for any type of floor hockey or even street hockey just to retain your discipline on vacation or during unexpected travel situations.
Floor hockey is not a contact sport, which makes it a relatively safer version of hockey. But if you are interested in using floor hockey as off-ice training for ice hockey, then you shouldn’t be discouraged because you can still train your precision, speed-contentedness, and stick handling if you play your favourite version of floor hockey.
- CSUN: Floor Hockey Rules
- The Free Dictionary: Contact Sport
- WI: Floor Hockey Study Guide
- Powerplay: Health Benefits of Floor Hockey