Raising local floorball's ceiling

National floorball coach Lim Jin Quan (second from right), 26, taking training at Our Tampines Hub last Friday. The team hope to win both the AOFC Cup in July and the SEA Games gold in the Philippines. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
National floorball coach Lim Jin Quan (second from right), 26, taking training at Our Tampines Hub last Friday. The team hope to win both the AOFC Cup in July and the SEA Games gold in the Philippines. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Men's coach applies lessons from giants like Finland in bid to win gold at two major events

After nine years of coaching floorball for schools and clubs, he made the big step up to coach the men's national team just eight weeks ago.

Yet former national player Lim Jin Quan is wasting no time getting the team in shape, as they aim to win both the Asia-Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup in July - Singapore finished second to Thailand in the 2017 edition - and to retain the gold medal at the year-end SEA Games, both in the Philippines.

To achieve both goals, Lim, 26, is focusing on polishing the players' skills and going back to the basics.

"I've been studying how other countries train, like in Finland (ranked world No. 1).

"I believe we can take whatever they have and apply it to ourselves," said Lim, who played for the national team from 2010 to 2017, after a training session last Friday at Our Tampines Hub.

"The thing that sets them apart from us is that they do the little things well.

"Their basics and foundation are very strong and they're able to execute it at a high level.

ROLE MODEL

Their basics and foundation are very strong and they're able to execute it at a high level. So if we can push our basics to that level, I believe we can do much better.

LIM JIN QUAN, national floorball coach, on the standards set by world No. 1 Finland.

"So, if we can push our basics to that level, I believe we can do much better.

"It will take a lot of time and effort but we have decent talent and hard-working individuals who want to do their country proud."

The men's team, who were named Team of the Year (Team Sport) at last Tuesday's Singapore Sports Awards ceremony, are working with consultant Timo Suonpaa, who has coached the Finnish and Australian national sides.

Suonpaa, 44, who is also helping the Singapore women's team, agreed that the men need to work on their basic skills.

The Finn added: "They also have not played for as long as other top players who started when they were four or five years old. Here, they start at about 15 so they are 10 years behind."

Newly appointed assistant coach Jatin Nair added that the coaching team are looking to make some tactical changes to the overall strategy.

Jatin, 33, who is also a former national player, said the team need to improve their finishing and the transition from attack to defence.

The men's team are now adapting to the coaching style of Lim and Jatin after two years under the charge of Finn Matti Joutsikoski, who left in March.

Vice-captain Jenmark Sorreda, 29, said "The new coaches' offensive and defensive plays are different and it's a bit hard to transition into their style of play, but with practice, we'll get better."

Teammate Ng Juin Jie, 21, was pleased the new coaches are taking the time to analyse and improve each player's individual strengths and weaknesses.

In the long term, Lim hopes to increase the training frequency - now twice a week on the court and twice in the gym.

But he admits it is difficult for a team of 30 made up of students, national servicemen and working adults.

Sorreda, who was born in the Philippines but moved here when he was eight, agreed.

He added: "It definitely affects us when we're not training together and those who miss out have to catch up twice the amount of what they missed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline 'Raising local floorball's ceiling'. Print Edition | Subscribe