8 Keys to the Game of Broomball

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Answer by Brad Neumyer, Broomball player


Broomball is such a fun sport to play. First off, due to the fact that you're running around on ice and slipping and sliding everywhere, no single person has a huge advantage that can change the game. Even though I grew up playing ice hockey, etc. running around on the ice in sneakers is very humbling to even the most competent players.

Here are my keys to the game:

  1. Make sure you have enough players to substitute often. You will be completely gassed by the end of the game. You need to work your butt off when you're on the ice, get off before you get too tired, and hope that your teammates will do the same. If your team gets burned out too quickly you will get demolished.
  2. Goaltending is KEY! This is the one area where ice hockey crossover is most applicable. On our team, we had someone who was a goaltender at the club hockey level. Since hockey goalies spend a lot of time in the butterfly position, this doesn't rely on having skates so much, so a competent goaltender can ply their trade very effectively in broomball.
  3. Don't be afraid to go 'feet first'. Depending on your league rules, kicking the ball for passes is very effective. In my experience, nearly everyone that was on my team had played some form of soccer growing up, so most everyone was comfortable kicking the ball long distances so then you can gain ground on the opposition.
  4. Don't get too fancy. This isn't lunch-time open hockey at the local barn. Overconfident hockey players make some of the worst broomball players, because they think they can run and stick handle through everyone. Sure, you might get through one or two people, but if you try to go end-to-end, you're going to tire quickly, and probably fall down a lot en route to trying to make 'hero' plays.
  5. Work the ball from behind the net. If you can dump the ball down into the far end and get one of two players from your team to chase the ball down and work from behind the net, you're going to have success. This allows your team to create a lot of traffic around the net and get second and third chances on rebounds.
  6. Don't over-pursue on defence. It's very rare to score from much further out than 5-7 yards on a shot (I did see someone score from the blue line once, but the exception doesn't prove the rule). In fact, most of the goals you will see will be from 1-2 yards outside the blue paint of the goalkeeper's crease. For this reason, unless you are desperate to score goals, you should let the opposition pass around the outside of your defensive formation. Chances are, if they are shooting from outside it will be a low level of threat with respect to the chance of scoring.
  7. Defend first! Once you get ahead in a broomball game, the dynamics of play change incredibly. You don't want to play from behind as it forces you to play overly aggressive defence and often leads to more goals. In my experience broomball games tend to be very low scoring. We once lost a game 6-4 and that felt like a cricket match compared to a previous stretch of matches where there had been at most 3 to 4 goals scored total.
  8. Have fun! Broomball is such a great sport, and no one is going to end up with a scholarship or playing in the winter olympics. So don't take it too seriously. Broomball is a ton of fun and one of my fondest memories of the college years.
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