Floorball has reached a new milestone in Switzerland: national team players benefit from the Swiss army’s offer “Spitzensport-WK” (elite sports for refresher training) and can now focus on their top sport careers as semi-professional athletes.

Work 100 percent, train four to five times a week, match on the weekend: Swiss floorball players take on a lot in order to pursue their passion and be successful. In doing so, they often come up against the limits of their resilience. The aim has been to improve this situation gradually.  This is why one of the goals in the Swiss Floorball Association’s Strategy is that the national team players can become semi-professional athletes.

In Switzerland, both military service and the military refresher training is mandatory each year for men (for women it is voluntary). Now, with the army’s support, floorball players can fully concentrate on their training instead of doing normal military service refresher training.

– We want to support our athletes so that they no longer have to make compromises in sport, at work or in their private life. In competitive sport at this level, there is no room for compromises, says Reto Balmer, Head of Sport at Swiss Floorball in the Association’s press release.

Thanks to the army’s offer “Spitzensport-WK” (elite sports for refresher training) , players in the Men’s A and Men’s U23 national teams have the opportunity to focus their lives on competitive sport. They can invest in their floorball career and live as professionals on up to 130 days per year. During this time, the player and the employer will receive 80% of the wages through the income compensation scheme. For the players this means that working hours can be reduced and there is more time to train, improve the physique or stick technique, to work with a sports psychologist or focus on optimal nutrition. All things that are often neglected with a 100% workload.

The Men’s A and 23 players who are “militarised” – this means, who have completed the army before the age of 25, benefit from this offer. This is a requirement of the army. Women should also be able to live as semi-professionals in the future. Currently, however, no women’s national player is militarised.

The prospects for young talents are exciting:
– From 2022 onward we will be able to send several athletes per year to the elite sport army in Magglingen. The army becomes an essential factor on the athletic path of a young floorball player and offers us enormous support on the way to professionalise our national team players, Balmer comments.

The A national team coach, the U23 national team coach and the head of competitive sport at Swiss Floorball decide who is accepted into the programme. Every December, it is defined who will be in the programme for at least one year starting from May 1st.

Matthias Hofbauer new athlete supervisor
As of August 1st, Swiss Floorball, hired an athlete supervisor to support the national team players. This position is also supported by the “Top Sport-WK” project. The former national team player Matthias Hofbauer was elected to this position. After 23 years of competitive sport and 194 international matches, he can give the players important input on their way.

The first players are already completing their refresher course – or maybe it is better when you write in English: The first players already started the project: Nicola Bischofberger, Manuel Engel and Dan Hartmann are practically the pioneers. The aim is that the majority of the players are determined by the end of the year. The project should then really take off from next year.

Source & more information: Swiss Floorball Association

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