Hockey: Important That India Does Well, Time India Learnt Its Lessons

Indian juniors’ disappointing show in the World Cup has again underlined the fact that developing grassroots was the key to success. In a fast changing world, ‘Promoting Indian Hockey’ again looks relevant after six years and commands the urgency to put into use within a more contemporary framework. India coach Gregg Clark, a quiet and methodical man, was heartbroken with the poor execution of skills and intelligence by his players…


hockey-important-that-indiaAfter India’s disappointing exit even before the quarterfinals of the junior World Cup hockey tournament in front of the home crowd, one is compelled to reflect on the times when Bob Davidzon was pursuing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Hockey Federation (FIH)-backed ‘Promoting Indian Hockey.’ It was a unique programme aimed at the wholesome development of Indian hockey, including attention to key areas such as better forward planning, cohesion of national and international tournaments and initiatives at grassroots level, etc.

Quiet death
The FIH changed hands, the National federation was in a state of flux amidst controversial circumstances and the bureaucratic teeth of the Government worked overtime as the ambitious project died a quiet death. According to a veteran hockey observer, “To the FIH, after the commercial success of the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, India suddenly looked greener than the newly-laid pitch of the iconic Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium. And priorities changed.” Technical advisor Ric Charlesworth’s unceremonious exit in 2008 had set a bad precedent. Foreign coaches came and went and Indian hockey remained static. “The right way to use the foreign expertise is to prepare the Indian coaches for future,” said twice Olympic champion Dutch player Jacques Brinkman.
Indian juniors’ disappointing show in the World Cup has again underlined the fact that developing grassroots was the key to success. In a fast changing world, ‘Promoting Indian Hockey’ again looks relevant after six years and commands the urgency to put into use within a more contemporary framework. India coach Gregg Clark, a quiet and methodical man, was heartbroken with the poor execution of skills and intelligence by his players.
After a tough game against the Netherlands, won by a narrow 3-2 margin, the Indian team never learnt its lessons…Apprehension of the outcome weighed heavy on their minds than the primary necessity of sticking to fundamentals. Belgium is growing as the next big thing in hockey, both at senior and junior levels, because of the system in place and patience shown by the authorities concerned for 13 long years. France too is catching up because of its systematic approach. Experts believe it is time India, an eight-time Olympic champion, learnt its lessons.
–The Hindu


India Should Stop Changing Coaches: FIH President
India should stop changing coaches if it wants to reclaim its position as one of the world’s best teams, the President of the international field hockey federation said Monday. “There has to be a continuity in the coaching staff,” FIH president Leandro Negre said on the sidelines of an event to announce the schedule of the inaugural Hockey World League final in New Delhi from Jan. 10-18. “There’s no way a team can develop if coaches keep changing every now and then.” Eight-time Olympic gold medallist India, which has struggled at the world level recently, experimented with several coaches, including four foreigners in the past six years…The FIH president also felt the junior system needs to develop a better feeding mechanism.
“There are 27 hockey academies in India and there is the need to take advantage of that, to develop good under-14 and under-16 teams. India seems to be improving its domestic structure in the past few years but a lot still needs to be done,” Negre said.
“There was not much enthusiasm for the tournament because India did not do well but I know for sure that hockey is still very important for people here. It’s the only country that can host so many competitions and it’s important that India does well,” Negre said…India won its only World Cup in 1975 and the last of its eight Olympic gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Games. The team failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished last in London last year.

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