Thursday, March 31, 2011

7 reasons why kids don't play hockey in India

Well let me start by the usual talk about Indian hockey. Hockey is our national game, we have won 8 Gold medal in Olympics, blah blah blah blah blah, India led in hockey till 1980s blah blah blah blah blah. But now very few people watch or follow Indian hockey. I as a hockey fans used to blame cricket for hockey downfall, but then cricket is not the reason for hockey's downfall. There are other reasons why kids (from whom we expect to take India back to glory) don't take up hockey anymore. Here are 7 reasons why kids don't pick up hockey anymore:

1. Hockey is costly game 
Yes, hockey is a costly game. It is easier to arrange one stick and a ball (cricket) or just one ball (in football) then to arrange 20 sticks for a 11 a side game. And India where there are not many well to do families, it is hard to arrange hockey sticks, and not to forget goal-keeping equipment. So kids now days do not take hockey as it is a costly game. 
2. Hockey is a tough game to learn
Apart from being costly it is also tough game to learn with hundreds of rules, like obstructions, free hits, 5 mtr rule, raised ball and many more. Who is patient enough to learn and master the rules.
3. Hockey is a tough game to play
Hockey cannot be played with rubber balls or plastic balls, it is played with cork balls better known as turf balls. They are bit heavy and hard which increases the chances of injuries for the players if rules are not followed properly. And parents won't also allow their kids to play hockey with the risk of getting heard. This is one of the major factors why kids don't pick hockey.
4. There are not enough coaches
I don't know where are hockey coaches in India? I got a mail from coach of Denmark  women's team and he wanted to learn Indian style of hockey and asked me to suggest some good schools where hockey is played. Well I could not suggest him anything. I contacted 2-3 players but they did not reply. There is great dearth of hockey schools and coaches in the country. The coach I had in school used to train 2 more schools and it used to be a great sight when two of his teams used to play against each other.  He used to side with the school which paid him more, in our case it used to be opposite team. Which brings me to another point, no one wants to coach at school level, as it does not pay.
5. There is not enough money in hockey
It is well known fact that hockey is not a good career option for students as it does not pay. Parents today want their kids to go for those career options which pay well and hockey is not one of them. Even the current players have to go for strike in order to get their match fees. And add to that, its the sponsors who come to the rescue as compared to the administrators.
6. There is no coverage
India's favorite marketing strategy, "Jo dikhta hai, vo hi bikta hai". Hockey is not seen on TV or internet so it does not sell. Sultan Azlan Shah is starting from next month and there is no news about the coverage of the tournament. Today kids learn things from watching TV, but hockey is nowhere seen on TV, so kids today don't even know what hockey is? TV became popular in India in the 1980s by the time Indian hockey had messed Asian Games while Indian cricket won World Cup, which soared cricket ratings in TV. And the TV channels followed cricket (not to blame them, they are in business to earn money, which cricket gives) and hockey was left behind.
7. Government does not care
Today a PIL was filed in the Mumbai High Court in which MoS has been asked to submit a report regarding the money allocated to sports except cricket. PIL says that, government only promotes cricket and not other sports. It is a commonly known that government does not support hockey. I for one do not know the reason. If the government is not ready to solve the problems of hockey and promote the game how will the game be promoted. I saw the audited accounts of Hockey India and net income is 6 crores. What can hockey do with 6 crores, it needs 100 crores for development. Hockey India spent just 1 crore in promotion of hockey. 1 cr is not going to do anything.If the Government is not ready to take the initiative, how can hockey be promoted?

There might be 100 more reason, but these are some of them which has to be looked into and come out with a solution to promote hockey among kids.

4 comments:

  1. I don't quite seem to agree that there is a dearth of coaches in our country , ask me and I can pinpoint at a few myself.

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  2. Will sort of again not agree to the game being costly ,I can play hockey in the street without any guard as people play sort of (say)relaxing games(like Gully cricket with rubber balls). I think you are missing the point of professionalism in any game , professional cricket players have to bear a burden of expense of entire kit , likewise for other games with an exception of football or a few else and also playing football carries a risk of injuries so why play football ??
    The answer is plain and simple : Exposure (be it global or local) and fame for games like football and cricket are much more than what hockey carries and the fact (read misconception)that football or cricket players are "COOL" plays a mojor part in it.

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  3. There are coaches but not at every nook and corner of the country and certainly there aren't many experts of hockey as compared to other games. And we cannot play hockey on the streets, people will let anyone play hockey on the streets, I for one was never allowed to play. You will smash the windows, you will hurt someone, and playing hockey with tennis or rubber balls absolutely absurd. Hockey is a costly game, cheap sticks are broken within a week or two (those sold at Big Bazaar). Every sport carry risk on injury, that does not mean stop playing. It means protect yourself and then play

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  4. yes true reasons

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