Mar 18, 2011

Things to learn from England Hockey

England who introduced the game of the hockey to the world were just another pushovers till the year 2005 when they were standing at 11th place in FIH World Rankings and India was in 6th position. In the year 2006, they climbed to 9th place and Indian team fell to 8th. By the end of the year 2007, the positions interchanged. England today are in the 4th position and they are the perfect example of hard work and commitment to improve. Not only from the players, but also from the officials who govern the game in their country. They have come out with specific objectives to and reached their goals.

On the other hand Indian hockey which is falling continuously from the year 2006. There are no clear long term objectives, forget about the accountability of the administrators of hockey. England team has used to great model to promote hockey as a premier sport and are getting better. Here are some things that Indian hockey should learn from England hockey

When you go through the website of England hockey, first thing you notice that England Hockey Board is limited by guarantee. It means that each member of the board agrees to maintain responsibility for company's sustainability. Each member is accountable for the decisions they take. To run a National Governing Body, there should be some responsibility on the shoulder of each and every member. England hockey has done that successfully with results showing in every area. Never heard in Indian hockey about some one taking responsibility.

Transparency is one of the major point in every organization. England hockey board is also a transparent body. They come out with proper set of objectives, the way they are going to achieve it and the outcome. They list every objective in the annual report what problems they faced in achieving those objectives and the the outcome of set objective. They publish their financial statements regularly (Hockey India has done it for the first time)

Improving communications
England Hockey came out with their own online TV channel, EHTV, where they show live games to the people and TV channel (Sky) has also shown national championships on TV. England hockey Board secured the rights from FIH for Champions Trophy 2010 which were streamed live, highlights of the tournament was shown by Sky and BBC handled news package of English Hockey. They improved their website which contains the information regarding the competition, clubs, public involvement etc. Indian fans were not able to watch Sultan Azlan Shah tournament and various test match that took place last year.

Use of social media
Facebook and Twitter are the buzz words today, more than 50% of people use Facebook and Twitter today, it is a great platform to know about current happenings. England hockey has both Facebook page and Twitter account which act as a great medium to interact with fans. In order to generate interest among the masses, Indian hockey should make a Facebook page and let the people know about the latest happenings in the Indian hockey and also interact with the fans. 

Road shows
Starting from the year 2006, England Hockey Board is conducting roadshows and invites children, their parents, coaches, umpires, players and administrators which gives the people chance to voice their opinions. People get chance to question the directors, voice their disagreements and give ideas about improving a particular area. This gives a great chance to the board to know more about the people and then they can take steps to improve hockey. We Indians are very good in giving advices and ideas, this will be a great way to improve hockey in the country. (Only if some one is ready to listen)

Developing club system
England has 990 hockey clubs and 200 more are coming up where they train young people to play hockey and develop them into hockey players. England knows only way of improving the standard is through club level tournaments (leagues), where players play continuously and learn to play it well. They have 4 divisions, for both men and women and the clubs provide good players to the English team. The board also helps the clubs by securing funding and giving them part of their own funds.

Developing infrastructure
Last year more than 2300 people participated in the first umpire coaching level in England and 780 passed the first level. But the shocking thing is 400 kids, between the age of 10-13 participated young umpire foundation which would really help them to become international standard umpire. Out of those 400, 200 were selected  for the second level. 990 clubs of England are supported by thousands of volunteers. There are more than 6000 umpires, who work exclusively for their own club, more than 4500 coaches, and 1500 other volunteers which help the club hockey. The volunteers only on weekends, the best volunteers are used for the international tournaments also. How many umpires does Indian team have in FIH, one may be, England has 5, an and there will be 100's of them in few years.

Starting with no sponsors few years back, England board has now more than 9 sponsors who fund them more than 250k pounds each. They also get funds from UK Sport, Sport England and National lottery. National lottery money comes directly from the people who play lotto, funds from UK Sports are used for developing grassroot level while the funds from Sport England are used for national and international tournaments. Indian hockey team has just one sponsors Sahara, Indian hockey needs to find more sponsors, starting from traveling and kit partners to clothes partners for the players. They are hockey players of India, it should be free to them. And the officials should not even hesitate to beg for sponsors if they want to be the best.
There are many things that can be added to this looking at the England's model of developing hockey. But Indian hockey has to start from the scratch but what Indian hockey needs the most is the interest of the officials in improvement.

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