Sunday, April 15, 2012

Five steps Indian hockey should take to reach the top

Ranked 10th in the world, Indian hockey is far behind top nations of the world and the way Indian hockey is going (despite winning Olympics Qualifiers) reaching the pinnacle of world hockey will still be a dream. Here are five steps that Indian hockey should take reach back to the top of world hockey.

Need to forget the glorious past for better future

1. Forget the past

The first major thing that Indian hockey officials, players and also the fans should do is stop boasting about the glorious past of Indian hockey. If you ask anyone about Indian hockey, they will say about the glorious past and eight gold medals. These things looks good only in books and for today's players it only creates pressure of winning the gold. We should not dump past glory on the shoulders of the players and allow them to play freely without any pressure. So, we need to forget all about the glorious past and and start fresh and new chapter of Indian hockey. The old tales about how we were the kings will only create pressure among the players and we won't be able to perform well with all that pressure.

2. Stop training camps

One big question that hockey officials needs to answer is what is the point in conducting month long hockey camps when we still lose to top 6 teams on regular basis. In training camps, the players play between themselves and know the strengths and weakness of the each other. Knowing the strengths and weakness of own players is no doubt important but more important is knowing the strengths and weakness of opposition and in that training camps does not help. Only time training camps should be conducted is at the start of the season when the players and rusty and need to get back in shape after a period of rest. The players cannot be expected to gain anything from these training camps is they keep on facing same players every day.

3. Play more international matches
The best way to learn about the opposition is by playing against them. Hockey India should conduct tours and organize various tournaments so that players (youngsters and seniors) get exposure from playing against opposition and find out their strengths and weakness. In India we do not have league tournament which will give the players match experience and keep them fit. India needs to play more matches in order to improve and reach the top of world hockey

4. Dump the selectors

In the top European countries matters over team selection and captaincy is handled by the chief coach and the coaching staff but in India (include Pakistan too) its the selectors who take all the team selection and captaincy decision and then ask the coach to win medals and the tournaments. If you are appointing and asking him to win medals and tournaments, give him a right to select the team according to his own needs. Playing penalty corner experts with poor defending skills will not help the team in winning tournaments when the team needs an out and out defender. Coach should be given the right to select his own team and captain and then the board should only judge his performance after that. Giving him an opportunity to select his own players will yield more success than giving him players of selectors choice and ask him to work on them.

5. Conduct league tournaments

League tournaments like World Series Hockey are very important for the success for the national team. All the top hockey playing nations have their own league tournaments and when the players are not national duty, they turn out for their local club side and keep themselves fit and improve their game. India also needs a league tournament which runs for at least six months. The league will help India hockey by bringing out new players, keep the fans happy and also help them fit for the international tournaments.

Indian hockey needs to come out from past shadows and work on the future of the tournament. Hockey India should take cue from top European nations and learn how they function. Learning from top teams will surely help Indian teams reach the top

2 comments:

  1. Good one especially on the long term camps... also test matches in hockey seems to be thing of past...regular test series with top teams is an need of an hour.. a systematic schedule for the calender should be prepared...but issue is who cares...there is no foresightedness in the people who govern the game..

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  2. We need to play more international Hockey matches and tournaments. Hockey India also needs to make proper planning to maintainn the momentum in India.

    Hockey India also need to keep aside politics with IHF and should work for the upliftment of Hockey jointly. More like WSH type tournaments need to be promoted.

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