Retired Indian Hockey Players Turn To Coaching

Former hockey gamers Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and Tushar Khandker.
Former hockey gamers Prabhjot Singh, Deepak Thakur and Tushar Khandker.When Tushar Khandker started his worldwide profession within the early 2000s, dribbling the ball alongside the carpet was nonetheless thought-about one among hockey’s final abilities. By the time his days with the nationwide staff acquired over, after a 12-year profession, that artistry was making approach for sorcery. The dribble was shortly changing into passé and hockey, as an alternative, was going ‘3D’. More and extra gamers have been studying to raise the ball off the turf and dribble it within the air whereas persevering with to dash concurrently (the artwork of adjusting the route of the ball mid-air creates an phantasm of types, therefore the identify ‘3D’).

Today, even that has turn into a primary talent. “Hockey is changing every four-five years nowadays,” Khandker says. “And we have to keep adapting to all these changes.” Adapting to modifications hasn’t actually been India’s power. Indian hockey has been notoriously sluggish in responding to virtually each change that has been launched within the sport over the past 5 a long time and watching home hockey is usually akin to indulging in time journey.

Now, Khandker and his contemporaries are attempting to carry a couple of change. Almost two dozen women and men gamers, who’ve all retired over the past decade, are going by way of Hockey India and International Hockey Federation’s certification course of to turn into accredited coaches and provides a fillip to the eroding grassroots construction. The record of gamers wanting to show into coaches is lengthy: other than Khandker, his former India teammates Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Devesh Chauhan, Shivendra Singh, Bharat Chetri, Gurbaj Singh, Sameer Dad, Vickram Kanth and Girish Pimple are a few of the gamers who’ve undertaken the course together with 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallists Pritam Siwach, Sanggai Chanu and Helen Marry, amongst others.

During the lockdown, the 32 males and 23 ladies’s staff gamers within the core group for the Tokyo Olympics attended a primary course on-line as a part of Hockey India’s bold try and formalise India’s teaching pyramid. Since the method was launched in April 2019, roughly 650 coaches have gone by way of the certification programme, in keeping with Hockey India’s high-performance director David John.

“It is by design (to have recently-retired and current players into the coaching programme). The idea is to give them an early introduction to see whether they like this and then it is their choice,” John says.

Like in most different areas, India has woken up late to the idea of getting the gamers into teaching. In the Netherlands, for instance, it is not uncommon for senior membership or nationwide staff gamers to educate the junior groups concurrently whereas enjoying. It is analogous in Australia as properly, the place the gamers start teaching whereas having an lively profession. Hence, it is not uncommon to see just-retired gamers taking over senior roles with completely different nationwide groups: as an example, 34-year-old Chris Ciriello, who performed for Australia on the 2016 Olympics, is at the moment the analytical coach of the Indian males’s staff.

India, alternatively, has made its aversion to investing in coaches apparent over time. That Graham Reid was the twenty sixth males’s staff coach in 25 years when he was appointed in May 2019 exhibits the entire lack of expertise of the pinnacle coach’s function. At the identical time, growing home coaches has by no means been a precedence till now; a proven fact that many say is the explanation for the nationwide staff’s relentless slide for the reason that mid-Nineteen Seventies.

Getting up-to-date

Despite having produced some world-class gamers, one can rely on fingertips the variety of player-turned-coaches who’ve made an influence since India gained its final Olympic medal in 1980 – MK Kaushik, Rajinder Singh Senior, Vasudevan Baskaran and Harendra Singh. “We all assume great players become great coaches but that’s not always the case,” John says.

While mere certification won’t be the magic bullet, John says it is going to assist create a cohesive enjoying type throughout the nation, particularly on the sub-junior stage, and assist Indian coaches get up-to-date with fashionable hockey’s programs and terminologies. John says the purpose is to develop an total enjoying philosophy that will likely be carried out bottom-up, and inside that construction, give the home groups the area to take care of their very own type. “Having been to four national championships, I have seen very little difference between the teams in the way they prepared and were coached… no change in patterns or style or structure in any of the teams really,” John says.

He cites rolling substitutions for example. “In international hockey, we make 60-80 rotations in a match so the players are very familiar to be changed every 2-3 minutes whereas in domestic hockey, it’s seen as a slight if a player is made to change.”

Khandker, who was India’s assistant coach on the Rio Olympics, says the teaching programme has given him an thought about coping with participant accidents, restoration, psychological points and man-management. There are different seen modifications as properly.

For occasion, on the National Championships in Gwalior two years in the past, Khandker, one of many coaches of the Petroleum Sports Promotion Board staff, stationed himself on high of a water tank close to the bottom to supply tactical inputs to Devesh Chauhan, who was dealing with the dugout. This function – extraordinarily vital in fashionable hockey because it offers a chicken’s-eye view of the match – is pretty widespread internationally in addition to membership hockey elsewhere however only a few home groups in India do it due to lack of personnel within the teaching staff in addition to lack of expertise.

A number of present coaches have a diploma from the National Institute of Sport in Patiala. “That gave an overall perspective on coaching. The current programme gives me specific insights on hockey coaching,” says Pritam Siwach.

The 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has been operating an academy in Sonepat and has produced a number of gamers from the area. Siwach says she has made ‘small but important changes’ to her type. “When a young child comes, I don’t give her a hockey stick. Instead, for the first few weeks, she plays football and/or relays. It takes the pressure off them and they can put to use their learnings from other sports in hockey,” she says.

Following sports activities apart from hockey is a key component of the programme. “It’s also important they watch Pro League matches and see if other countries use patterns and systems which we aren’t using in India,” John says.

The complete objective of the train, John provides, is to create a pool of Indian coaches who’re properly versed with the most recent guidelines and techniques, and never essentially to cut back India’s reliance on international consultants. In the final decade, Harendra has been the one Indian coach to have taken cost of the nationwide males’s staff.

“Belgium is world number one and they don’t have a Belgium-born coach coaching any of their teams, men or women,” John says. “With a foreigner, you get a good viewpoint. (Legendary Australian coach) Ric Charlesworth always had a European on his coaching staff to get a perspective when they were playing a European opponent. (But) it’s important to have a good representation of Indians on coaching panels. Going forward, their positions will get senior, and that’s good for Indian hockey.”



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