Coach's Corner - Shiv Jagday (2010)
For more coaching information, visit www.coachshiv.com
Given below are a series of questions that help frame the focal point of this article - Why is India not successful in world hockey?
- Which country has the most number of hockey players in the world?
- Which country has the most number of hockey academies and sports schools in the world?
- Which country's federation spends the most money on its yearly hockey program?
- Which country's federation sends its hockey teams to the most number of foreign tours?
c. Career Opportunities
- Which country has the most public and private sector companies with hockey teams in the world?
- Which country has the most full time paid hockey players in the world, employed solely for their hockey skills?
- Which country has the most full time paid hockey coaches in the world?
- Which country has the most corporate sponsors for hockey in the world?
- Which country has the highest monetary value of hockey sponsorship in the world?
- Which country has the most television viewers and highest television ratings for international hockey matches
- Which country has the most journalists covering the sport of hockey in the world?
- Which country has hockey an honoured status as the 'National Game'?
- Which country has its most powerful political leaders - the prime minister, sports minister, chief ministers - taking personal interest in the game?
- Which country has hockey players treated like celebrities, and who mingle with movie stars?
With the exception of perhaps a couple questions, the answer to most of the above questions is India. If that is the case, why is India not a successful hockey playing nation?
If success is defined as being consistently ranked in the top 4 of the FIH world rankings, by that criteria, Indian hockey is an utter and abject failure. In the last 30 years, India has not made it to the semi-finals of the Olympics or World Cup, and has not won any medal in the Champions Trophy.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
There are multiple causes to India's downfall in world hockey. Some of them are listed below, and are self explanatory.
- Deteriorating technical skills, poor match temperament and and evaporating self-belief
- Too much infighting and mud slinging. There are groups within the team, groups within the officials, groups within the federation.
- Inability to blend the best of two styles of play - European and Asian - the way Australia has done with outstanding results
- Lack of uniformity in playing style and coaching across various age levels - right from sub junior level to the senior level
- No long term athlete development programmes and coach development programmes in place
- Decline of the National Institute of Sports (Patiala), where the legendary Dhyan Chand and Balkrishan Singh mentored, educated and developed top class coaches
- Zero contribution by former Indian players in player and coaching development
WHAT INDIAN HOCKEY NEEDS
- Goal-oriented Planning - both short-term and long-term
- Coach development and education
- Athlete tactical and strategic development
- Hockey Management, run by Professionals
Hockey India needs a leader with a vision, passion, power, knowledge and the knack of getting the things done. Two former IHF presidents come to mind - Ashvini Kumar and Kanvar Pal Singh Gill. Both of them, incidentally, were Director General of Police - Punjab, and both ran the Indian hockey affairs effectively - to a certain degree.
In addition to a leader, what Indian hockey needs is a full-time Chief Executive Officer, who has a proven background in a multinational corporation or a sports management firm.
It is sincerly hoped that the above corrective actions are taken for the betterment of Indian hockey. This decline and fall of Indian hockey, and the inability by India to win a single world class tournament in three decades, has resulted in the loss of a generation of hockey fans, shrinking player base, drying up of corporate sponsorship, and other sports rising up in popularity to take hockey's place.
World hockey needs India to rise and shine again. What is good for Indian hockey is ultimately good for world hockey.