Why Indian Hockey Needs A Foreign Coach?




Indian Hockey

Indian Hockey

In the entire history of Indian hockey there have been only two foreign coaches, impressive Jose Brasa and unimpressive German Gerhard Rach (Ric Charlesworth cannot be included as he was an advisor to the team). Rach was the first foreigner to coach Indian team for the period of 5 months and his tenure was nothing short of a fiasco for Indian hockey on the other hand Jose Brasa’s tenure has brought great moments for Indian hockey. When he first saw Indian team playing on field, Indian team had lost to Pakistan. After the game he made a promise that during his tenure Indian team will not lose to Pakistan. And till the end of his tenure he kept the promise and Indian team convincingly beat Pakistan.

Recent talks by the federation and selectors have brought a question: national/local coach or a foreign coach. No doubt that Indian hockey has produced great players but great players do not make great coaches. And Indian hockey is missing the developmental stage of building coaches out of players. Indian coaches still stick to the traditional methods of coaching.

Today’s hockey is very different as compared to earlier days. It is fast and tactical hockey. Indian coaches are good and there is no doubt about that but they lack strategic approach to play the game. Indian coaches come short in terms of applying tactics which is needed most to coach national teams in order to compete against the likes of Australia, Netherlands, and Germany etc.

Of we look at the game under former (read:  Indian) coaches, it has been just all out attack. The team expected the forwards to dodge and score goals with no help from mid-field. Indian hockey had great mid-field players in recent times, Ignace Tirkey, Vikram Pillay and also Baljit Singh Dhillon but they were not put to use properly. And today forwards cannot take on 3-4 players on their own, unless you are Danraj Pillay.

In comparison look at European teams who have great fitness level, solid defence and total teamwork, the penalty corner variations. Before that Indian or let us say Asian hockey was full of attack. The players used to go for attack and forgetting the defensive duties. But in total contrast is European hockey which works on counter attack and defence. European hockey is more of a passing game which allows them to create spaces, which Indian style hockey of hockey is totally based long passes to the forwards and hoping that they score goals.

Despite knowing all these facts no Indian coach is ready to change their style of coaching and adopt a style suitable to play with European teams. On the other hand these European coaches with their scientific techniques form a mix of Indian and European style of hockey to suit Indian players. We have seen this in the tenure under Jose Brasa. Now going for Indian coach will be step backward for Indian hockey with Olympic Games qualification looming around.

A foreign coach can give Indian players the basic technique they lack along with good fitness levels and smart play. Indian hockey is long due for medal but it still needs a lot of work. And looking at the today’s scenario when hockey is dominated by Australians and the likes of Dutch and German the only way to beat them is to beat their own game and who else can a foreign coach with experience can teach India to do it.

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Jimmy Bhogal

Author:

Loves Hockey, Lives Hockey.

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