Going Dutch

The newly-formed partnership between India's head coach Terry Walsh and high performance director Roelant Oltmans has started to make it's presence felt in all levels of Indian hockey. In an attempt to bring an uniformity in the

way game is played across the country, and also create a systemetic process in developing the grassroots, the duo conducted a clinic for the city coaches on Sunday at the Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd (MHAL) premises.

Twenty five coaches turned up for the seminar, which was held hours before the Bombay Gold Cup final.

"The idea behind the session was to get the local coaches introduced to a

more professional stream of hockey so that they could in turn introduce it

at the grassroots level," says Vernon Lobo, former manager of Air India's

hockey team.

Oltmans and Walsh, who follow the Dutch philosophy, chose to address

two specific aspects: the importance of using rolling substitutions and focussing on player mentality.

"The coaches talked about how Indian hockey is still very traditional

and centered around only skills, and has not moved forward to introduce modern strategies," says Jasdev Singh, Western Railway team manager.

"They gave scientific details with what they said. They told us that players lose a lot of calories when they play at a 100 per cent, and as a result they can't perform well in the last 20 minutes of the game. Which is why we need to make use of the rolling substitution so that the players get a chance to rest and perform better in games," he says.

St Anne's School coach, Newman D'Souza goes further to explain. "It's all about keeping the players fresh and making sure all the players are getting good exposure. The example they gave was that Sardar Singh was made to play the entire game without a break because he was one of the best players in the team. What they said was we need to get out of the mind-set that only the best players will play, and keep making the substitutions so that the best players stay fresh, and the substitutes also get more game time and get better. We don't want to focus only one one or two of the best players, but make sure all 16 are at the same level" he concludes.

... contd.

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