Players need to contain their excitement, says Streeder

India’s new analytical coach does not doubt the talent in the senior men's hockey team, but believes the team needs to learn to manage matches better. Hans Streeder, who worked with the Netherlands team at the Junior World Cup in Lucknow last year, joined the Indian set-up earlier this month as replacement for Roger van Gent.

Hans Streeder (left) in a discussion with chief coach Roelant Oltmans during the National camp at the Sports Authority of India in Bengaluru on Friday.   -  Shreedutta Chidananda

India’s new analytical coach does not doubt the talent in the senior men's hockey team, but believes the team needs to learn to manage matches better. Hans Streeder, who worked with the Netherlands team at the Junior World Cup in Lucknow last year, joined the Indian set-up earlier this month as replacement for Roger van Gent. “They have to learn to read the game; that's sometimes a problem,” the Dutchman said during the National camp at the SAI here on Friday. “When they score they are all happy; then the opponent will score in a minute. That's over-excitement; that's part of game management. They have to learn to control their emotions, and get back to the system.”

Streeder observed that while the team had been eager to play there was sometimes a loss of structure. “They are very skillful but not used to sticking to a certain drill. They want to be free and want to play. You give them four routines...they complete the first part of the drill and they are so happy they forget to go to the second part. You can only attack with an open mind when you know you're covered. That's something that needs attention. But they're willing to learn. They're so eager that sometimes you have to say, 'Guys, slow down.' Even when they have a tennis game on the pitch, they try to kill each other.”

Streeder was urged to apply for the job by Roelant Oltmans, India's chief coach. The two had worked together for the Dutch National team between 2004 and 2008, and again for UP Wizards for three years in the Hockey India League. Oltmans had tried twice before to bring the 58-year-old on board, but in vain. “I know how Roelant works, so he doesn't need to explain anything to me,” Streeder said. “When he looks at me, I understand what he wants.”

With the arrival of Streeder and Sjoerd Marijne, who is in charge of the women's team, three major coaching roles in Indian hockey are now occupied by Dutchmen. Streeder was at pains to emphasize, though, that he would not force a particular style of hockey on the players. “We have to respect the roots of Indian hockey,” he said. “It's one of the greatest things – the skill, the creativity. We have to be careful about that. We don't intend to play the German way of hockey, where everything is really organized and everyone knows exactly what to do. It's good for Germany, maybe good for the Dutch, but for Indians we don't believe that's good.”