SAI conducts workshop to streamline hockey coaching

With hockey becoming more and more technologically advanced and coaching getting intensive, coaches are also getting younger. Most of the coaches with top teams across the world are below the age of 50 and there has been a lot of emphasis in India as well on bringing younger, recently-retired players into the fold.

A three-day workshop on coaching was organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in association with Hockey India.   -  Special Arrangement

With hockey becoming more and more technologically advanced and coaching getting intensive, coaches are also getting younger. Most of the coaches with top teams across the world are below the age of 50 and there has been a lot of emphasis in India as well on bringing younger, recently-retired players into the fold.

As part of that, a three-day workshop on coaching was organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in association with Hockey India. The workshop, held from November 7-9 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here, saw more than 45 participants being instructed on various aspects of coaching and team management. The participants included Olympians, former players and coaches from various academies across the country.

The likes of Deepak Thakur, Adrian D'Souza, Sameer Dad, Devesh Chauhan and Vikram Pillay are all currently active on the domestic circuit for their respective employers. They, however, welcomed the move. “I think it was a great idea and personally, I loved attending the event. I think it is the first step towards streamlining the coaching structure in the country and bring the domestic game into the same scheme of things as the national side. The key would now be to ensure that all that was discussed is implemented across the academies and schools,” D'Souza told Sportstar.

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Incidentally, the likes of Arjun Halappa, Jugraj Singh, Dad and Tushar Khandker have already worked withh the national teams in recent times. "It was a basic, refresher course but very useful in case any player wants to get into coaching at some later stage," Dad added.

National High Performance Director David John explained the thought behind the event. “It was basically for the domestic coaches at academies, school and clubs/departments. We have identified roughly 100-odd coaches and the workshop was a mix of both theory and practicals with members of the national teams – Harendra Singh, Sjoerd Marijne, myself, video analyst Aditya – talking about our experiences, conditioning, selections etc,” he said.

Asked if this was a way to bring younger coaches into the structure, John agreed. “In the longer run and as and when there are openings, yes. We are looking at getting the younger players into coaching starting with the sub-junior level, spend maybe a couple of years there then graduate to the junior level and so on, progressing to the top in a systematic way. What we are looking at is not just bringing about a streamlining of the coaching structure but also provide a possible pathway to future coaching careers,” he added.

National Hockey Academy director MP Ganesh, who was among the faculty for the workshop, too welcomed the initiative. “It was a basic entry level course that dealt with all aspects of coaching, both physical and mental. There are more such workshops being planned across the country at various SAI centres and I hope it helps bring about a uniformity in the system,” Ganesh said.

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