On Tuesday I was at the Hockey Stadium in Chennai where the Six nation Champions Trophy hockey match is in progress currently. There were three matches to be played that day, first one between Netherlands & Spain, 2nd between Indian & Australia, 3rd between Pakistan & Germany.
The results were in the media so let me not talk about other matches except of course India’s match.
India had won its earlier match against Pakistan and there was lot of hope in the crowd, But, Australia was the winner from the moment the game started what with a goal scored right in the first minute.
What differentiated the two sides?
1) Indians look half the size of Aussies not in height but in physique
2) Aussies were more fit than Indians. As soon as the earlier match was over Aussies came for practise, Indians were not to be found.
3) Aussies practised really hard, taking short runs and doing a mock dribbling. Indians just hit few balls to the goalkeeper and found the net.
4) After 10mins of practise Indians went back to their area but Aussies were still there practising.
5) After the toss and completing the customary walk to the middle, Aussies took another sshort runs from the D-Line to the half. Indians were just discussing strategy.
6) During the course of the match, Indians were finding it diffcult to run from one end to the other (of course it is tough, but you guys chose to play).
7) Whenever Indians take the ball from their side to the Aussie side, the moment they loose the ball not everyone is able to return to the base and put up a defense.
8) When Indians get hold of the ball, they keep it and search to whom to pass. On the other hand when the Aussies take control of the ball, the player in possession runs so fast to the other side with 2-3 backing up. He then while running checks for unmarked person and passes the ball. The speed with which each player runs is amazing.
The problem with Indian team is:
1) Most of the guys are young, so it would require some more exposure to International matches
2) Young guys should be practising hard, not take things for granted
3) Guys are not interested in keeping themselves in top form of physical fitness, once they get into the team life is made
4) Players are not able to get field goals
What the coach should do:
1) Every player irrespective of age should run for about 2hrs in the morning
2) Do workout in the gym after running for another 1hr
(First be physically fit, everyone has got the hockey skills)
3) Practise hard, practise everyday
What the Hockey federation can do:
1) Include a foreign coach along with Indian coach
2) Get a think tank team like Indian cricket team
3) Get a fitness expert who can grill the players into exercises
4) A psycho-analyst would also help to prevent players from falling into excessive drinking and smoking
If the Hockey federation can pick up few of things and get moving things would fall into place. I would personally recommend Dhanraj Pillay to be the teams fitness expert and part coach.