Q: How can Indian hockey be saved?
This is the third instalment of readers’ response.

Prepare well in advance

WE are rich in human and material resources, we have talent, but we are poor managers. Our hockey has touched its lowest ebb because it is managed poorly. In spite of having the National Institute of Sports (NIS), the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and federations like the IHF, we are continuously loosing.

To save Indian hockey and to take it to pristine glory, first of all, the administration and management of hockey need to be completely overhauled. Secondly, the approach should be sincere and professional. Foreign coaches should be hired to teach our players the latest techniques of the game.

Team selection and preparatory camps should be well in advance of international events. World-class infrastructure and equipment, as well as adequate financial support, and nutritional diet are necessary. There should be a policy of rewards for winners with adequate financial compensation. Research should also be conducted to identify the key areas for improvement and also for technical recommendations.

PURAN SINGH, Chandigarh

Give more exposure

The recent all-time low performance in the Asian Games in Doha in hockey has stunned all hockey lovers. Immediate steps should be taken to restore our position in this game. Nothing concrete will happen by changing the hockey federation set-up and coaches, we should minutely monitor the causes of our fall by viewing videos of the Asian hockey matches. Some of the drawback's, which surface again and again in such matches, should he curbed in the future. A glaring drawback of our team, as compared to other countries, is the lack of proper trapping of the passes in the crucial stages of the match. Our players do not play hockey according to a game plan. Our game is very individualistic. We lack co-ordination. Our players also lack the killer instinct when the situation demands. For penalty corners, we have not been able to find a person like Prithipal Singh. Indian players commit unnecessary fouls in the penalty circle, thereby giving a golden chance to rival team to score. More exposure should be given to our players at the international level to restore their confidence.

Prof. J.B.S. NANDA, Ludhiana.

Focus on game, not medals

One can understand the public apathy towards hockey; but the way the media is downgrading this magnificent sport is shocking. I watched all the hockey matches figuring India at the Asiad. The matches against South Korea (1-1) and Malaysia (4-0) showed that India is a hockey power to be reckoned with. Although we narrowly lost to China (2-3), the team’s performance was superior to China. Never before had Indian forwards attacked so ferociously; only that day lady luck smiled on China.

Those who criticise this sport for failure to win medal at the Asiad forget that sports, especially soccer and hockey have become fiercely competitive and new players and national teams are appearing on the sporting horizon. Those who say that hockey is dying only betray a lack of awareness and sporting knowledge. In fact, hockey is very much alive.

GS JAIDKA, Chandigarh.

Sponsor individual players

To save the glory of Indian hockey, private companies should come forward and sponsor the players according to their positions that they play in the game, like goal keeper, full backs, half backs, centre forward and attackers. Such sponsorships will help to bring out more talented players forward. Companies should select their own players based on trials conducted by them. A particular company should compete for one position and prepare the players for that position only. Give the players better diet, playing facilities and job opportunities. Companies can use trainers from Indian hockey stars or foreign coaches. This will open new avenues for players and trainers. As hockey is our national game, the government should grant full rebate in tax to companies on the amount spent for preparing star hockey players.


Go back to school

Indian Hockey has been comatose for over a decade and the demise came in the Doha Asian Games. The two dozen or so former hockey stars who protested in Delhi were decrying worst ever show of Indian hockey.

Most spots lovers and former players blame the Indian Hockey Federation for the decline. The IHF is facing a countless allegations ranging from nepotism and lack of transparency to vendetta against players. To save our national game, the immediate step should be to dissolve IHF and appoint ad hoc committees which should have experienced hands. There should be plans to revamp sport bodies and encourage the sports activity at the level of schools and colleges, and to provide them good infrastructure, equipments and financial assistance. Only the experienced former hockey player can groom the talents.


Change the mindset

We need to inculcate sports culture in our society to emerge as a good sporting nation. Our approach towards sports has been lackadaisical. Be it hockey, football, boxing or athletics, the state of affairs is more or less same everywhere. Blaming government officials or ridiculing respective federations will hardly do us any good, it is time to shun our lethargical attitude towards sports and encourage the younger generation to take up sports as their calling.

Certainly, we need to spruce up our sports infrastructure evenly in villages towns and cities, but before that we need to ensure that whatever resources we have in our hand are put to optimum use.

It is the will to win and not the infrastructure that changes the scenario. Dhyan Chand, Milkha Singh and Dhanraj Pillai started off from a humble backgrounds, but their intensity to excel made them legends.

Dictatorial attitude, unfair selections, and shortcomings of players all imply that we do not take our sports seriously. Our collective consciousness needs to be sensitised towards the significance of sports on the world stage.

The chinks we see on the field are the result of blunders we commit off the field. It is not only for the players but for media, federations, administration and hockey lovers in the country who have to contribute their bit to raise the level of the game.

GAURAV, Chadhiyar

Use Indian coach

Firstly, the Indian Hockey Federation should be manned and headed by professionals only and not by politicians or bureaucrats. Secondly, selection of players should be impartial and merit-based. Thirdly, the coach should be the one who has made his name in the game — a pure Indian.

Dr S.C. DOHROO, Palampur

Have a rigorous selection process

The responsibility for improving hockey should be handed over to the Defence Department or handed over to some private company. Big reward should be declared by provided the team wins the Gold. India has talented players, but our tragedy is that we are unable to select to those who can really do well. Selection should be rigorous and impartial, just like in the IAS.


Upgrade the technology

Indian Hockey had tremendous victories in the past but at the Asian Games, the game hit an all-time low with the team failing to even make it to the semi-finals. I strictly consider the reason behind this is a need of technology up gradation. At present, sports are becoming highly competitive and faster paced. Instead of only having good, skilled players, there is an urgent need to build ultra-modern stadiums where the players can study the previous matches of the others teams.

Our players play well at domestic sports, but whenever there play against international teams, they fails to get awards. This implies that our players did not have the information regarding the other teams’ capabilities and their skills.


Give more Press coverage

We can improve hockey by giving the control of the hockey federation in the hands of experienced senior hockey player and not politicians. The incentives given to players and coaches should on the basis of the number of games won, and not on not yearly or monthly basis. Junior level hockey events should be organised more frequently and thus giving more exposure. These players should also be sent abroad. Hockey events should be given more media coverage and foreign coaches should be hired to help in sorting out problem of techniques and fitness level of players.


Play for the nation

First and foremost, there is an absence of the killer instinct in our players. They should remember that they are representing the nation that has a population of one billion. Therefore, they should play for the nation, rather than playing their personal game; as they are doing right now. Secondly, reins of the Indian Hockey Federation must be handed over to a former Olympian, so that he can put his experience and knowledge of skills into the game. Thirdly more Astroturf grounds should be laid to let the players have experience of playing on that surface. Fourthly, modern coaching techniques need to be adopted to enable our players to compete with the best of hockey-playing nation. Last, but not the least, the IHF should, at frequent intervals, organise international hockey tours, to give our players, more international exposure.

Prof DEV NOORPURI, Jalandhar

Start from school

Indian Hockey can be improved only by adopting following points. Hockey is a game of ground realities. We have to watch a hockey player from his school days. Dedication, love and spontaneous attachment to the game is the primary requirement of a player. The team spirit, cooperative behaviour and collective responsibility are also the traits of a good team and its players. Discipline, physical fitness, self confidence, mental alertness and capacity of judgement with keen eyes to the game and its situation must be of utmost quality.

Good and qualified coaches should be appointed to train such boys from the early start of the game. The selection must be fair and impartial. The game, at all costs, must be kept out of politics.

DAYA NAND, Charkhi Dadri

Verse version

Inconsistency is Indian Hockey’s bane,

It is not difficult to find out who is to blame,

Is it the selection policy of influential claim,

That will get in the Indian team your name,

One day we are bad, another day very good,

One day we are “Banta Singh” and

Another day “Tiger Wood”,

On our day we may beat best of the team,

Next day we lose to the teams in their teens,

We used to be good, full of skills,

Now we are down and full of ills,

Everyone wants to improve, but has no idea how,

Before it gets late, the time to act is now,

The talent is in abundance there is no dearth,

Let us not fool ourselves and come down to mother earth,

What we lack is fitness, skills and hockey sense,

To us the tactics and strategy make no sense,

We are always hoping for the best

To God we leave everything rest,

The solution lies in forming a “Think Tank”

Of players analytical, knowledgeable of some rank

They should analyse all the mistakes of the past,

Suggest ways and means to get to glory of the past.

Brig H.J.S. CHIMNI (retd), Noida



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