Hockey structure in India is stricken by cancer: Horst Wein

By Abhishek Roy

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Horst Wein is known in the world of hockey as much as he is in football, a rare multi-faceted character. The legendary coach has a piece of advice for Indian players: Focus more on the mental aspects of the game.

“No doubt, Indian players are extremely talented, but they lack hockey intelligence.

“Hockey has become a thinking game. Take a look at Saturday’s game between Australia and Spain. Australia were up 1-0 in the first half and Spain, though they lost, played cleverly to reduce the pace of the game. That is what you call intelligent hockey,” said the 61-year-old German, a master coach of International Hockey Federation (FIH).

A professor of physical education at Technical University of Munich and the National Institute of Physical Education in Barcelona, Wein feels the decline of eight-time Olympic champions in international hockey is due to the lack of vision of those “who are running the game in the country”.

“I am sorry to say, but it is a fact that people who are running the game in India don’t have a vision. There is no hockey structure.

“Here right from young age they are playing 11 against 11, which is a cancer in Indian hockey. If you are playing eight-year-olds in a match of 11 against 11, then half the boys in the side don’t even get a chance to touch the ball with the stick,” says Wein, who guided the Spanish men’s team to an Olympic silver medal.

Wein, an author of 34 sports-related books, mainly on hockey and football, says a sound youth development programme is needed for India.

“Eight-year-olds should play three-a-side game while 10-year-olds should be engaged in five-a-side and the 11 year- olds should play six-a-side. When you reduce the number of players, the kids automatically get the chance to play more and that helps them in understanding the game better. This is the best way to develop them mentally,” says the foremost mentor of coaches and trainers.

Wein, whose revolutionary football principles are taught to youth football coaches of FC Barcelona, says India badly needs good coaches.

“India have a great coach in Jose Brasa. Hockey India should organise more camps for the coaches, where he can teach the modern techniques in international hockey,” says the Guru, whose footprints can be seen in over 50 countries.

Wein is willing to work with both Indian hockey and football federations, and insists that a professional approach is needed to change the sports structure in the country.

–Indo-Asian News Service


( 436 Words)