CHENNAI: Conducting a coaching clinic is not something unheard of. Even the former Indian men’s hockey team coach Roelant Oltmans had been involved in a few conducted by state associations in the past. But in tangible terms, if one analyses the number of coaches to have climbed up the ladder to be at highest level, it wouldn’t be something that the country will be proud of.
The likes of V Baskaran, Harendra Singh, and Jude Felix were a few to leave a mark. Former national junior men’s coach Felix feels lack of proper courses and the job as such being physically demanding, are among reasons for a sparse number of local coaches at the top level. “The exposure wasn’t there,” said Felix, who is in the city for a three-day coaching clinic conducted by Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu.
“That could be one of the reasons why we don’t have many coaches. Proper courses weren’t there. Also, coaching comes as a passion. It’s a full-on job — whole body will be exhausted. Right from shouting in front of a group to being physically there on the field. If you are a former player that also helps. I’m surprised why many good players never went into coaching.”
In order to bridge this gap between international and Indian coaches, Hockey India (HI) launched a Coaching Education Pathway this March. The program aims at providing certification to those candidates who are coaches already or wish to pursue coaching as a career option.
While it is ‘never too late’ to have started it, Felix feels fast-tracking the program by identifying talent and nurturing them will be beneficial for Indian hockey.
“What I think they should rather do is have a quality high-performance coach to identify talent and fast track the program. They have got coaches coming and going in that pathway. It is good.
“But it will take a long time getting them ready. By the time they finish this and gain experience, it’s going to take a while to climb up the ladder and reach the top level. They can fast track the program and identify talented aspirants who have got the aptitude to coach,” said the former India captain.
Part of a coaching clinic in India for the first time, he is also of the belief that this state-level training is the need of the hour, wherein those from various districts are also given quality training.
“Coaching programs at this level will definitely develop coaches because here you have about 60 (52 coaches from 16 districts in Tamil Nadu are attending the Chennai clinic). If each one of them coaches 20 people, you already have quite a number of players. That’s the way you can look at it.
“Over 1000 players will be trained. It’s just in one part of the country now. If it’s done properly, all parts of the country will benefit. You have many players but there is a dearth of quality coaches,” said Felix who was also a part of a four-day coaching clinic held by Hong Kong men’s club team a few months back.