Walsh urges India to embrace changes Featured

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 08:37

Rolling substitution has been an integral part of modern hockey, and when high performance director Roelant Oltmans said that India had made 68 interchanges in the final of the recent Asia Cup against South Korea, most in the audience — that included a group of hockey coaches — at the Mumbai Hockey Association Limited-organised clinic were suprised.
Oltmans’ words was greeted with a sense of bewilderment and the same emotion reflected on the face of newly-appointed chief coach of the senior team Terry Walsh, who opined that Indian coaches should not be reluctant to make use of the available rule on the domestic level.
“Jamie Dwyer plays for 35-40 minutes and it still appears that he has been on the pitch for long because every time he plays, he is able to give his best,” said Walsh to drive home his point.
Oltmans added that Sardar Singh, one of the finest midfielders in the world, is too prone to committing errors if he does not get a breather. “Modern hockey is a fast and demanding game. We have to make sure we are able to sustain physical demands of the game and have players who can discharge their duties with full responsibilities throughout the game.
“Before I took over, Sardar played for 65 minutes in every game in every tournament and then he is not able to perform while his opponents are fresh. The best players too need a break and the mentality of having them on the field all the time needs to change,” said Oltmans.
Mincing no words about Indian team’s poor defence, Oltmans, who is travelling the length and breath of the country to coach the coaches, shared his vision. “For me, the game is either about possession or non-possession. When we have the ball, we are all attackers. Be clever and get into attacking positions.
“When we do not have the ball, open up play, close down opponents, push down the field and regain the ball,” he said.
The Dutchman said when possession is lost, the players need to stick to a plan. “Everyone needs to take their position and work as a team to gain the ball back. The collective energy must be spent in getting it back.”
Walsh, meanwhile, said that India need to wake up to changes around them.
“Today the world has moved away from India in terms of tactics and technique. We have excellent skills but we need to observe how we must change. To implement the change is the biggest challenge facing us.”

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