Sunday, March 14, 2010

State of hockey in Pakistan & India

I live in England now and have realised why dont India & Pakistan do well in hockey anymore. Asian teams haven't done great in this Hockey World Cup, Pakistan finished 12th, India finished 8th & Korea Finished 6th...

This is the difference...
  • My Town
I live in Cambridge & hockey is quite popular here. Cambridge being a university town supports lots of competitive matches amongst colleges. There are kids from the age of 5 to the age of 50 year old veterans who play hockey. Mixed hockey, men’s hockey & women’s hockey are all equally popular.
  • Number of Turfs
The town has around 10-12 turfs. All these turfs are sand filled turfs and not water filled turfs. They are cheaper to install & maintenance of the turf is cheaper.
  • Who provides the turf?
Some turfs are installed by the local council and some by private schools. The turfs installed in most private schools are of great quality (but not world class level). So clubs hire them after school hours.
  • How many clubs in my town?
There are around 3 big clubs in Cambridge town and 10 small clubs outside the Cambridge city area (in villages). Each club has around 3-4 men’s teams and 2-3 women’s teams. Big clubs like Cambridge City Hockey Club have more teams. Cambridge University also has around 5 (men’s & women’s) teams and they play in the English Hockey league as well.
  • How many Teams in my club
There are 4 men’s teams & 2 women’s teams. The best team plays in the 3rd league & 2nd best team in the 4th league and so on. There are 12 teams in each league.
  • When does the season start?
The season starts in the last weekend of September & end in the last weekend of March. 6 months of proper competitive hockey. We played 11 home matches & 11 away matches. The teams in the league are chosen in such a way that any team doesn’t have to travel 100 miles on a given day.
  • How many leagues? How many teams in each league?
England hockey leagues are segmented in 4 zones. NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST. Each zone is then segregated into sub zones.
I play in the South Zone. And in the south zone my league is in North West division. I play in the 4th division of South Zone (NW Division). There are 12 teams in my league.
So if you can imagine there around 60 leagues running at the same time in England. The number of people playing hockey every weekend is around 8500. (60 leagues X 12 teams X 12 members of each team).
So there is an enormous pool of players from which the best 15 players can be chosen to represent England in the world level tournaments. Imagine this thing happening in Pakistan or India?
  • What does the club do during off season?
In off season; that is from April to September, we play evening mixed hockey & friendly matches with local teams. This keeps the team fit & also helps ourselves play some amount of competitive (& fun filled ) hockey.
  • How does England deliver a good team every year?
Look at the number of people who play regular competitive hockey every year. Getting 11 best players who can represent from that pool isn’t difficult.
  • And why can't India deliver that kind of team?
There are not many Astros. The state governments don’t have any plans to set up Astros. The city commissioners don’t have any budget for sports. Not enough tournaments (forget about the leagues). No proper training has been given to coaches. No proper training to umpires.
There are not enough players from where you can choose the best 11. A pool of 100 players is needed, from where the world level 11 players can be chosen.
Aussies use GPRS to see how each player’s movement was when the game started from the 16 yard line. Pakistani or Indian coaches haven’t even imagined about the existence of such a thing!
There is no motivation for Indian players to do well. There is no fun in hockey any more. You need to enjoy hockey to keep yourself motivated.
Also no one knows the quality of players selected to represent India, there is no formal process. How do you decide these players are good enough to represent India if there aren't any competitive competitions?
1000 different reasons of recent failure.
Fingers must be pointed at the Government of India, Sports Ministry, Sport Authority of India, Hockey federation of India and Hockey Federations of each state for the abysmal performance.
Very frustrated and sad about the state of hockey in Pakistan & India.

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