Given the current state of hockey in the country, it was understandable that Hockey India chose the birth anniversary of Dhyan Chand to offer its apologies to the country for the the Indian team’s last-place finish in the London Olympics.
Sounding keen “not to repeat the mistakes committed in London”, the Hockey India Secretary-General Narender Batra on Wednesday announced the governing body’s decision to appoint a High Performance Manager (HPM) to whom the National coaches would report.
It was also decided to continue with the services of coach Michael Nobbs and physiologist David John. Batra maintained that the appointment of the HPM would not curtail Nobbs’s authority in any way.
“Call him a High Performance Manager or Director, many top hockey playing countries have this concept. He will oversee both men’s and women’s teams. We are in discussion with a chosen few and will make the appointment by mid-October,” he said.
List of tasks
Elaborating on the role of the HPM, Batra presented a list of tasks: strategic management, planning and financial management, national senior/junior high-performance programme, regional talent programme, high-performance facilities and infrastructure, staff development and management, monitoring and reviewing all major competitions while gaining inputs from all relevant stakeholders.
The high-performance programme involved physical conditioning, mental training, sports vision, sports biomechanics, game strategy and games awareness, injury prevention, video analysis, sports education, handling media, grooming and etiquette and mentoring programme.
Talking about the lack of performance in the London Olympics, he said, “at this point, I really don’t know what exactly went wrong. From whatever I’ve gathered from the coaches, players so far, I think the team just could not lift itself from the early losses. Perhaps, a good sports psychologist could have helped.”
HI owns responsibility
No wonder, a sports psychologist is also being appointed. Whether it is the HPM or a sports psychologist, “if the Sports Authority of India does not pay, HI will foot their bills,” affirmed Batra and continued, “the Government has done 110 per cent for the team. Whatever went wrong in London, HI takes full responsibility.
“We have received the reports from the coach and the support staff (on the Olympic performance) apart from five players. We are awaiting the reports from the remaining 11 players before the August 31 deadline. Thereafter, we will have one-on-one discussion followed by a group discussion to help us pin-point the shortcomings in our performances in London,” said Batra.
Efforts are also on to form a ‘development team’ to bridge the gap between the juniors (under-21) and the seniors. “We have decided to propose to the SAI to hold camps for 33 players in each section — juniors, development players and seniors, instead of 48 each in the junior and senior sections,” he said.
Looking ahead, Batra also revealed plans to hold all National championships as per schedule. “We will offer Rs. 16 lakh for the host of the senior Nationals, Rs. 15 lakh for the junior Nationals and a total of Rs. 13 lakh for the associations hosting the sub-junior Nationals (held on zonal basis).”