Hockey

Need to get better in finishing, says men’s hockey team coach Graham Reid

Dreaming big: With the Olympic qualification sewed up, women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne says that the aim would be for the most beautiful coloured medal, gold.

Dreaming big: With the Olympic qualification sewed up, women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne says that the aim would be for the most beautiful coloured medal, gold.  

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Sjoerd Marijne, women’s team coach, to put in more work on the mental conditioning for the women

The Indian men and women hockey teams booked their tickets to Tokyo Olympics in contrasting fashion, not so much in the margin of their victories as the manner of those victories and the quality of opposition they were up against.

And that would have given both Graham Reid, in charge of the men, and Sjoerd Marijne leading the women’s charge several points to ponder in the next 10 months. While the men smashed an aggregate of 11-3 against minnows Russia, the dominance that was expected from a team ranked 17 placed higher was missing.

“I think for me what we need to get better in is finishing. We are creating a lot of opportunities, which is great. Need to get more return. Also in deep defence, we have to get tighter, we are still giving away too many opportunities. I told the players we have nine months, just get better and better. Focus on the process, result will take care of itself,” Reid said after Saturday’s second leg of the Qualifiers.

The big advantage for the men is the exposure they would get in the Pro League starting January, with a chance to test themselves against the world’s best sides over six months. “Pro League is a big opportunity to work out for the Olympics and there are a lot of games during that period,” he added.

That is a luxury Marijne doesn’t have. In fact, Hockey India is yet to work out a competition schedule for them between now and July 2020, when the Tokyo Games kick off. But then, the girls are used to it.

They lost Marijne to the men’s side midway through a European tour in seven months, only to get him back in another eight months. They do not have an analytical coach, Eric Wonink being shunted to the junior side after three years with the women. The girls have picked the wrong end of the stick too often to be bogged down by it.

“We have a dream and the dream is to go to the Olympics, and the most beautiful colour for a medal is gold. Preparation starts tomorrow morning. We all can see, we played well in one half. But now we have to do it for the entire match,” Marijne said.

Having worked on strength and fitness, Marijne is now focussing on the mind, his half-time speech on Saturday the real-life version of a movie. “At half-time I told the girls, it’s 0-0. It starts all over, we cannot change what happened in the first half but we can do differently in the second. I want to see another team. It’s your moment, go with your head up. (And) you don’t go down with your head down. And it was different team,” he said.

In another 10 months, both Reid and Marijne would be hoping their respective teams work out the chinks in their respective armours at Tokyo.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 6:09:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/need-to-get-better-in-finishing-says-mens-hockey-team-coach-graham-reid/article29871762.ece

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