The pandemic has a silver lining for the current coach of the men’s hockey team for it gives him valuable time to get to know his team even better.
In January 2019, when Hockey India sacked Harendra Singh after just seven months in charge, it was the 25th time, in as many years, that the coach of the men’s national team would change. For a coach of the men’s hockey team, time was a precious commodity. The results demanded were instant, the pressure of expectations was high and in the midst of all that, a new coach was expected to work wonders. It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t. But in that context, the pandemic has a silver lining for the current men’s coach, Graham Reid. With no clear idea of when the team can return to the playing field and the luxury of having ample time with the team, the Australian is taking the opportunity to go back to the basics. Usually, when the season is on, the players are constantly dealing with injuries, recovery, travel and the pressure that international competitions bring. There really isn’t the time to work on the little things – the perfect trap, the body sway, the reverse hit, the sizzling dribble, the trackback and more... little things which if done correctly can make a huge difference to the end result. “Well, to be honest, I’m really excited about these next four months,” India men’s hockey coach Graham Reid told Scroll.in in an interview. “Because we really have an opportunity that we can build our foundation.” “I’ve said to the players, ‘look, this is the time where we can work on the little things’. This is historically the time where you build the base for next year’s Olympics, even if we were in a normal situation. What we do now in our training environment determines a lot of the outcomes that happen in the months that follow. Little by little, bit by bit, we build ourselves up again. So, it’s a good opportunity to go back and restart and understand what we do want to do and what are the important skills that we need to have as a group.”