Looking forward to tap talented hockey players at younger age: David John

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 May 2017 14:05:19

Rajan Raikwar,

High Performance Director of Indian Hockey, David John feels that hockey players should be identified and selected at younger age so that enough time could be spent on their grooming and developing their skills. Apart from this, David John strongly believes that fitness level is the core area on which Indian players should work hard from starting onwards.

Talking to ‘The Hitavada’, David John said that in Australia, hockey players are identified and selected at the age of 11 years. In the later stage, they are put in progammes of under 15 and 21. This helps in their better bringing up as a hockey player as enough time is spent on them in honing their skills. In India, this does not happen. Aspiring players have to wait for sub-junior level for selection.

He said that for the better future of Indian hockey, he is trying to implicate the model of selecting players when they are 11 years old so that good and quality time can be spent on them to hone up their key skills as a player. After 10 years of proper training, these players will be good international level players.

He further emphasised on the fitness level and said that fitness of girl players of junior level is not at par with fitness of international players of their age. In foreign countries, fitness is must for players from younger age. The fitness is the core issue which has to be worked upon.

As far as boys hockey is concerned then new group has to be selected to defend the Junior Hockey World Cup. Notably, last year, India had won Hockey Junior World Cup title by defeating Belgium 2-1.

He was full praise for the tradition of hockey academies in  India and said that in foreign countries, there are no hockey academies rather there hockey is played at school level and in clubs. Hockey academies are strong in India as lot of money is spent on them. “India spends lot of money in academies, not spend more time on developing fitness and physical level,” he told.

“We need to identify good players and to put them in national programmes for coaching purpose,” he told.

When asked whether foreign coaches are needed in country to train hockey players, he was of the view that at academy level, Indian coaches are needed to train the players.

As of now, Hockey India 7th Junior National Hockey Championship is underway in Bhopal and he is in city to watch the matches and to assess the abilities of players.