ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will have to embrace modern hockey techniques by breaking with past glories and accepting the challenges and versatility of the modern game, national team head coach Siegfried Aikman said on Monday in an exclusive interview with ‘ The news’.
As the national team prepares to embark on the European tour in ten days, Aikman said he was surprised to see Pakistani hockey living in the past and making no effort to meet modern challenges.
“Pakistani hockey still lives in the past, recounting the achievements of thirty-forty years rather than looking to the future and accepting the challenges of modern hockey. We still believe in the right-left-out and right-in-left brand of hockey that no longer exists in the modern era. Gone are the days when such a combination achieved results for you. From now on, each player must play several roles. If at one point we see him defending, the next minute he will be there in attack. A player should be all-in-one rather than a specialist on one side and totally raw for the other positions. This is modern hockey where we need everything in one package.
The Dutch national pointed out many flaws in Pakistani hockey players as well as in the system.
“When a player shows up for the national camp, he doesn’t know anything about the last requirement. The national coaches deal with totally raw things unlike European countries where a player who has just entered his teenage years knows what the requirements are and how to get ahead. That hasn’t been the case with the Pakistani players. There is absolutely no coaching for teenagers here. No one shares with them how to pursue modern hockey and develop your skills in the same way. way.
Aikman was amazed at the lack of planning and strategy in national hockey.
“No national team has anything to do with sharing modern techniques to develop a player’s skills and mental approach. This is where Pakistani hockey falters. When a player comes to camp national, it presents itself raw and totally devoid of modern requirements.
The main weakness of Pakistani players is the bad first touch.
“Look how long these players take to collect and then distribute the ball. This slow attitude of Pakistani players is inherited from the past. In modern hockey, you have to be very quick in collection and distribution. I am working on these flaws and have been somewhat successful during the current camp but such an attitude should be developed from the basics where a boy knows not to cling to the ball rather accept the ball quickly and distribute it again faster.
The head coach added that there was a lot to do to manage the pressure. “What I saw during the Asian Champions Trophy was that even the best players crumbled under the pressure and started having unnecessary arguments with the referees. Such an attitude never helps you because it complicates things and gives opponents an unfair advantage.We need to educate our players on how to handle tense and disappointing situations to avoid further misery.
The national team head coach wanted his proteges to be in excellent physical shape. “You can quickly cover some of those flaws by achieving top-notch fitness. We need fitness at the level of European and Australian hockey players. Some players have stick but they lack fitness. In the In modern hockey, the stick comes last, it’s the first touch, acceptance and distribution of the ball that count.
Aikman dismissed the normal excuse that the lack of artificial surfaces was the reason for Pakistani hockey’s downfall. ” I do not believe it. There are very lush grass pitches here where you can teach youngsters the demands of modern hockey. When I was in Japan, young people played sand hockey and we see some really talented players emerging from that sand hockey. Even in Pakistan, such a trend could develop.
The Dutch national who has years of coaching experience behind him has called for evolving a permanent roadmap to achieve glory. “In Pakistan, people believe in short term planning which never helps you. We have already shaken the future of hockey in the country by withdrawing from the first-ever FIH Professional League. Pakistani hockey never came out of this jolt. By missing out on the professional league, Pakistan had ensured that they would struggle to gain the required international exposure in the years to come.