Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Time for the next Quantum Leap

Currently, at International level, we have the Belgium men's team playing a fluid, fast, highly skilled style of play which requires a high level of precision, then we have the Argentina Men's team who rely on their Penalty Corner battery to get the job done for them, so as a result, they have taken the traditional counter attack style and for want of a better word super sized it. Then in the women's game, we have Great Britain/England playing an evolution of the Australian Men's style which was to attack hard and attack through the top of circle, and the Netherlands under the great Alysson Annan who are playing very much an evolution of the traditional Dutch style with a dash of the Australian influence which comes from Alysson.

But none of these current styles of play from the best teams in the world is a quantum leap in the game, like what the Australian Kookaburras did back at the 2014 World Cup. It is my strong view that we are still yet to see the next quantum leap in the game at International level, and this is because of a couple of reasons-

1. Coaches at international level are yet to come to terms with how to play hockey with quarters.

2. Coaches at international level have not yet learned how to use the rotation's off the bench under the quarter's format.

3. Coaches at international level have not yet really understood the value of the rule which allows teams to pull their goal-keeper.

4. Coaches at international level in today's game are perhaps too risk averse, and unwilling to go for the win, instead settling for the draw, or relying to much on penalty corners to get the job done.

5. Coaches at international level today are perhaps not creative enough, again perhaps they are afraid to get to far ahead of the curve, unlike the great Dr. Ric Charlesworth.

6. Coaches at international level are perhaps losing too much control over the direction of their teams by handing over to much responsibility to Assistant Coaches and support staff.

So with all this in mind, what will I do differently when the opportunity comes at International level in the future?

Well without giving away game style, strategy and tactics I would want to do some of the following-

- Develop a style of play more suited to quarters, perhaps look at ideas from other sports that could apply to hockey.

- I would look to better use my rotations as I have said previously I would look to up those rotations and do it through a different method.

- I would consider pulling my goalie in a more strategic way.

- I would take risks and be willing to go for the win. I have long believed that I would rather lose the game in order to win, and this won't change at international level.

- I would be creative, again looking all the time at other sports for different ways to do things and to play.

- I would be far more hands on with everything, and I would bring my player empowerment model of coaching to international level, creating a consensus approach with everyone buying into what we are all trying to achieve.

I strongly believe the next quantum leap at International level with this great game of hockey, must be with a fast, free-flowing, fluid, bold, creative constantly evolving style of play, with everyone willing to take risks in order to win.






Tuesday, 8 August 2017

T.E.A.M must be at the Heart of the Team

T.E.A.M must be and needs to be at the heart of every single Team if it's not then I can with a fair degree of certainty guarantee that that Team will fail.

So what does T.E.A.M stand for, well in a nut shell its-

Together
Everyone
Achieves
More

Expanding on this it is a set of principles and rules which are basically-

- The good of the team must always come first, an individual while valuable is not greater than the Team and should always make decisions in consultation with the Team and in the best interests of the team both on and off the field.

- Team goals and must be made collectively and then each individual's goals must mirror up with and complement the team goals.

- Team achievements should at all times mean more than individual achievements within the team. While those individual achievements are important they are never as important as the Team achievements.

In the end that famous saying that there is no I in Team but there is an M and an E is very correct.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Future Direction of Coaching 2: Value of alternative forms of hockey etc

Just recently my Dad watched the Belgium National Men's Team compete at the World League in South Africa and was in aww, how well they played and how efficient they were in moving the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, also how silky smooth they were in the skills department, and he asked me why is this. I answered with this simple answer they play allot of Indoor Hockey which does help with skills and ball movement.

Now Belgium is not the only country that does this, Germany, Netherlands and most of the European countries also do this, as does the United States, and this is why it is my belief that their players skill base is much more superior than Australia. For a long time, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands also embraced small sided and modified versions of the game for juniors, so that juniors could get a better handle on the game before they moved to full field 11 on 11. In simple terms, the Belgium, Germany, and Netherlands have a system and a curriculum in place which lays out from year to year the skills that young players should be acquiring as they move through the ages.

Don't get me wrong Australia has had a few goes at this over the years, and it's sort of taken off for a while then died a slow death again, however in recent years we are seeing more and more effort by Hockey Australia, and the Eastern States to embrace the change of having more indoor, more modified versions of the game and a system and curriculum for the sport.

I am now convinced more than ever know that indoor hockey must be embraced by all nations, not only as a version of the game to play, but a version of the game that will help to improve the skills of the young players coming through, if they want to stay with and compete with the Belgium's and Germany's of this world.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Book Review: The Hockey-Kids The Adventure begins by Sabine Hahn

For a while now, I have been wondering why there are no books for children's books on the sport I am most passionate about, hockey. For a long time now we have seen children's books in Australia which cover the sports of AFL, NRL, Netball, and cricket but nothing on hockey, well until now.

I want to introduce you to a great little book it is the first in the series written by a fantastic author from Germany Sabine Hahn, check out her website-

www.sabinehahn.net

The book is called "The Hockey-Kids: The Adventure begins," by Sabine Hahn and its a great little read for all the young hockey superstars out there. The story is about three friends, Lena, Max, and Lars and their adventures on and off the hockey field, as their new hockey team comes together despite many setbacks.



This is the first in a series of books on hockey by Sabine, and like I say its well worth the read and would make a great little gift for your budding hockey superstar out there.

If you are interested in getting a copy you can purchase it online through-

https://www.bookdepository.com/Hockey-Kids-Sabine-Hahn/9783981797077

http://www.moncoq-edition.com/English/

You can also check out Sabine and the book through Facebook-

www.facebook.com/diehockeykids

I urge everyone to do themselves a favor and get a copy to read.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Future Hockey Coaching Direction: Part 1

Since the introduction of quarters to International level hockey in 2015, I have felt that know one coach has really found a way to harness this to its full potential and maximize the benefits for their team over all the others.

Before the introduction of quarters we saw the Australian Kookaburras Men's team transform the game with a fast, free flowing running, attack through the top of the circle game which was built on momentum, but once quarters were introduced the Australian coaching staff, in my opinion, failed to adjust this plan and as a result they slipped out of the medal in Rio two years after their triumphant World Cup. Why did this happen, in part it was quarters hockey, it changes that game of momentum hockey as there are breaks which stop the momentum of teams.

So what am I thinking, well I believe the key is your rotations, I don't think anyone has really used the rotations in a way that works well, the closest I have seen to anyone doing this wasn't even at International level, it was in Hobart in 2016 at the Australian Women's Masters when WA Over 40's seemed to be doing something very different with their bench running rotations at a constant rate through the midfield, this seemed to allow them to keep the momentum from quarter to quarter much better.

So my thoughts are that you virtually carry only midfielders, and forwards on your bench and constant rotate every quarter at high levels through this lines, and try to create a sense in the opposition of being overwhelmed and allow for fresh legs late in the final quarter which will allow your team to have the momentum when it counts.


Standing for something

Ok so this blog post is going to be just a smidge different, it's going to be in a sense a little bit of perhaps what you would call a rant, and I apologize in advance to my regular readers, but I feel its time this was said about certain people in the sport of hockey a sport I am very passionate and proud to be a part of.

Ok so what I want to say, is I am someone who prides myself on saying what I mean and speaking my mind on issues that are and have affected our game, and I do this out in the open and I never ever hide behind a fake name, or persona in order to do this.

Now I know there are allot of others involved in my sport of hockey who do just that use persona's and hide behind fake names on forums etc, to give an opinion, and in my personal opinion I think that lacks courage. I know these people will say they do that so they can give an honest opinion, well how is hiding behind a persona or fake name and giving your opinion really all that honest, like I say I think it lacks courage, if you are passionate about the sport of hockey as you say and your concerned about the direction of the sport then why do you not have the courage to voice that opinion with your real name behind.

Look I understand that's how you feel you need to do it and that's perfectly fine, but don't then try to claim the high moral ground in doing it, because in my view it's a way to give a cheap shot and it's an easy snipe. Know one in any walk of life should be afraid of criticism and if you have to hide are you showing real courage like you say or is it actually that you lack the courage to be up front.

Anyway, that's my thoughts, I know this I won't change I will continue to speak my mind and tell it like it is and I will continue to offer my opinions and back it up by putting my own name on it.

JEROME BUCK


Thursday, 29 June 2017

New Hockey Trophy: World 9's Challenge

A few post back I talked about a new hockey trophy played over three formats of the game on one weekend.

Well in this post I am putting forward another idea for a new competition called the-

World 9's Challenge

We will take the 9's format that was used a few years ago in Australia as part of the International Super Series. The teams competing in this new competition would be all-star teams as per below-

1. Asian Hockey Federation All-stars
2. Pan America Hockey Federation All-stars
3. Oceania Hockey Federation All-stars
4. African Hockey Federation All-stars
5. European Hockey Federation All-stars
6. World All-stars

Now could this concept work? Where would it fit into the hockey schedule? Would the best players want to participate in it?