The Indian Hockey Team has finally managed to fill the vacant spot of a Indian Hocky Coach with the appointment of Graham Reid. The Aussie is set to take the reins after the exit of Harendra Singh. This appointment could not come at a better time. With the Tokyo Olympics next year, it is important for Reid to turn the Indian Hockey Team into a formidable contender for the IPL.
But first, one of the major challenges that he has to face with be the qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
The Indian Hockey Team had filed its choices for a coach long ago with the sports minister and the Sports Authority of India. Yet, there was some delay due to the salary issues and some other contractual issues that Reid had. Once those issues were cleared out, Graham was named the Indian Hocky coach of Indain hocky team.
Reid is slated to be in the same salary bracket as the former high-performance director, who later became the coach- Roelant Oltmans. Oltmans was fired in 2017 a year after the 2016 Rio Olympics when the Indian Hockey Team performed very poorly.
Now the final contract of Reid states that he would be getting $13500 per month from the government and an additional $1,500 from Hockey India. He would also be entitled to three economy return fares to Australia, which both he and his family can avail. However, Reid himself wants to stay in Bengaluru where the camp of Hockey India resides.
The Australian Play
One thing that Reid can bring to the forefront is the Aussie way of playing. The Australian Hockey Team is known to be offensive rather than defensive. Their tactic is to attack and score as much as possible. This might be great for India since it will be a little different from what they usually play. Reid is an experienced coach and this can only be good for India. Through a different way of playing, India might benefit greatly in the upcoming Hockey games.
But, along with that Reid has to make sure that he doesn’t completely overpower the team with this Australian play, and instead merges both the Asian style of play and the Australian Style of play. Reid will have to pay close attention and learn how Asians play, as he has never coached an Asian Team before.
While Hockey in India has seen a steady rise after an initial fall from the golden ages. This steady rise has been due to greater focus on the hockey games, and because of the emergence of the newer and better player. What Hockey India needs now is a Indian Hocky coach who can focus on the specific areas that need severe improvement. Reid first needs to focus on the need for improving the ‘conversion rate’ of penalty corners. Team India tends to fail at converting chances into penalty corners that greatly impact the game. Reid with his experience and knowledge needs to work on that and make sure that this area is revamped. He has to figure out the best players who are capable of doing the job and then training these players properly in this aspect.
The second area which Reid needs to focus on is improving precision on the last pass. Reid needs to see that the passes are precise and especially the last one seals the deal. Bad passes or inaccurate passes are the reason why Team India has not been able to beat the top-ranked countries in Hockey games. If Reid can improve these two, then India will surely be a formidable hockey team.
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His Track Record
Reid has an amazing record and has achieved a lot throughout his career. As a full back and midfielder, Reid is very conversant with modern hockey. He was also a member of the Aussie squads which won the Champions Trophy four times.
Reid had been a part of the Australian Hockey Team since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and was handed over the role of the head coach in 2014.
Under him Australian Hockey Team Under Reid, Australia won the 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2015 World League and 2016 Champions Trophy. Yet, after such successes, he decided to step down after the Australian Team field to reach the top four in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
His next role took him to be the assistant coach of Netherlands Hockey Team and was instrumental in the getting Netherlands to the finals. The Netherlands however, lost and was crowned as the first runners up.
Reid is quite excited to be part of the Indian Hockey Team and is even looking forward to bringing his wife and daughter in India. He has followed the Indian Hockey Team closely and is all praise about their growth. His dedication speaks volumes about how much committed he will be to the Indian Hockey Team in the games.
India had tried an experimental shift from a foreign coach to an India coach, but the results were not great. Harendra Singh was hired for the job, but he faltered at the Asian Games and the FIH World Cup last year. This disastrous performance made Hockey India get up and hand the reins back to a foreign coach. Hockey India also cannot take any more chances now, since this is the year of qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Reid will also have the power to deal with the team and the support staff, who is also under the radar after the underwhelming performance of India in the hockey games. It will be up to Reid to figure out what needs to be done and what needs to be changed.
Reid’s work permit is not here yet, and thus, he has not officially been able to join the camp in Bengaluru. But, Hockey India is hopeful that the paperwork will be done on a fast track basis. His contract is until the end ofthe 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
Also published on Medium.