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Graham Reid: Five achievements as head coach of Indian Hockey team

Published at :February 6, 2023 at 12:43 AM
Modified at :February 6, 2023 at 12:43 AM
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Monotosh Ghosh

The medal won in Tokyo Olympics after decades will always be the legacy of the Australian.

Graham Reid announced his resignation after the end of the FIH 2023 Men's Hockey World Cup. It was an underwhelming performance from the Indian team as they finished joint ninth. This poor performance of the team was the reason why Graham Reid departed despite a long list of achievements.

However, Reid's tenure as the head coach of the Indian Men's Hockey Team was good. The team's philosophy changed as they started to control the games. The defence also improved and tactically it was a much better team. Moreover, in his period as head coach India won many tournaments as well. The Olympics bronze brings the most memorable one for the Indian hockey team and its fans. So let's take a look at five achievements of the men in blue under Graham Reid.

Controlled games better

In 2019 when Graham Reid came as the chief head coach of the Indian team. He made the team slowly and steadily adapt to the attacking style of play. Reid has a clear philosophy of what he wants his team to do and he did the same thing to the Indian team as well.

The men in blues started to press high and try to win the balls from the opponents. To play who Reid wanted to need the team to control the games and have the ball with them. Moreover, if the ball is with the opponent it should be taken back as soon as possible. According to Reid, getting the ball off the opponent is the smartest way to defend.

Bronze in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

India was a powerhouse in the world of hockey. From 1928 to 1956 India won six back-to-back gold medals in the Olympics. The last gold medal for India in the Olympics was in 1980.

Since 1980 the quality of hockey in India has decreased and the Men in Blue failed to even come close. However, under Graham Reid, the team improved. This is evident from the result of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where the Men in Blue bagged the bronze medal. This podium finish for India came after a long wait of 4 decades. This certainly is one of the biggest achievements in Indian sports and Graham Reid should also get the credit for his change in the style of play and the team controlling the games more.

Sense of consistency

In 2019 when Graham Reid was appointed as the head coach of the Indian Men's Hockey Team, many questioned how long he would be at the helm. The reason behind such questions was very simple if someone took a look at the total number of coaches who came before him. So far in the past 25 years, the Men in Blue have had 26 different coaches.

However, Reid was the head coach of the team for about four years. This brought a sense of consistency in the team and the team did not have to adapt to different strategies and plans. This meant that in the long term, the players were able to understand what the coach wanted from them. Ultimately the performance of the team became better over time and this was evident in their performance in the Tokyo Olympics as the team won a bronze medal after four decades.

Playing a mixed-brand of hockey

Graham Reid is an ex-Kookaburras chief coach. Apart from coaching the Australian men's national team, Graham Reid has had coaching experience in the Netherlands in club hockey and as an assistant of the Dutch side. Dutch and the Kookaburras have their distinct styles of playing the sport and they are revered all over the circuit for it.

When Graham Reid came to coach the Indian side, his aim was to add the flairs and touches of the Dutch and the Australian hockey into the Indian hockey playstyle and close the gap between the Indians and the big teams. The Men in Blue not only improved in the rankings, they but also played a better, fresher brand of hockey.

Promising performance in Pro League

The Indian men's hockey team finished third in the Pro League in 2021-22. This was a very good performance from the men in blue under Graham Reid. In this tournament, the Indian team came face to face against the best teams in the world and performed well. 

The Men in Blue gave a tough fight to all other top teams which helped them to secure third place. Harmanpreet Singh was the top goalscorer of the tournament as well with 18 goals. So such a performance for the team against some of the best teams was positive and it showed how the team is improving.

Graham Reid had a pretty good stint with the Indian Men's Hockey Team as they had many podium finishes. The team played better tactically as well and the team adapted to the style he wanted.