The head coach shared his opinions on the team’s playing style, upcoming matches and more.
Graham Reid, coach of the Indian national men’s hockey team, has asserted the need for Indian players to be unique. The Australian praised Indian players for finding their own style, different from the Europeans.
Instead of physicality, the Indians are better adept at skillful gameplay and a tactically polished game. This has been a vital aspect of the improvement Indian hockey players have gone through in recent years.
“Indian hockey comes from a different place. If you look at the history of the game in Australia, a lot was imported into it. So, Australia also started from a different place than the European game. You develop different skills. A lot of Indian skills have developed because they are not big-bodied like the Europeans. We have to bridge the gap in strength.” Graham Reid said to Olympic Channel.
The 56-year-old further commented on the need to be unique and compensate in areas where one may be lacking. He said, “Some of the best in the world are not huge. We have a lot of stick skills and we will continue to use those. We like to pass the ball around and don’t give time to tackle…We have different skills to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, and that’s what is unique about India.”
Indian hockey contingent recently played several games in Europe and came away undefeated. The team will now head to South America where they’ll participate in the FIH Pro League. On the prospect of facing Argentina, Graham Reid said, “Argentina are a really very good team. They play a different style and that’s what I am looking forward to. They lure you into a false sense of security, almost put you to sleep sometimes and then they attack. So, that’s what we need to be ready for. It is going to be an interesting challenge.”
The Indian team must work on not giving away cheap penalty corners, an aspect of their game that was observed in their games during the Europe trip. In this context, the coach explained, “Sometimes, you give away a penalty corner and then while defending you give away another one. So, these things happen. But, since we have got back we are re-consolidating ourselves and have a very good battery.”
Despite giving away penalty corners, India only let in one of them. This falls down to a tweak in defending the corners. the tactician explained this in detail, saying, “That’s the way you defend corners these days. You have to develop new skills and variations. There is a first rusher and a second rusher, and the second one is a bit towards the left shoulder of the first – These are tactics and that’s hockey.”
“The tactics that have changed are down to rule changes. Now, you cannot hit the ball directly into the circle. But, it was not a long time ago that you could do so. So, you had to develop different tactics to do that. The long corner rule changed 2-3 times. All those little things make the difference,” he concluded.