Hockey India is working hard to create a nation-wide, structured development pathway for coaches and officials. In the latest move to ensure that coaches are well-qualified and up-to-date with all technical aspects and terminologies of the modern game, India Hockey launched its India Coaching Education Pathway in March 2019 with an aim to provide certification to candidates who are already coaches or aspiring to become a coach.
The courses, which range from Basic Level through to Level 2, are delivered via a combination of classroom teaching and practical on-pitch activities.
Since its inception just over a year ago, more than 500 practising or aspiring coaches – all of whom fulfilled the eligibility criteria – have taken part in the programme and received certification.
Hockey India’s coaching pathway follows the FIH general framework for coaching field hockey from grass-root to international level. Additional support is provided by the FIH Hockey Academy. However, the content and delivery is very much down to the local educators and tailored to the needs of the group.
Leading the courses are Hockey India Educators who have completed FIH Educator or FIH Level 2 Coaching Certification. Additionally, chief coaches and analytical coaches from the Indian national men’s and women’s teams deliver guest lectures depending on their availability.
Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, President of Hockey India, says: “The education and accreditation of coaches in India has already started delivering results with several hundred candidates receiving certification and several coaches identified to work with the national men’s and women’s programmes.”
The President explains that the Coach Accreditation programmes are important because they ensure consistency, firstly in technical and tactical knowledge across the coaching cohort, and secondly in terms of the language used to communicate – using standard hockey phrases and terminology.
The courses emphasise 12 basic skills and focus is placed on modern principles of play. The outcome, says Ahmad, is that the overall standard of Indian hockey will improve as coaches use their new knowledge and training.
Alongside the improvements in coach education, the national governing body also recognises the importance of raising the standard of umpires and tournament officials and making sure they are conversant with developments in the game. To address this, Hockey India conducts various FIH Umpire and Technical Official courses to provide national level umpires and technical officials with an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and understand the practical delivery of the latest rules and regulations at national and international level.
Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad explains how the process has inbuilt sustainability: “The Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway provides certification at various levels and only after obtaining a Hockey India Level 2 Coach Certification is a coach eligible to enrol for the FIH Coaching Courses. Hockey India Educators will identify future Educators to participate in the FIH Coach Educator Course and, if successful, will induct these coaches into the national programme. Through collaboration with our stakeholders it is providing job opportunities for the certified coaches.”
“Certified coaches are getting an opportunity to work within the national programme. They all understand common hockey coaching language across the domestic circuit and this helps in creating development opportunities and standardisation of training at the grassroots level. It has also allowed for hockey as a sport to offer many more employment opportunities across the board.”