World Cup replay

May 18, 2020

It could be the hockey viewing sensation of the year. Two coaches, from one iconic match, talking about their thoughts as the game in question unfolded.

In a brave move, the coaching protagonists from the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018 final – in which Belgium beat the Netherlands in the shoot-out after a 0-0 draw – will be dissecting their approach and management of the game in front of an audience of coaches, players and hockey fans.

Max Caldas of the Netherlands and Belgium’s Shane McLeod will be joining host Thomas Tichelman for the live discussion on 19 May. The debate, organised and produced by SportsWays and supported by FIH, will be the first in a series of debates between the people involved in some of the most iconic hockey battles of the past few years.

“There isn’t much information relating to the coaching behind those very interesting moments in hockey,” says Tichelman, as he explains the concept. “Big finals, the special moments in a game. We are trying to find those occasions when something special took place and share the insight of the coaches involved with other coaches around the world. This is a dream for many coaches.

“It shouldn’t only be about glory. It should also be about losing. It is about all angles of the experience. We will be talking about after-match emotions and reactions as well as looking more into the processes that were taking place during the match. Hopefully we will also discover what the coaches learnt from various points in the match.”

Tichelman’s idea received a mixed response from Caldas and McLeod. He says that the coaches recognised the value of the debate – both as a tool for self-reflection and also as a learning tool for other coaches. There is however some nervousness about laying their thoughts so openly for all to see.

“The reluctance comes because the coaches do not like to reveal too much, particularly when it might show what they are planning as they move forwards. In this competitive world, they do not like to share with competitors, especially when they are in a programme of competition with that other coach.”

To overcome the coaches’ reluctance, Tichelman agrees with them beforehand just what direction the discussion will take. Anything that might reveal too much about future performance or strategy is strictly off-limits.  

The majority of the discussion will centre around what they had been expecting of the game in question; what had surprised them; and, possibly how they had translated some of the learnings into subsequent performances. 

As the host, Tichelman has a depth of knowledge that will enable him to ask probing questions of the interviewees. He was assistant coach to the Netherlands men’s hockey team when they won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games and is a FIH Level 3 presenter and coach educator. “I have been involved in international coaching for 14 years so I have a good understanding of the game,” he says. 

“I have been there so I can ask the pertinent questions because I know about what happens during the talks in the changing room and about the stress that is inherent in the game.”

The aim of the interview is to ‘edu-tain’. Tichelman says it will be lively, entertaining but ultimately it is about educating people about the coaching process. 

It is a different type of information for aspiring coaches. These coaches have been involved in tournaments that put a whole different level of pressure on the coaching staff. There is a lot of learning about a different coaching environment. 

For the coaches involved in the debate, this offers a unique chance to reflect upon a match that is a comfortable distance away. The notion of the moment has gone but there is still much to be learnt in reflecting back, particularly when the discussion is taking place between the coaches that were standing in the two opposing dug-outs. 

Sportsways and FIH will be presenting a series of ‘face-offs’ featuring iconic hockey matches every three weeks. For further information click here.


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