Zeke’s glance at Argentina Hockey

10967120_881815438536118_1302293564_o(Ezequiel Paulon)

Differences between Argentinian hockey culture and European or Australian?

In my opinion there are several differences between these forms of understanding and living the game and training. Start from a cultural context perspective, how life is in Europe and Australia in opposite to Argentina. In the first two there is a cultural and technological development, a different access to everything, that unfortunately does not exist in Argentina. There is a big difference in terms of planning, periodization and compliance with them. In Europe or Australia everything is more organized unlike Argentina, and all this can be seen in every aspect of society which also affects sports, in this case Hockey. Clubs, teams, coaches and tournaments are organized in Europe and Australia. This makes schedules to be followed and allows coaches to plan and periodize better, which influences positively individual and colectively performance. Furthermore in Australia and Europe you train in a more dynamic, intense and comprehensive way for many years, when Argentina trainings are historically more analytical and with less rhythm.

In other hand Argentina might have an advantage in terms of creativity and passion of it’s players and coaches. This lack of organization ‘forces’ the player and the coach to be more creative. Constantly in need to recalculate all in the moment and with short development times. This at first seems a disadvantage, in my opinion ends up being a plus as creative and unpredictable hockey is more difficult to counter. It is so far the modern hockey and Argentina have this advantage over other countries.

Therefore it is no coincidence that there are Argentinian renowned coaches in Europe. Max Caldas (current coach of Netherlands Men’s) was recently named coach of the year by FIH after winning the world cup with the Dutch ladies. He is a great friend and I think Max coupled his creativity and Latin passion with organization and how to analyze the game in a more structured and European way. This balance gives a very good formula for high performance.

Another characteristic from Argentina is that your national team trains the all year round. In Argentina there are few water fields and domestic competition is not so good. On the one hand this is bad with regard to Europe or Australia, but on the other hand, the selection is required to train and compete throughout the year. For the players who do not compete in European leagues, are permanently working together in the national team. This gives a feeling of ‘club’ Argentina as players and staff spend so many hours working together.

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Both Florencia Habif and Gonzallo Peillat won the FIH young player of the year in female and male award respectively. This means that Argentina has the future ensured in the coming years as top hockey country?Let’s hope so (hehehe)

I think this point is related to the new generations of comprehensive Argentinian players. These are players that besides being creative and passionate (and sometimes irrational in their delivery) are already ‘born’ playing and training in last generation water pitches also with coaches who are better able to develop the game. Keep in mind that Argentina was for years very delayed regarding water based fields. Furthermore Argentinas distances are very large and lacked for many years a structure and a national plan to train similarly thw players around the country. It took several years and only recently had this structure in the 90sToday Argentina has a lot of players and coaches who are prepared to develop in modern hockey. Argentina also has several players competing and training for several years in major European Leagues Club which is also very beneficial for us.

As I mentioned before, we add to the new style of modern hockey player to the inner passion and dedication of hockey players in Argentina. That is why there are coming for several years, very talented generations of players with all the conditions for Argentina to be in the top ranks of world hockey, both men and women. It also adds in recent years, the government spent a lot of money to support national teams preparation domestically and outside the country. This gives a good formula since you allow the international players to compete throughout the year on the highest level.

 

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Today there is a reversal in the internal structure of training plans and training of coaches and players nationwide. This is a big mistake that will bring some negative repercussions in medium and long term. Everyone’s desire is that this will be reversed any time soon.
Argentina would have to strengthen the internal structure and support the number clubs and practitioners who play hockey throughout the country. Besides continuing the development and competence of the national teams. This way, we will have the opportunity to sustain over time your nation among the top 3 or 4 top countries in the world.

 

Ezequiel Paulon

FIH Coach
ezequielpaulon@gmail.com

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