We think and project our game as an open and sophisticated sport; change and innovation are becoming ‘traditional’ regarding rules and formats. This forward thinking that is reshaping the game year after year is sustained by the desire to attract new audiences.
If so much is changing recently it is then interesting to listen what some of the ‘thinkers’ of the game have to say about change in Hockey.
What would they change?
Would they change something at all?
Will they stop with all this permanent changes?
I have decided to invite some persons that are deeply involved with the game and have some thoughts to share.
(Belgium | Blogger, thinker, former technical director)
Balance is the challenge
- More players/parents who truly realise the team comes first in our game & focus on the game not the extra’s you sometimes get to enjoy as a top athlete
- More coaches who realise it is a bigger legacy to leave behind a team/club able to compete for the top prizes for years to come then to have won 3 titles in a row and leave behind a team/club in need to rebuild from the ground up = manage the balance between experienced top players and up & coming talent at all times
- More clubs/organisations who realise they need a professional technical director guarding the long term goals and who is independent from the current teams. So a leader/manager of the current head coaches, not one of them…
- More national team coaches who see beyond their own programme…
- More administrators at the federation level (national, regional and global) who recognise the importance of thorough cross-border planning for the short, the mid and the long term
Balance is the challenge… at all levels.
(Belgium | Assistant coach of Belgium National Team, former International)
- No more Champions Trophy, Hockey World League (HWL) round 4 should replace this tournament in international calendar and should have a final prize money.
- Different qualifying procedure; HWL as only qualifier for World Cup, Olympic Games with new format, so it is clear for all what you play for… Continental tournaments should be for ranking points and of course for the title, like in football, this way we will avoid to wait for other results and to play against teams that are already qualified…
- Keep the hockey rules like they are till 2020… no more changes to make it easier to follow for old and new fans.
- During international competitions possibility to play with 16 players, with at least 1 rest day before every game.
- Continuous evolution of the promotion and presentation of our sport and atheletes, to make it an even more competitive product in the market…
(South Africa | FIH Umpire)
I think that field hockey is probably one of very few sporting codes which is constantly looking at changing the game, or the rules thereof, in order to make it more spectator-friendly and exciting to watch. Every year there seem to be experimental rules that are played over a period of time, from where the FIH will either accept the new rule, or revert to the ‘old’ rule.
My personal opinion is that we as a hockey community, regardless of being a player, spectator, coach or official, are on the right track to grow the community and hopefully, in the long run, provide field hockey the international status as a professional sporting code in many more countries than what we currently have.
From an umpiring point of view, I would compare our tournament preparations to that of other officials from professional sporting codes such as football and rugby and it is clear that without proper funding we will never be as professional and well prepared for tournaments as what we would like to be. With our current structure and limited funding, I think we are doing a great job. It would be great if we could have Officials Training Camps, at least once or twice per year, prior to the start of major competitions, where we attend seminars, do fitness analysis, testing, training and umpiring matches to help us be as best prepared as we could possibly be, as a team, prior to entering the start of these tournaments. The objective of this training camp should be to provide all umpires equal opportunity to gain experience on the ‘new rules’ , video umpire referral system and also to build a TEAM based upon the rules, regulations and format of the tournament ahead.
I would also like to see a point where coaches, players, and/or teams have the opportunity to provide the umpires with constructive feedback, and perhaps even allow us, from an umpiring perspective, to share our views and/or experiences. This seems to happen on local grounds, but not at an international level. The idea is to close the gap between umpires/officials and the coaches and teams, in order for all parties involved to have mutual respect and understanding of the game on all the different levels of involvement.
As officials/umpires, we are as passionate about hockey as any player, coach, manager, etc. We would love to see our sport succeed in being recognized as an exciting and world class sport where we have increased number of participants from all over the world.