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Balbir Book: "Measurable Yardstick is a must" (6/14/2008)
--s2h team
Balbir Singh Senior has a gift of gab. The triple Olympic gold medalist is bestowed with silver tongue to an extent not many hockey stars of past and present generations can be compared to him. Be it the Tata’s Ra.1 lac award function, or Sardars of Hockey Evening, Balbir has been at his best on communication.

2nd June 2008, the date in which he had a tryst with none other than the prime minister of this country, marked another occasion for his artful presentation of words.

After introducing each one of them in the attendance to the prime minister, the grand old man of Indian hockey spoke after Sports Minister MS Gill’s fairly long introductory remarks.

We convene so many training camps for the players, in fact too many of them. But we do not have a yardstick by which skill development, or lack of it, could be measured? No.

Unless we are not sure whether a particular player is improving or not, how can we assess him and develop his game further?

Therefore, I, through this book, Golden Yardstick: In Quest of Hockey Excellence, tried to evaluate a system of quantitatively measuring the skills of player so that he or she can be effectively assessed for acquiring the intended skills.

Touching on the commitment, a vital aspect needed for aspiring youngsters, he quoted his personal experience.

In 1975 when I was training the world cup squad in Chandigarh, my father died. I left the camp hardly for half a day. And further, during the same camp my wife was in coma. With God’s grace I could muster enough nerves not to affect the personal tragedy on my training schedule. We won the 1975 World Cup, and the sacrifices every one made was commendable. And also we had Allah’s blessing.

Allah’s blessing!

Pointing towards Aslam Sher Khan, a member of the 1975 winning team and also presently chairman of the IHF’s Selection Committee, he recollected, “We went to a masjid in Malaysia a day before the final to offer our prayer. We in fact used to go to all places of worship as the Indian team is a mix of all faiths. After we finished our prayers, we saw Pakistan team was also in the same place of worship. Next day, as we defeated them in the final, one of the Pakistan team member said, “You took Allah’s blessing before us, and won!

The points Balbir emphasized on yard stick can well be summarized as below:
YARD STICK: Currently, hockey lacks a yardstick that could measure the fundamental skills of an individual player. In the absence of previous records and performance analysis, detection of deficiencies is not possible. Since individual records are non-existent, higher targets cannot be fixed or achieved. Hence, the coaches struggle aimlessly from one camp to another without achieving specific goals. The players fail to improve on fundamentals, even to the extent of their individual ability. Ultimately, hockey suffers.

BIASED SELECTION: The present opinion based visual selection for various camps and later, for final teams, is seldom free from unintentional bias of individual selectors. Therefore, many talented players in general and those residing in remote areas in particular, do not get proper opportunities to come into lime light. The few among them, who happen to represent weak teams at different levels of competition, fail to manifest their real talent against much stronger hockey outfits. Since the game has no separate tests for the individual skills, most hockey talent remains undiscovered.

s2h is previleged to reproduce the opening paragrah of the Golden Yardstick: In Quest of Hcokey Excellence:

’Like any other sport, hockey can be divided in order of priority into four broad aspects namely: physical, technical, tactical and psychological. Being inter-linked, progress in one leads to improvement not only in the immediate next but also in the other three. Though all four are equally important, the technical aspect has always attracted greater attention because it embraces the fundamental skills around which the entire game revolves. Consequently, this book relates mainly to the technical side of hockey. The training method prescribed here, if followed systematically, can make you a hockey maestro or a super coach, whatever your dream may be. Needless to add, each of these two can be instrumental in leading your team to victory. And victory has always been the essence of a competitive sport.

The game gets so fast, particularly in the two danger zones, that the attackers and the defenders hardly get any time to look at their respective targets before shooting or clearing. No wonder, a hockey maestro acts on instinct and the ball finds its own target, like a self guided missile. The pattern proposed in this volume is simple, practical and result- oriented. The following paragraphs besides elucidating the theory will guide you to achieve your goal faster, provided you are keen and serious.

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balbir book
by love hockey on 7/3/2008 8:09:50 PM
how you measure the skills, even if you can, it won't be of much use