1MHL Ewout in Jaipur and Ajmer

Jaipur, February 2016

In cooperation with the Rajasthan State Sport Council (RSSC) One Million Hockey Legs trainer Ewout Pahud de Mortanges is training and coaching the under 18 boys and girl’s teams of Rajasthan. He has been experiencing Rajasthan for more than two months now. Time to ask Ewout how he is doing so far.

Read Ewout's story..

"My name is Ewout Pahud de Mortanges and I have been to Jaipur and Ajmer for 3 months. During my time in India, I have seen and experienced a lot as a One Million Hockey Legs trainer that I would like to share with you.

First of all, I would like to tell about my experiences in general. The 1MHL program went down really well. All children and coaches were very enthusiastic. Unfortunately, they are not as much aware of safety, they just really play with their heart which is very nice to see. The children in India are very eager to learn and excited for new things to learn. This also drives me to teach them a lot. Yet, there are massive differences between the hockey culture in Europe and India.

I have also come across some barriers. One being the understanding of hockey phrases. In India everybody shouts at each other in order to ask for the ball. They also do not use specific hockey terms. Among some children, there are language barriers. Fortunately, I had some children who were able to translate the English sentences to Hindi for me. Another barrier I came across was the communication towards coaches and trainers. Lastly, the gap between grassroots hockey and elite hockey is massive.

In the previous two months, I have seen a lot of development. The basic skills have clearly been improved, such as passing, receiving, ball controlling and hitting. Besides this, I also taught theoretical subjects and brought them into practice on the fields. The old method of ‘six a side’ had changed to 11 versus 11 players. In regards to the training sessions, I have added some Dutch structure, such as including a warming up before the training and cooling down once we finished the session. The starting level was very moderate. You could compare it to a third or fourth team in the Netherlands. Slowly the children started to take things up and use the information that was given to them. They were developing into second or sometimes even first team players. It was amazing to see how some girls firstly could not even control a ball, but after a week or two were able to pass a ball properly. I focused a lot on the improvement and development of the basic skills, because this currently is not addressed in India as much.  

Besides the hockey program and experiences, I also ran into some cultural differences. When looking at times of training sessions, there was a big difference. In India training starts at 06:30 till 08:00 and in the afternoon from 15:30 till 18:15. Also, the build up of a training session was different, including the structure. I also experienced that Indian coaches can be very direct and harsh towards the children. During most of the sessions, there is a lack of equipment, sometimes even none available. The thing that stood out most to me was related to safety. Whereas in the Netherlands we see this a lot, in India during training sessions, children did not use any mouth guards or shin guards.

Up until now I have had a great time in India. I am looking forward to what the last month has to offer me.

- Ewout"

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