Sunday, June 14, 2009


" The hockey of the past we have to respect, the hockey of today we must study, and the hockey of the future we should anticipate.

Those are not words from a Greek philosopher but from Horst Wein, a renowned hockey tactician who has switched over to football for the last 20 odd years. In a three part series, Horst Wein shares with me the ills that plague world hockey and how Malaysia should approach development of the youngsters.

Horst is all for developing the right attributes for players from as young as eight and says that for Malaysian hockey to further develop, or for it to achieve international success, there is a tried and proven formula.

“This rigid and authoritarian coaching style does not develop intelligent players with awareness and responsibility,” contends Wein, a German.

“To get more intelligent players on the pitch in the future, coaches need to stimulate more and instruct less.”

Wein, the author of 31 text books - who is now stimulating football coaches of world- from well known football clubs as Inter Milan, Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo, UNAM “Pumas” de México, Real Sociedad de San Sebastian, Club Nacional Montevideo, Cruz Azul, Club America (México) and Universidad Católica de Chile.

In the early 80’s Wein, then based in Spain, produced a hockey development model which helped to produce hundreds of fine talents.

And to the surprise of the rest of the hockey world, a decade later Spain won Olympic gold and silver.

“Once we give the children access to the forbidden fruit of adult information [competition], we expel them from the garden of infancy,” said Wein.

“It does seem as though, in many parts of the world and also in Malaysian Hockey, there are too many teachers and coaches of young hockey players still living in the Middle Ages. Why call it that?

“In the Middle Ages society knew only infants and adults. By seven or eight years of age, a person was already considered adult because he participated in adult activities: the child worked, ate, dressed, and behaved as an adult.

“For how long can we allow the ignorance of our coaches and especially of the administrators to continue to obstruct the natural development of the next generation of hockey players in Malaysia?”

Wein contends that our world of hockey reflects the current situation. Instead of children being able to practice their particular games, as in the past, in the streets or other natural settings, the increasing urbanization of the landscape does not allow the most of them to make use of the natural surroundings that their grandparents had for play.

“Besides having to play the game on artificial grass fields far away from their homes, in our advanced society young boys and girls—in many clubs and schools—must maintain rigid training methods and competitions, ”said Wein.

“These old-fashioned methods in no way respect the laws of nature or the children’s actual mental and physical capacities.

“Everywhere children are obliged to train and compete like adults, forced to adapt to rules originally intended for adults. The rush to introduce talented youth to the adult game has frequently resulted in their acquiring bad habits that later limit their performance on our senior teams.