Tuesday, April 16, 2024

‘Death blow’: Dutch federation quits international indoor hockey

The Dutch hockey federation’s decision to quit international indoor hockey for its men’s and women’s teams has been described as a “death blow” for the Oranje teams and players.

KNHB cancelled Netherlands’ participation in tournaments due to a packed global hockey calendar, with federation chiefs citing “too great a burden on resilience of players and supervisors”.

National coach Robert Tigges, who is now without a winter job, questioned the association’s decision. “Which committee decided this?

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  1. I wonder if the Dutch are planning to enter international hockey 5s tournaments? If so then what of the packed hockey calendar and the stresses on players?

    The death blow referred to in the headline is for Dutch players. I feel for them in the same way I feel for English players who experienced the same withdrawal from the international from the indoor game after the 2011 Poznan world cup. By that stage indoor was already seen by England Hockey almost exclusively as a development pathway for players who were seen as potential outdoor internationals of the future. I would love to be corrected, but my impression is that the Dutch and Australians have taken a similar approach. So indoor has been the extremely poor relation to the outdoor game for some time now amongst ‘major’ hockey nations.

    One might say then that the ‘death blow’ here is to the indoor game itself, and that it is a succession of blows rather than one terminal strike. More than football, where club allegiance is perhaps more important than national team allegiance for many, hockey relies on inspiring players by the performances of national teams. If players see that indoor is not valued, and that it is not even a route to international honours, then the incentive to play the game is eroded. Governing bodies then survey those same players and find that indoor is not important to them. The results of these surveys then roll forward to justify the lack of international presence, national funding and the erosion of the traditional windows where indoor hockey was played.

    In England the problems afflicting indoor stretch beyond that. Lack of access to facilities and the cost of those facilities when they do exist are a huge factor. Lack of available competitions for adults generally and – even where clubs support indoor – below 1st team level mean there is little incentive to invest the time in training or coaching.

    The 6-a-side indoor form of the game is exciting for players and spectators, involving in terms of touches of the ball for outfield players and even more so for keepers, excellent exercise for participants, weather resistant, and it works well in condensed tournament days or weekends where several teams can gather and a hockey crowd for games naturally follows.

    We have seen in cricket that different formats of the game will appeal to different people and that there is an increased appetite for faster more action packed games. I can fully understand the desire to promote hockey 5s as an alternative way to play hockey. But I simply cannot understand why a potential jewel in hockey’s offering is buried further and further underground.

  2. DOES HOCKEY have just t-o-o many variations and events ~ Olympics, World Cup, Continental Championships, Champions’ Trophy, Indoor and Outdoor variations?!? There is so much pressure – physical, mental et al on the players. A review is in order FIH…time to sort it out.


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