Modern Players

Thursday August 24th 2017


This week the publishers of this spot on the bottom of the internet have asked me give my impressions of the modern game. That’s easy. The modern game is great. Fast, attacking and skilful. Modern players however……


There are many areas the modern player just does not measure up. And I am talking across the board here, not only the elite level. Actually, mostly below the elite level, but not exclusive of any modern player.


Firstly, why do you all so desperately want to score reverse stick goals? Why, when given the opportunity to run in on the fore stick and smash it do you decide to stop at the top of the circle and do a little backward spinney thing? What is going on there? Is the highlight reel more important than the result? Try this at home kiddies. Dribble a ball from the 25 line toward goal at pace. When you get to the top of the circle smash it at the goal. How long did that take? Ok, now dribble a ball from the 25 line toward goal at pace. When you get to the top of the circle do a little backwards spin and then smash it at goal. How long did that take? Do each ten times. How many goals did you score using each method? How many back stick shots ended up near the sideline? Hockey games are won by goal scorers, not stylists.


And what’s with the shoes. The FIH is spending a lot of time and effort convincing broadcasters to show our great game and it doesn’t help having a kaleidoscope flashing across the pitch every time a player moves. There is also a direct correlation between bright shoes and reverse stick goal attempts. Any player attempting a reverse shot with bright shoes on and not wearing shin pads should be carded immediately.


Next: I recently read a player profile in which they listed their favourite pre game music. I don’t want to embarrass that player, as they are not the only guilty party here, but Drake? Seriously? Modern Hip hop R and B and the like may be all well and good for the clubs and bars but has no place in a pre game warm up. Over produced, over sampled middle of the road smaltz does not generate the hormonal balance necessary to maintain a killer instinct.


Intensive study by this scribe has revealed that optimal athletic performance is best obtained using the natural biorhythms created by artists such as The Ramones or Led Zeppelin. So-called ‘Heavy Metal’ beyond creative’s such as Metalica can produce what is known as the ‘card effect’. Anything by Ed Sheeran or Tim Buckley is a strict no go area for it’s sheer melancholy alone. Cold Play can induce immediate competitive shutdown.


Coach’s need to be aware of the scope of this science like study. Country music generally scores low on the Competitive Urge Index, however some forms of Texas swing, such as Bob Willis and the Texas Playboys for instance, have very high ‘get your arse up and get moving’ quotient that they should form part of a balanced pre game musical diet. As does any song that features Bootsy Collins on bass.


As a quick guide consider this evaluation: Beyonce; Mmmm maybe. When you are Queen B it is all about Queen B. Don’t worry about rings honey, get a stick on it. Oasis; definitely out. All that moaning and whinging about you not doing this and that and me not caring that I don’t care navel gazing rubbish. “Oh, I need a coffee”. Thin Lizzy; most definitely in. We are back in town baby and ready to bust out of jail and head out on the range swigging from a jar of whiskey on the way.


And my final gripe, the modern player is too good. How dare you all show off with your skill and your confidence. I am sure you are aware of the role model’s that you have become. Every week I see grown men in their 40’s or 50’s trying to emulate deeds they couldn’t achieve in their teens. You are only encouraging them. For every new skill you introduce there is an old man or woman out there thinking, “I can do that”. Most likely that person is in my team. Orthopaedic surgeons do quiet nicely thank you very much without a surgery full of oldies thinking they can pull off a tumbling over the shoulder reverse fore stick shot from the baseline.


In much the same way that Monty Python asked, “What have the Romans done for us”, this scribe, and others, have asked, “What has the FIH done for Hockey”. Judging by the Hockey I have witnessed over the last 4 weeks, from Sunday afternoon games at the lowest levels of local league Hockey to the fantastic action of the Euro’s, they have done pretty good.


Not perfect mind you. And the FIH faces many challenges ahead. But they have fostered a fantastically competitive and unpredictable sport that encompasses all genders, ages, nationalities, religions, beliefs, dogmas and abilities.


The modern game is great and as competitive as it has ever been. The modern player, well, if you really must listen to someone moan about how tough they have it, at least do it to a rockin rhythm and a cranking guitar solo.

Hockey Tip No 093: Always ensure you have the biggest speaker system in the changeroom to drown out any bad vibes created by James Blunt or Taylor Swift fans
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