After taking the charge of the Indian Men Hockey team, Chief Coach, Paul van Ass addressed the media for the first time at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi. He took charge of the team on Monday (16th March) at preparatory camp for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be played from 5th April in Malaysia.
Starting the briefing session with media, the coach officially introduced himself then he went on to talk on his meeting with the players alongwith highlighting how the Indian team has been performing in the recent past, his plans for the team and his aim as a coach.
Speaking on the Indian team and performance in the last few tournaments, Indian Men Hockey Coach, Paul van Ass said, “After 16 years India won the Asian Gold and last year they won it again. This is proof that they have risen and this gave me the motivation to come and join this team. This team has beat big teams in recent times and the gap is closing”.
Commenting on the areas of improvement the coach added, “This team has improved and yes they can improve in many ways. The positive is the technical skill and they can improve and I think they need to inculcate that they need to be cooler under pressure. It’s a process and I aim here to help them to reach there.
Speaking on the Indian style of playing Paul van Ass added, “Will keep the Indian way of play, keep the skill on the pitch and not try not make it a European style. But I will bring in the knowledge that I can provide which will add to their play and I feel India is like any international side today”.
Talking on asking for 200% from his players he said, “Yes I demand 200% and I think every coach across the world asks for it. It depends where you put your emphasis. I will challenge each player to the maximum, you have to win first from yourself before you win the game. It is tough to win from yourself first and I will challenge them in that”.
Paul van Ass Talking on the plan of making the team stronger in their play, “I will not make them unlearn what they know and have learnt as it will go against their nature. But will try to make the chain stronger; the chain of defence, chain of control chain, of counter control and chain of attack and this is more of European and Australian style. The other part is the skilfulness which is what the team is known for and that’s the strong point. I will work on the technical as well as the skilful play of the players”.
Speaking on the aim for himself, “While I hope that India will do well in the Olympics but getting back to reality, the Indian team is climbing up which is the work of both the foreign as well as the Indian coaches. Seeing them play in the last few tournaments I can say we have a chance to get a medal in the Olympics. The real measure for me will be the Men’s Hockey World League Final which will be played in India in December and that will give us enough time to create a high performance programme and I will take that tournament I will see where we stand for the Olympics and the areas of improvement required for 2016”.