Last March it was finally possible our Dutch coach Sjoerd to return to India, since the start of the pandemic. Sjoerd Woelders traveled with a big stack of documents and negative COVID-19 tests to the Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA) in Jamshedpur and Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Center (ONTHHPC). The focus of this trip was to support the coaches and the girls’ team of the ONTHHPC with their preparation for the Sub Junior State Tournament held at their own Kalinga Stadium.
The season 2019-2020 Sjoerd worked for 10 months at the academies, so it was a nice reunion to see ‘’his’’ boys and girls and coaches again.
‘’It was nice to see that the girls in Bhubaneswar, Odisha give so much energy during the tournament. They wear their silver medal with pride! But the coaches also did lots of work. They’ve been busy with practicing tactics. So to visit them now, is a good moment to give them some fresh energy and new views about things. This way we can develop new tactics. To achieve that, is something I’m very proud of!’’ According to Sjoerd.
Every week we discuss via online meetings with the academy coaches what the next steps are. Yet, working face to face works best.
Sjoerd was also present at the Sub Junior State Tournament, where the U15 girls of our Odisha NTHHPC played in the finals. After a thrilling shoot-out series, they unfortunately lost. They, and us too, are extremely proud that they won a silver medal!
Playing these kinds of national tournaments is very important for the players. As participating and especially winning a medal they receive certificates which increases their chances for a professional hockey career.
The trip was very useful and gave many new insights. We have a good idea about the current situation at the academies. All the coaches and players have new input to continue their work and development and are extremely motivated to reach the top!
The next months the focus will be on upcoming exams, after which they will enjoy a well-deserved holiday. So that in June they will start the new season fresh and revived!