Saturday, March 25, 2023

Can the hit be revived as a substitute for the drag-flick in world hockey? Consultants say sure

Indian captain Pargat Singh — in motion towards Canada within the World Cup hockey event in Lahore, Pakistan, on February 22, 1990 — was among the finest exponents of the hit.
| Photograph Credit score: The Hindu Archives

The drag-flick is likely one of the most acquainted strategies in fashionable world hockey and the primary choice for groups attempting to attain by means of a penalty nook. Groups with the most effective sparkles on the earth very often focus extra on incomes PCs than truly attempting to attain.

However a few of the greatest within the enterprise insist the one-rule-fits-all isn’t the easiest way to go about utilising penalty corners. The drag-flick’s predecessor, the ‘hit’ has been steadily regaining acceptance from former gamers though it hasn’t made it to the present coaching manuals all over the world. That will nicely change quickly, feels Bram Lomans.

The Netherlands’ Bram Lomans, who scored three penalty corner goals against Australia during the hockey World Cup semifinals in Utrecht on May 30, 1998

The Netherlands’ Bram Lomans, who scored three penalty nook objectives towards Australia in the course of the hockey World Cup semifinals in Utrecht on Could 30, 1998
| Photograph Credit score:
The Hindu Archives

Lomans, one of many earliest and among the many most profitable drag-flick practitioners, is one in an extended line of Dutchmen who elevated the method to an artwork type. He together with compatriots Teun de Nooijer and Floris Jan Bovelander, was a vital cog within the all-conquering Holland facet within the late Nineties and early 2000s.

“I think the ‘hit’ is still very important. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some team even here (at the World Cup) tries to use it to score. I also think teams around the world need to start developing it again and find good hitters because scoring through flicks is also getting tougher, the space and angles to score is getting reduced all the time,” Lomans, who labored with the Indian drag-flickers for a specialised one-week camp fine-tuning their actions forward of the World Cup, informed The Hindu.

He isn’t the one one. One other Dutch nice and PC specialist, Ties Kruize, additionally favours retaining the ‘hit’. “I think moving from hit to flick was a natural development, in line with changing rules and the goalkeepers and defenders getting better and teams trying to find new ways to score. But sometimes you get 3-4 short corners quickly and don’t score and maybe players should think, ‘I should try an alternative way, maybe give it a good hit’? There can be so many variations, they are all legal,” Kruize questioned.

Lomans agreed, acknowledging the significance of the flick however insisting groups should experiment. “See, the main reason flicking developed was because it got difficult scoring through hits. It was easier earlier because a hit was scored from inside the circle, so the ball had to travel maybe 10-12m. Then the rules changed and the ball had to go out of the circle before a shot could be taken, so the distance increased to around 15m and that makes a huge difference in actual play at those speeds.

“Defence also matters. With a hit you could only hit as high as the backboard and the goalkeepers would naturally lie down to save. With a flick, you have the entire goal to score but that area is reducing with better defence and goalkeepers hardly lie flat now. And, of course, variety is always good,” he defined.

Floris Bovelander of Holland scoops the ball during a penalty corner in the semifinal of the 7th World Cup hockey tournament on February 21, 1990 at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan.

Floris Bovelander of Holland scoops the ball throughout a penalty nook within the semifinal of the seventh World Cup hockey event on February 21, 1990 on the Nationwide Hockey Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan.
| Photograph Credit score:
The Hindu Archives

Bovelander too has been a long-time votary of utilizing the ‘hit’ in its place scoring technique, one thing former Dutch and present Spanish coach Max Caldas agreed to however hasn’t been too eager on merely due to lack of personnel who can execute the identical.

Apparently, the staunchest supporters of the ‘hit’ are from Holland, the nation that really pioneered the drag-flick revolution. Whether or not that could be a signal of issues to come back stays to be seen.

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