It was an opportunity lost for many a hockey official, coach and player. At a time when Indian hockey is suffering for want of good governance and lack of vision, Marc Lammer's ‘talk' at the Global Sports Summit organised by FICCI at its New Delhi auditorium on Wednesday was just too good to miss. Unfortunately, no one worthwhile from the hockey fraternity was present. And, former Olympian and coach Jagbir Singh, a speaker on the panel, was absent as well.
Professional advice doesn't come for free. And here was Lammers, a man who guided The Netherland's ladies hockey team to the gold medal at the Beijing Games this summer, speaking at a sports and business seminar. In a 20-minute speech that left the motley audience transfixed, Lammers dwelt on what it takes to make a champion outfit.
At a time when Indian women have qualified for the World Cup, Lammer's ‘free' talk could have been like gospel to India's hockey officials. Alas, the famous coach was only heard by a bunch of media people, corporate honchos and students who are unlikely to make any long-lasting impact on the game.
Saying Spaniard Jose Brasa was doing a good job with the men's team, the savvy Dutch coach said India's women had tremendous potential but the "environment" had to be created for them. "They are not only skilful and women are better to teach," says Lammers, whose association with the Holland national side is now part of Dutch hockey folklore.
The Dutch mindset may not work in India, but Lammers suggests: "think in possibilities and not in difficulties," indicating not to make excuses due to lack of finances.
Currently training coaches in China and the United States, Lammers is keen to work in India after 2012. "I don't think a foreign coach is necessary to train the players. It is important to coach the coaches and the parents," says Lammers. He shared behind-the-scenes ‘secrets' of the Dutch ladies and what went in making them into Olympic champions.
Simple and practical, Lammers says, "It is important to work on your strengths rather than your weaknesses," adding: "discipline, creativity and hard work," are the keys to success.
Lammers will be back in India during the World Cup in February next year and says Champions Trophy winners Australia will be the favourites. "India's only advantage will be playing at home," he added.