Speaking and understanding the English language can help Indian hockey players improve their on-field showing. The team's high performance director Roelant Oltmans believes this can help the team better understand foreign coaches and comprehend game situations abroad.
In a report published by the Times of India, Oltmans has been quoted as saying that there are times when foreign players, coaches and officials do not understand what the Indian players are trying to say or do. "I believe it's necessary for our players to improve their understanding of English. It's not only because you need to interact with a foreign coach sometimes but also if you want to communicate with foreign players." (Also read: Hockey India set to appoint foreign goalkeeping coach)
The Indian team has had a forgettable recent past with Aussie Michael Nobbs being axed and replaced by MK Kaushik - primarily due to losses in World Hockey League. "We had a situation in Rotterdam where the umpires did not understand why we had asked for a referral. Even if you want to ask for a referral, you have to make sure people understand you properly. It is important to make your question clear," said Oltmans.
Lessons in the English, feels the Dutchman, will also not tax the players who train on the field for close to 5 hours. "We need to do this to improve our performance. Players should not feel shy to speak the language. When you are training 4-5 hours a day, it is not difficult to have an hour of English lessons."
The focus for the team and new coach Kaushik is the Asia Cup and the language teaching sessions are likely to start after the tournament.