Coaching E-Newsletter #2    DEVELOPING Coaches and their Players


To bridge the gap between Soft Skills and Hard Skills, to create an optimum balance of Art, Grace and Power; and make our game more appealing to the masses.

Core Themes covered in this issue

Tactical: Thinking Strategies to play in the Right Offensive Quadrant (ROQ), with specific emphasis on the play making space – Gold Mine - and the player who plays in this position, Right Inner

Technical: Role of the Reverse Stick, in passing, receiving, play making moves and goal scoring

Power point presentations and video clips to support the core themes of this issue

Training Method Tips

Motivational Quotes


I acknowledge and understand that, there are more than one way of doing and seeing things. This does not mean that the way Coach John or Coach Mike coaches is wrong. My intention is not to undermine or criticize any coach or player personally, for that matter. I just like to show and share the things, without prejudice, from a different angle and perspective.

Tactical Component:

In the CNL # 1 we covered the topic of “Thinking Strategies to play in the Four Quadrants of the field”, in this section, we will zoom the focus upon a specific pocket of the Right Offensive Quadrant, named “Play making space” (PMS). Its role and the strategies to maximize the advantages from the offensive point of view.


Coaches have divided the field into various zones to achieve team performance objectives. There are certain zones which are more valuable than the others. It is vital, to be aware and understand the varying importance of each specific zone - Concept of Location and the Player Position – to optimize its advantage.

Where is PMS (Play Making Space) Located?

PMS (Play Making Space) is located in front of the opponent's circle, towards the right side. The player playing in this position is named Right Inner – Inside Right or Right Link - and plays a key role of a play maker. The passes generated from this space to the leading forwards result in classy field goals.

Diagram 1: Please note the highlighted yellow area (Play Making Space)

Diagram 2: Positions of the various players on the field and the passing options of the Right Inner.


  1. It presents a clear view to the right inner, with regards to the position of the opposing defenders and his/her leading forwards, in relation to the goal
  2. The leading forwards receiving the ball from the right inner will have multiple options - they can receive it on their open stick or reverse stick, on the run. With an option of bringing it instantly, to their strong side, forcing the defender to tackle from the left
  3. Further they will also have multiple options to finish the move with a sweep, push or hit it first time to score a goal
  4. It is vital that the passes coming from the right inner are passed at an optimum speed and angle to optimize their execution

Example from the 2016 Rio Olympics:

During the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Final match, the defending Olympic Champions Netherlands, had the ball in the play making space, and GB was defending.

Please study the picture below.

I see this situation as a highly favorable one with a golden opportunity, for the Dutch to exploit the GB defense. For more details of what happened and what should have happened. Please click on this Power Point Presentation.

Please click on the Power Point Presentation Recognizing paterns of play in the Play Making Space

Please read the following part of the article after viewing the above PP presentation

Why were the Dutch not successful? Cause and Effect

Most probably, this may be due to the fact that their game reading skills / game intelligence, were not fully developed during their early to mid-teens. This has affected their decision making ability. It may also be due to overload of information and not knowing exactly;

  • How to analyze the given game situation
  • What to look at and for
  • How to select the most effective option

One of the draw backs of developing all round players results in, Jack of all trades and master of none

As we dissect this game situation from the point: How the Dutch Right Inner saw the Game Situation Pattern, and how she and her teammates read it collectively to create a goal scoring opportunity. Their strategic actions and decision were not the wisest, while disobeying the basic concepts of attack; Width, Depth, Support and Penetration.

What can we learn from the past?

By reconnecting with the past we can solve our current day challenges. You will be surprised to know how many valuable treasures are hidden in the past. Please click on these 2 video links from the early 80’s and 90’s. They depict how Pakistan Players intelligently exploited the play making space to win the 1984 LA Olympics and 1994 Sydney World Cup, Gold medals.

BTW, these were their last world level tournament wins. One can also say that, one of the reasons for their down fall, was their sharp diversion from their core strengths which gave them the winning edge.

Video Links:

1984 Olympic Games clip:


Video Links:

1994 World Cup Clip:


May I Suggest: Develop game sense at an early age:

In the previous issue we suggested, “While developing a young player’s technical skills, we also need to develop their tactical thinking and game sense to make wise decisions, during the run of play”. IOW teach the technical and tactical skills in the context of the game. So the players may learn to combine their technical skills with tactical decision making ability, under realistic pressurized game situations.

We cannot solve our problems with the same THINKING we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein


Please show these 2 game situation slides to your players, in the U 14 – 16 age group. Question them if they can correlate them from the conceptual thinking point of view.

They were taken 28 years apart – 1984 LA Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. The basic concepts of the game have not changed. What has changed is the way we look at them.




“How we see and read the play is a result of our game understanding; “Thought Process”, which creates “Mental Pictures”. These painted mental pictures in our mind, are the driving force to make wise decisions, under pressure during the run of play. The quality of decisions will entirely depend upon, how crystal clear or blurred the quality of these mental pictures are. It’s that simple. Period.

Please educate the future champs to develop clear mental pictures, in order to perform in the peak performance zone, under tremendous pressure”.

Shiv Jagday

Steps to optimize the effective use of play making space:

  • Be aware of this space and its importance
  • Identify players who can play at this Right Inner position
  • Develop their necessary technical and tactical skills, to play this position effectively
  • Right inner has to be intelligent, with a good vision of the space in front of him and the leading forwards
  • Right inner should possess excellent technical skills - stick work, ball control and deceptive passing
  • Ability to attract the opposing defenders like a magnet and then pass the ball effortlessly to the leading forwards in the created gaps
  • The right inner's style of play is very unique, and require special receiving skills, moves, and semi-penetrating dodges to fulfill the play maker role

Since the beginning of this millennium, the role of the Right Inner as a play maker, to the leading forwards has been fading gradually. Partially due to the No Off side Rule (NOR) after the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. This is a point to think over, both for the coaches and the players, on how to best utilize the play making space to the team's optimum advantage.

There is no question that the No Offside Rule also encouraged the hockey gurus, to design game plans, which bypassed midfield play and diminished the role of the midfield players to a high degree, replacing it with a Hit and Hope Strategy. This has done our game more harm than good. It has stolen its beauty. Let’s work together to bring a balance of soft and hard skills in our game. Start the revolution from the bottom rather than from the top. Juniors are our big hope. And this is all this CNL is about. 

Technical component:

In CNL # 1 we covered the role of open stick near the left foot of the body. In this issue we will focus upon the role of the reverse stick and how its implementation can be optimized, during the run of play, in various game situations.


As we know, we cannot use the back side of the hockey stick, as is allowed in ice hockey. So the stick is rotated back and forth in a semi-circle to control the ball. The players do it well. Following are the game situations, where when applied it can harvest rich dividends.

1. Receiving a pass on the reverse stick:

I understand, the players these days do not use it as much as they should or can, due to the fear of losing the possession of the ball, while receiving it under pressure. They are hesitant exposing the ball, and over protect it. There is a time and place during the run of play, when one has to take calculated risk and expose the ball to entice the opponent. Another big advantage is when one uses it to receive a pass coming from the right shoulder – R.I. pass to C.F. - one can move either way to the right or left, with the ball. This puts an opponent in a dilemma.

Passing and Receiving the ball with a reverse stick + stick feints


Here is an example of a timely lead by the C.F. to receive the ball on the run on the reverse stick. Please note how she has left her markers in white, steps – miles - behind. Can you correlate it with the PMS advantage we mentioned in the CNL earlier? Please THINK about it

2. Passing the ball with the Reverse stick: 

To draw the defender to one’s left side and pass it with the reverse stick, to the overlapping R.I.

3. Using reverse sticks feints to eliminate the opponent:

Please view the video clip to cover the above 3 points

4. Using Reverse stick to flip the ball over the stick:

 5. Using Reverse stick to score Goals:

 6. How to – Technique – develop reverse stick and open stick skills, while practicing with the wall:


Training Methods Tips:

To develop game understanding and specific situational tactical awareness?

Step 1.

When the players are in their early to mid-teens, practice sessions should be designed as such which expose them to the various game situations they will encounter at the higher level of competition. The best way to achieve this is via Mini Hockey Games, 3 on 2, 3 on 3, 4 on 3 and 4 on 4. IOW train in a game simulated environment and not in isolation. Avoid drills which force the player’s to dribble and run through the cones. This is counterproductive to some extent.

Just an example of 4 on 3 mini hockey game to teach the concepts of the various types of marking.

Step 2.

Teach and expose the players to the various basic concepts which govern the game during a classroom video sessions and on the field.

Step 3.

During the Mini hockey games, Freeze the Game and ask the players open ended questions. Covering 5 W’s and H regarding the given game situations “using guided discovery method”. As this will help the coach understand the player’s perspective, level of thinking and how they see and read the game situation.

How will these 3 steps help?

  • Help the players to instantly recognize the fast changing patterns of play
  • Develop a deeper insight to differentiate between the moves/plays, which are highly effective than the ones which are less or not effective at all
  • Develop awareness of most effective patterns of play, from the various quadrants and their specific pockets, which may be Gold Mines or Field Mines waiting to be blasted, from the offensive and defensive point of view
  • Develop Creativity to solve problems. For Example: When the ideal play making game situations don’t prevail, how to create them. What strategies to embrace and implement and which ones to discard
  • Recognize the openings / opportunities as soon as they occur or even before they occur. Playing in the future

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.

Wayne Gretzky

Motivational Quotes on Failure:

Failure is success in progress.        

Albert Einstein


I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison


Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping – stones to success.

Dale Carnegie


Failures are part of life. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn you will never change.

Author unknown


Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: It is courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill


Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Winston Churchill


Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.

John F. Kennedy


Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.

Barack Obama


I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan


The Biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

Mark Zuckerberg



Coaching programs:

Coach Shiv and his coaching staff are based in San Jose, CA, USA, and Vancouver, BC, Canada. SCA conducts Coach Education and Elite Youth Player Development programs, worldwide. These programs can be delivered by visiting the respective training centers or on line, using long distance learning. The world is so small and still so big. Thanks to modern technology.

SCA has conducted these coaching courses and Seminars for the coaches / players in various countries namely, Australia, USA, Canada, India, and Malaysia, to name a few.


Develop the coach before developing the player

  1. Coach Shiv being an accredited FIH Coach and a FIH Coaching Academy Coach Educator, has been conducting FIH Coaching courses, since 1988.

    Please contact if you are interested - Email:

    Your feedback and any questions will be most welcome.

    Thank You! Please join us and be an Active Partner to bring this positive change.


Coaching E-Newsletter staff

Editor: Elaine Goodman

Director of Communication & Design: Ranbir Kahlon

Conceptual Thinking & Philosophy: Shiv Jagday

Shiv Jagday

Skype: coachshiv