Coaching E-Newsletter #6   DEVELOPING Coaches and Players

 Purpose: Bridge the gap between Soft Skills and Hard Skills

Core Themes covered in this issue

Tactical: Strategic moves and plays which are executed in the pocket of the Right Offensive Quadrant (ROQ), namely Play Making Space (PMS).

Technical: Developing the specific technical skills required to play effectively in this play making space.

Power point presentations and video clips: Supporting the core themes of this issue.

Training Method Tips: How to develop a young hockey player to play in this position

Motivational Quotes: On vulnerability

Food for Thought: A new addition to our Quarterly CNL, “Food for Thought”,it will cover comments and views of the experts on  various topics related to our game. In order to see things from a different perspective. These views will not be the same as we hear from our top coaches, experts and the commentators covering international matches. Especially with the current style of hockey, which is designed on the foundation based upon Brute Power and Overloaded Hard Skills.

In case if you have not read the previous 5 CNL’s, please visit and click on the tab on the top right side “coaching newsletter”. And you will find the link to all the previous issues.

As all these CNL’s are interlinked and interdependent, like building blocks. It may be hard, for some of you, to understand the topics covered in this issue and the ones in the future, especially the game concepts and the terminology, as they are different and new.

Welcome to SCA’s Quarterly E Newsletter

Tactical Component:

In the previous CNL #5, we covered “How to” pass the ball with a mini hit to a teammate, while maintaining the ball possession, as a team. Especially, when the opponents execute a full court press in the RDQ. In this issue we are going to cover the strategic moves and plays to be executed in the mini pocket of the Right Offensive Quadrant (ROQ), which covers the area just before and after the 23 meter lines. It is named as the Play Making Space (PMS). In reality it is a “gold mine” to make defense splitting passes and create quality goal scoring opportunities.

Please see the diagram below:

When one is playing in this specific ROQ, it is important to realize that it is a different game situation, than the one we discussed in the previous CNL #5. The paradigm and mind set has to be changed. And so with it the coping strategies and mechanism to perform efficiently and effectively.

We did touch base on this topic in the CNL #2, while taking the example of the Dutch Women’s national team playing in the 2012 Rio Olympic Games final match.

The tactical thoughts and strategies are based upon; 

  • Take the ball to the opponent, who is in the process of defending you, in such a fashion that one is not dodging, but rather freezing the opponent to exploit the Secondary space, behind the opponent and utilize it, to one’s maximum advantage. Employ semi penetrating dodges. 
  • Study the picture below and observe how the player in PMS with the ball is pausing and freezing the opponents, to exploit the secondary space behind the opposing defense. For more details click on this power point presentation link.
  • Force the defender to jockey back and be on their heels sitting quietly while listening to the musical tunes you are playing
  • Remember this key strategic tip; We don’t want to over crowd the attacking circle with opponents, as it will result in less space for one’s offensive teammates, to exploit the opponents and score a goal. Thanks to the No Off Side rule (NOR), which has enticed – fooled - us to preoccupy and overcrowd the circle, too early. This way is becoming our worst enemy in a way
  • Refer to the photographs below. Which one is a better game situation to score a field goal? Situation 1 or 2?


The above photos 1 and 1A are taken from the 1988 Seoul , and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, before the NOR was introduced. Please note the ample space in the circle, as is seen in the BFC example. Are we shooting ourselves by occupying the circle too early and overcrowding it? Think about it?

Please compare the above photo 2 from the 2016 Rio Olympics with photo 1 and 1A from the previous Olympic Games, when the Off Side Rule was obeyed.

Note the vacant space in front of the goal in the circle – Photo 1 & 1A - which provides space and time to display one’s soft skills, effectively.

Coaching Tip:

We can still optimize the use of this space by being aware of this strategic view. And deliberately hold back to play before the 23 meters line. This way to entice and fool the opposing team. I know this is easier said than done. One can’t underestimate the opponent’s intelligence, as this may give them the opportunity to fall back and overload the circle with numbers.

Have you ever wondered why field goals are easily scored on counter attacks? Because there is ample space with fewer opponents.

Comparative Analysis:

The key strategic difference between the plays of the RDQ and the ROQ are that in the former one does not go towards the charging forward, with the ball. One is cool and calm and entices the opponent to make the first move. In the later - ROQ, depending upon the given game situation, one has to go to the defender in a way, which entices him to come forward and at the same time forces him to jockey back. Giving one enough optimum primary space, to control the ball and make defense splitting passes.

How is this done?

Here is a video link in regard to receiving a pass coming from the left shoulder, courtesy of Championship Productions.


Common strategic errors to avoid in the ROQ:

  • Avoid executing a totally penetrating dodge. And don’t either hesitate to execute it, if and when the opportunity presents itself. As there will be game situations with an opportunity. These days most defender’s commit too early with an indoor style tackle, while not being patient and smart
  • Being a Play Making Space, the player who plays in this specific zone is named as the brain of the team. Develop his tactical thinking and reading the play/game sense skills in such a way that, he becomes an expert of knowing
    • When to dodge right and when to dodge left
    • When to play first time and when to hold the ball and when to pass it, when, where and to whom?

Quote: “He is getting better all the time, with and without the ball, he’s so aggressive and so intense. I like how clear it’s becoming – he knows when to dribble and when to pass”

Manchester City club Manager/Coach Pep Guardiola commenting regarding Raheem Sterling, on Dec. 25, 2017


Technical Component:

We will cover how to develop the following skills, to play in this play making space;

  • Ball control and play making moves
  • Passing, receiving and leading, while covering the pass coming from the Left shoulder on the open stick
  • Ball control and play making moves. Key strategic plan with a thought process, which consists of “How” to draw - suck - the opponent/opponents towards yourself, freeze them and exploit the space behind them and by strikers leading in to it
  • Body feints and Stick feints needed to implement these moves


Stick Feints



Right Inner Moves:

Training Method Tips:

Please refer to this video. It covers the technical and tactical aspects of playing in this specific ROQ pocket. Further, the young players are demonstrating how to recognize the patterns of play and make wise decisions accordingly.


Here are some steps – Do’s & Don’ts - to keep in mind, while training and preparing to play this position.


Encourage the players to receive the ball, with an open hip stance, so they can have a good view of the field, after receiving and controlling the ball with excellent first touch and footwork

Teach them to scan the field before receiving a pass and play first time

Encourage them to deflect the ball first time to the leading forwards, especially when there is a change in the point of attack and pass is coming from the LDQ or LOQ


Don’t: What not to do

Step 1

Avoid teaching the young players to receive the ball with their back towards the attacking goal and spin in a circle as soon as one is under pressure by an opponent/marker/defender

Trying to over protect the ball in fear of losing it, as this also minimizes their quality of positive passing and offensive options. Remember Higher the risk, higher the rewards. Take calculated risk.

Step 2

Encourage the players to be cool, calm and confident under pressure. And think of the rewards of success and not the penalties of a failure. As when one receives the ball while facing the attacking goal, he has a clear picture of the given game situation with more options

 Step 3

First develop these skills in isolation, training in specific game situation, so the players know when and where to apply them. Please refer to the training video.



Motivational Quotes on Vulnerability

By Dr. Brene Brown

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.

Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment. It is the birth place of everything we are hungry for.

Vulnerability is the birth place of innovation, creativity and change.

You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot chose both.

To the brave and broken hearted who have taught us how to rise after a fall. Your courage is contagious.

Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we are not good enough.

Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.

Honest Inner Views:

I was hesitant and afraid to comment openly about the current trends of our game, and the direction in which it is moving rapidly, like a tornado. Watching Brene’s Ted Talk, couple of years ago has encouraged me to speak my mind for the good of our game. Uncomfortable truth is better than comforting lies.

Here is the link to Brene’s Ted talk show. Please have a look.

Food for thought: A new section being introduced.

Here are the comments of a wise coach, Derek Pappas, after observing the Dutch women’s national team’s play against USA at the Stanford university, CA, USA, on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018.

“You all know that I keep no prisoners when it comes to criticizing the new hockey power game. These comments could be directed at any of the top 12 teams that are putting robots instead of artists on the field. Pep Guardiola has made his point at Manchester City this year Artistry outclasses negative defensive play.

Dutch women tonight looked completely devoid of attacking ideas.

There was no attempt to delay the ball.

The left wing played facing the end line or the left sideline but not the inside of the field.

Power hockey/power running. Playing at one pace is an epidemic at the international level.

Another views regarding the current style of play by the top teams.

My school days teammate, Prabhjot Singh, Director of PTC News, former chief bureau The Tribune from India, has attended every world cup and Olympic games since 1986 London WC and 1992 Barcelona Olympic games. He has seen the game go through its various phases for the last 5 decades approximately, IOW half a century. So there is a weight in what he observes, analysis and comments.

Recently, he had just returned from observing the 2017 WHL finals, Bhubaneshwar, I asked him an open ended question;

Your views regarding the present standard of world hockey?

“Hockey standard is very low, and is dropping even lower. Hockey is no more like it used to be and as we enjoyed it. It is very boring. Nothing anymore is interesting. No moves. No body dodges. No W or V formations. No through balls. It is not the same as we enjoyed 30 years ago. That is part of history. No reflection. No Interceptions. You can foresee. You can predict. It is stereo typed. The excitement has gone. It is without spirit and dead. We have to do something to make it a spectator sport”.

Shiv’s Comments, “So true. A bold statement. I like to remind the readers regarding my close friend and former national team coach, who had commented in 2013, "I won’t pay a dime to watch these current hockey matches … they are so boring".

My Take: Yes, change is inevitable and expected, but in the right direction. Football is a prime example, for comparative analysis. Has it changed in the last 5 decades? Yes, it has. Has it lost its originality, flavor, creativity and excitement? No. not the least.

It has art, force, creativity, surprise and thoughtfulness. Just like a good movie plot, it grabs your attention, till the last minute and in some cases till the last seconds of the game.

Why is it holding its place as a number one sport and grabbing our interest? Think about it. Let’s bring this positive change slowly and steadily.

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.


“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


Develop the coach before developing the player

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