Hockey is a famous outdoor game and National Game of India. It is played with a hockey stick and a ball. The years 1928-1956 are considered as Golden Period of hockey in India, when India won six Olympic gold medals.
Dhyan Chand is considered as star of Hockey, and has contributed to wining India in the hockey Matches. Dhanraj Pillai was another popular and famous player of Indian Hockey, who was also the captain of Indian Hockey team, who won Arjuna award for Hockey.
Although the game has not been officially declared as National Game of India, it is considered as national game as the country has won many gold medals in hockey. It is a very fast game and the players are constantly running around the ground hitting the ball and is very amazing to watch and play.
Playing hockey improves physical strength and stamina. It improves concentration as the players have to be alert all the time during the game, as the situation of the game changes every minute, along with the movement of ball. It encourages team spirit as it is team play and all the team members must have a good understanding between them throughout the game. Any misunderstanding or discrepancy among the players would cost them a huge loss.
Hockey is a very fast and spontaneous game. There are eleven players in each team and they all have a stick in their hand which is curved at the end to hit the ball. The objective of hockey is to hit the ball with the stick into a goal. The team which hits the goal is awarded a point and the team with most goals is declared as winner.
The stick can be turned in either sides for hitting the ball, but the player is supposed to use only the curved side of the stick. The ball can be dribbled or passed only using the stick and no other part of the body should come into contact with the ball.
Any player found trying to hit the other opponent with the stick or using hand or leg to hit the ball or hits the stick of the opponent is considered as foul. The game requires very good stamina, mental alertness and physical strength.
By constant practice the players can achieve high degree of stability and expertise in the game. Players are running around the field through out the game and they must be very alert, any minute the game can change its position.
There are many forms of Hockey like, Field hockey, beach hockey, Ice hockey, mini hockey, roller hockey, street hockey. In India, Field hockey is the most popular, Ice hockey is played in many western countries. Hockey has gained popularity in many countries and has a keen competition at international level.
Hockey has many state levels and national levels competitions in schools and colleges. The Indian women’s national field hockey team is ranked 9th in field hockey rankings (FIH) and is nicknamed as “Nabhvarna”. In 2002 India won the gold medal in Common wealth games led by captain Suraj Lata Devi. In 2003 India won Asian Cup at Kula Lampur. India stands on 5th position in FIH world rankings as of January 2019.
Hockey needs to be given lot of encouragement from government and more young people must be encouraged to play the game. As the country has good players, they need support and encouragement. It is because of lack of interest and facilities many people restrain themselves from playing the game.
If proper guidance and facilities are provided, India would provide more talented hockey players and the Golden Era of Hockey can return. All the schools and colleges should also participate in the game and train their students to play the game on state and national levels.
Hockey is one of the oldest games and has a bright history and has now become dormant due to lack of interest and support. Few years back one could see many youngsters playing the game at the streets or play grounds but could not continue it due to lack of proper coach and training.
Hockey India League has planned to implement some effective strategies to expand hockey teams. These type of strategies are required more and more. Government, parents students everyone should come forward to participate, and restore India’s long lost legacy.