“Soft skills vs hard skills: Grace over brute force” by Coach Shiv Jagday


The current trend – more or less – has been to play the game with power, at top speed, resulting in one dimensional robotic play. Controlling the pace of the game at will, while displaying creative and intelligent plays, to create surprising moments, with body dodges, stick feints and dexterity, is a missing link. Yes there are a few exceptions here and there. No wonder our game is not as much spectator friendly, as it should or could be, when compared to soccer – football – and basketball. It’s time we give the soft skills their due importance and bring them back in our game.

Strategic steps:

The first step to take is to introduce them to the younger generation of players and their coaches. This way, we bring the change from the bottom than at the top, which is much easier. By taking this vital first step, now and in the coming years our game will have an ideal balance of soft and hard skills. As we witness in the most popular and beautiful game, of the universe namely soccer / football.

Coaching Philosophy:

The Coaching Philosophy and mindset has to be changed as one size does not fit all, only one size fits one position. Although every player has to be versatile to play different positions wisely. Every given game situation, position and specific zone of the field has a unique technique / strategy to control and carry the ball, in relation to one’s body, opponent or opponents and team mate’s positions. One size – style and technique – does not fit all. Only one – size- fits – one. The tactical thinking to analyze the given game situation and the thought process to win the contest varies vastly, from one situation to the other. This is a very advanced concept. And our current players / coaches need to understand it clearly before they are able to implement and teach. A Shift in tactical thinking to have a new mindset.

One of the key strategies is to operate on the premises that, higher the risk = higher the rewards! Take calculated risks. Avoid over protecting the ball, unnecessary, especially while entering – Offensive right and left Quadrants – near the opponents circle.

In the two photographs below the Right wingers from Australia and India are overprotecting the ball, while running with it. And they are hurting none other than themselves and their team. They missed the goal scoring opportunities.

Which are these soft skills?

The first skill from the list of the various soft skills to be introduced at the junior level, is the implementation of the Open stick passing and receiving. I believe it has a unique place in our game and can add tremendous value to make the game more attractive, deceptive, effective and spectator friendly. Achieving more by doing less.

This is the way I see its role and when, where, and how it is applied during the various game situations.

Your feedback will be most appreciated. Email: coachshiv@aol.com
Visit: WWW.COACHSHIV.COM for more!

By Pablo Mendoza

Pablo Mendoza is an FIH Hockey Academy Educator and the owner of A Hockey World. Contact: pablo@ahockeyworld.net