Hockey India appoint two temporary coaches to ease Graham Reid’s workload

Bram Lomans and Dennis van de Pol have been hired for 10 weeks to help drag-flickers and goalkeepers respectively.

Hit by the sudden departure of its key support staff members, the Indian hockey team has roped in two Dutch coaches to temporarily plug the gap until full-time replacements are appointed.

In the last one month, Hockey India’s high-performance director David John, analytical coach Chris Ciriello, and physio David Macdonald all quit citing personal reasons. The exits have left chief coach Graham Reid without much support to oversee training at the ongoing national camp in Bengaluru.

To ease Reid’s burden, Hockey India has roped in the services of Dutchmen Bram Lomans and Dennis van de Pol for a period of 10 weeks, during which they will remotely coach the players.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup winner Lomans, who has worked with Reid when the Australian was the coach of Amsterdam hockey club, will coach the drag-flickers. He will take over the responsibility from Ciriello, who was also responsible to monitor the penalty corner specialists apart from being the analytical coach. Van de Pol, meanwhile, will be the goalkeeping coach. He had a short seven-day stint with the Indian goalkeepers last year as well.

Lomans and Van de Pol are expected to provide a weekly schedule to Reid, who will execute their plans and film their training on the ground. “The videos will be sent back to them and they will take it up with the players one-on-one or in groups through online meetings each week,” an official said.

The appointment of the full-time coaching staff is generally a long-drawn process, which requires clearances from the Sports Authority of India. It took more than a year for women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne to get an assistant after Erik Wonkink, now with the junior girls, left. The appointments for the men’s team have generally been swift but given the travel restrictions due to the pandemic, it isn’t clear when Ciriello and Macdonald’s replacements would be appointed and join the team.

So far, Reid has been assisted by junior coach BJ Kariappa. However, he too is likely to return to coaching the colts once their camp gets underway next month.

India do not have any assignments scheduled this year and are likely to return to the field only in January 2021. The team, however, has been training in Bengaluru and has returned to full strength after the six players, who tested positive for Covid-19, rejoined the rest of the team following their recovery.

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