Bhubaneswar: Mind games play an important role in whichever sport you play. So the Japan men’s hockey team’s head coach Siegfried Aikman wants his players to improve their standard of mind games, by playing another sport – Japanese chess.
“I want my players to play chess, not the physical board one but in their mobiles. It helps to think out of the box,” quipped Aikman after their victory Friday against Mexico in the FIH Series Finals here at the Kalinga Stadium.
“When I first asked them to play chess, they were like ‘what? Is the water burning?’ But playing among each other increases competitive spirit and it helps you to improvise,” pointed out Aikman.
However, this is not the first time the Indian-origin Dutchman has taken help of innovations to improve the performance of his boys. Before the Asian Games gold medal-winning performance last year, Aikman introduced stories of ‘Samurai Warriors’, of how they would conquer lands with a small of army.
Meanwhile, Aikman also asserted that his players need to learn mind innovation to create traps for the opposition.
“When you dribble you don’t create a trap. But if you plan ahead when to jump or swerve, then you trap your opponent. And the mind power to plan ahead develops by playing chess,” the 60-year-old asserted.
“Asian hockey is like ‘you get the ball, you run, dribble and show your skills’. But it doesn’t work like that all the time. You need to be connected, follow the strategy, the gameplan. Without all these factors nothing will work,” added Aikman.
Despite the win, Aikman wasn’t happy with the boys’ performance. “We could have played much better. When you want to grow and learn something you will definitely make mistakes. It is the only method to hone your skills, so one shouldn’t be afraid to commit errors,” Aikman asserted. “And today (Friday) they didn’t try which makes me angry, that’s where my frustration lies,” he added.
Later in the day, Aikman was all praise for Mexico’s performance. “All credit should go to Mexico. They took the lead first, fought throughout the match and played spiritedly. I’m a fan of Mexico. They played for a positive result. Love that!” Aikman said in a Facebook post.