Introduction of Sunday League by One Thousand Hockey Legs in Delhi has sent positive signals with respect to bring back drop outs back to hockey fields.
OTHL has found that about 25% of students whom it introduced hockey, give up for variety of reasons such as academic load, inability to take physical load the game demands, casualness, failure to make it to School or combined team with resultant frustration etc. This is a big number, and need to be tackled in order to get maximum efficiency of the OTHL project.
After completing five successful years, Delhi OTHL plunged into the process of weighing the pros and cons of its program. So that lessons learnt could be used for future policy decisions and the grey areas can be identified and rectified.
One of the points that emerged out of the introspection and analysis is that substantial chunk of boys drop out of hockey as they no longer find it entertaining and recreative.
Talented boys improve their games getting the exposure the OTHL provides, leaving behind many of his school-hockey mates behind.
They don’t get to represent school team or combined team, but are interested to continue hockey.
Therefore, OTHL thought of meeting their minimum need and tried to sort out the issue.
Based on past performance, physical fitness, commitment, about one hundred boys have been elevated to Elite List. They will be groomed for major competitions like Nehru Cup, Nationals, State Championships etc.
Many others will be vying to move to this group as they age and mature.
About 60% will be representing their School team in the friendlies, Education Deptt’s Zone and Inter-Zone competitions.
Those who put in couple of years but not making much progress were given an avenue: Sunday League.
The Sunday League concept allows all the drop out and non-serious players to play a game each on 17 consecutive Sundays against similarly placed teams. Thus, 12 schools have been selected to play the Sunday League. They need to play at least 11 matches in 17 Sundays.
This opportunity received good response. The boys in each school, who are in the trials and in the combined teams are not allowed to play the Sunday League.
This has given the average boys a chance to play, score, enjoy moments.
OTHL observed many boys who have left hockey come back and relish the Sunday mela.
About 40 matches in the first Phase is over, and efforts are being made to bring almost all the drop outs and weak students back into playing mode.
This will help many to stay conneted with their school team and OTHL activities.
The final word on the issue will be heard once the League is over.
Developing sustained passion for Hockey by introduction of Hockey to pre and early teenaged children and simultaneously promoting playing sport as a culture and tradition, thereby contributing to develop a sports loving society.