We need weight classes in hockey

Discussion in 'India' started by don, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    At first glance you may think that the idea of weight classes in a team sport is ridiculous, but hear me out.

    We have weight classes in individual sports like Judo or Wrestling so that in a contest of two individuals, skill more than physical strength plays the most important part. It is considered blatantly unfair to expect a lower weight class athlete to compete against a higher weight class athlete.

    In team sports there are no weight restrictions. This is on the assumption that the weights average out for the team and no decisive advantage is held by any team on the basis of weight. This is true in many cases, especially for teams from the same country or the same continent.

    But people in Asia are significantly smaller and weigh less than Europeans. Asian hockey team weigh at least 10-15 Kg less on average than Europeans. This weight advantage is decisive. In junior level tournaments where the wight difference is not so great, Asian teams do well but at senior level they are physically dominated to such an extent that nothing else matters, no ball skills, no positional awareness nothing.

    Of course some people would suggest that Asian players should bulk up, should put on weight but that would not be natural, it would not be healthy and defeat the very purpose of sports.

    I am surprised no lawyer has raised this aspect of team sports at the regulatory level . If it is not right for individual sports why is it all right for team sports. Have one less than 70 Kg level, another above 70 kg level and you will give Asian teams a fighting chance in this sport.

    There is tremendous interest for hockey in Asia, but this interest is dying out slowly with each successive defeat. Give Asian hockey a chance, give it a level playing field.
     
  2. RushMan

    RushMan FHF All Time Great

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    Does that mean we should handicap the faster players so everyone runs at the same speed ?

    Good idea Don, but I dont think you will get much support. The differences in speed, strength, skills is the attractive thing about hockey.
     
  3. NicfromSweden

    NicfromSweden FHF All Time Great
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    I think you will notice that most of the top players are not extremely tall or heavy if we had to field a team according to weight we wouldn't even have a nationalteam because it would be impossible. In hockey your brain is more important than your bodyweight after all we are not a contact sport.
     
  4. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    Why does woman’s hockey exist?

    Surely we could ask all adults to play together, no separation of the sexes. If the women wanted to compete competitively with men they could be asked to bulk up and gain weight, so that they would not be at a physical disadvantage.

    So, why does that not happen?

    Because it would not be fair. Women are smaller and weigh less than men, their body structure and height would not allow them to weigh as much as men, it is not that that they are inferior in any way, they are just different and are as talented as men as players like Luciana Aymar will show.

    The main problem is the assumption that all human beings are alike. Just as women are different from men, all men are not alike. Men from South and South East Asian region which comprises 25% of the world population are thin, wiry and short as compared to Europeans. People from Norway for example are significantly taller and weigh more than people in the Philippines. Does that mean we should tell the people from the Philippines to forget about competing in physical contact sports because they were born that way?

    This wrong has existed for a long time, it’s time some sports organization had the nerve to correct it.
     
  5. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    You must be joking when you say that hockey is not a contact sport. What about tackling, what about running shoulder to shoulder. Any sport in which the contestants come in physical contact is a contact sport. So, cricket where the contestants never touch each other is not a contact sport, but hockey definitely is. Size and weight in hockey play an absolutely critical part in the game.
     
  6. NicfromSweden

    NicfromSweden FHF All Time Great
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    So should I demand my own short peoples basketball or my slow peoples 100m sprint? or why not ugly peoples modelling?

    Sport is about having fun in the lower levels and in the higher levels it is about having fun and being the best in the world top athletes are freaks of nature and sure it might not be fair that everyone can not reach the speed of bolt but that is the way it is.
     
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  7. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    Weight is used in individual sports.Average weight of the Indian or Pakistan team is about 68 Kg, the average weight of the German team is 82 Kg.

    A difference of 15 KG in weight is nearly two weight classes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. George St Pierre is the UFC welterweight champion but if he steps in the same cage as the light heavy weight champion Jon Jones he could get killed. So it is in never allowed.

    Weight classes have been used in individual contact sports for more than a century, no other criterion is used just weight. And it has been successful in giving the lighter weight guys an even playing field to showcase their skills.
     
  8. Kilmory

    Kilmory Administrator
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    I must admit, I just don't get it either.

    I'm a chunky bloke so according to your theory I should be amazing, but trust me, I'm not.

    Team sports like hockey are graded on skill level. The better you are, the better team you play for and the better opposition you face. If you are saying the Asian teams are not up to the standard to face world class opposition then they should not be there. I would certainly not agree and would suggest they have the skill, but have to play their own game.

    At my level you get old slow gits like me with a good hockey brain and years of experience facing young racing snakes learning their trade. At team talks we tell our youngsters not to get in contact with the older players as they will beat you with experience and weight, make sure you play around them. At a much higher level surely the same advice applies?

    Fittness and skill should always win out in hockey.
     
  9. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    I am saying that the weight disparity between the Asian teams and the Europeans teams is huge( about 15Kg) that no skill, no ball control nothing will matter. In today's hockey there is so much jostling, pushing, shoving, off the ball running, shoulder to shoulder running that a lighter weight team stands no chance against a heavier team if the weight difference is substantial.

    Talking about talent, India and Pakistan have won 11 gold medals between them. So obviously it is not a question of skill level. In the past rules were such that the pace of the game was much slower, this protected the Asians even though they had a disadvantage in weight.

    Now many rules have been changed to make the game faster, like tackling from any side, or more leniency of pushing, shoving and rougher play. This makes it much hard for the Asians to overcome their physical disadvantages with just good stickwork.
     
  10. NicfromSweden

    NicfromSweden FHF All Time Great
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    I do not agree with you at all but you have the right to your own opinion

    In other proper contact sports like rugby, american football etc it is more important to be big but in hockey it isn't my friend who was built like a bodybuilder even ripped down 10kg to make his body better for hockey another friend who play icehockey as well think he got to much muscles to play fieldhockey.

    Skill and speed is much more important than weight in hockey
     
  11. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    If skill and speed were that important in modern hockey, India and Pakistan would be champions. They won 11 gold medals in Olympics in a row, that should indicate something.
     
  12. Ridge

    Ridge FHF Star Player

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    It indicates that they have stayed the same while the rest of the world has changed. Hockey has evolved and everyone needs to keep up with it. Excuses will get these countries nowhere.
     
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  13. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    Just to give an idea of the odds the Indian hockey lovers face in hoping for a revival of hockey please view the following articles-
    1st Article-
    Indian hockey players underweight, says physio David John
    TNN Oct 11, 2011, 02.16AM IST

    BANGALORE: Indians are underweight and will take a while before they add muscle and a few kilos to their slender selves, says exercise physiologist David John.

    The Australian, who has been with the Indian hockey team for three months now, said the average weight of the Indian hockey team was 63 kg an wanted the players to add bulk as it would help in improving their fitness.[​IMG]

    "The fitness levels are significantly better than when we went to China. It has been two hard weeks of preparation here. But the players are still underweight," John said.

    "Food was a problem in China and many of them ate very little. To make things worse we had limited food supplements and as a result they lost weight. That was quite risky as players like Gurvinder Chandy and Yuvraj Walmiki couldn't afford to lose more. But the players managed to regain what they lost in the past two weeks. In Australia, the players will use protein supplements three times a day to increase their weight."
    John said he had no previous knowledge of the problem but realized he had his task cut out.

    "Cricketers at MRF, where I have worked, were made to do weight training from a relatively younger age than the hockey players. Obviously, they have more muscle and weight than hockey players. Also, we have seven vegetarians in the team, including Sardar, Sarvanjit, Rajpal, Ravipal, Manpreet and Chandy. It is difficult for them to gain weight with the amount of physical exertion they go through," he said.
    These players had iron infusions on Saturday to battle low levels of the mineral and to increase their endurance fitness. They have also been prescribed protein supplements (soya beans and whey) much more than the non-vegetarian teammates.

    John admitted he couldn't do much to help the vegetarians at the camp. "We can only rely on the supplements. Even for the non-vegetarians, I advocate menu changes during tournaments. Players are put on specific diet 24 hours before each game as we did in China. Coffee is another way as caffeine increases mobilization of fat which is your best fuel. It helps in playing longer and harder without fatigue. Most professional teams in Australia use some form of caffeine."


    2nd Article-
    Weight, and watch!
    Indian hockey team losing kilos, building muscle mass. It’s to improve their fitness, says physio
    Avinash Rajput

    Posted On Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 02:50:42 AM

    The Indian hockey team is losing it. In fact, in the last three months, they have lost it big. No. It’s not the matches or even their mind. Thanks to Australian exercise physiologist David John, the team has lost substantial amount of body weight.

    Interestingly, it was David who had earlier stated that Indians were underweight and that it will take a while before they add muscle and a few kilos of muscle mass. “When I said our players were underweight I meant in terms of muscle mass. The average weight of the Australian team is 85kgs, while the New Zealand team is 90 as compared to India’s 67kgs. We have a lot to catch up, but for now what I can do is make them fit just in terms of hockey,” the physio disclosed.

    It started when David’s calorie meter showed 160 percent carbohydrate in skipper Bharat Chettri’s body. “The carb level was high in all the players and that set off the fitness alarm. I planned a diet for every player depending on their body type and increased their protein intake reducing the carbs to a minimum.

    Chettri lost three kgs in a month and now he is more active and focused. Raghunath was a little overweight but he lost 6kgs in three weeks and now shows better reflexes and has become quicker than before,” David said.

    The Australian has been examining every player’s muscle mass after making major changes in their diet. Some blame it on the Chinese food when the team visited China for the Asian Champions Trophy (August 26- September 14) while others believe it was because of the diet change that David introduced.

    Indian hockey team has more than seven players who are pure vegetarians and the diet affects their performance. “I have recommended proteins to all the players, especially the vegetarians. The team also has coffee which provides caffeine that boosts energy level. It will take a lot of time to match the European body type. For now we will focus on the Olympic qualifiers and then we will have some more time to prepare if the team qualifies,” he added.
     
  14. jaduong

    jaduong FHF Legend

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    they just have terrible nutrition and physical conditioning, relatively speaking of course. no ones fault but their own.
     
  15. don

    don FHF Newbie

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    Terrible nutrition it may but look at the difference in weights, that cannot be explained just by bad nutrition, it tells you about body type.
     
  16. jaduong

    jaduong FHF Legend

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    the differences, over time, will decrease. the weight and size will have a certain disparity over time, but the factors you are highlighting are of LESS importance than basic things, like making sure players are eating and training right to maximize whatever potential they have. playing at 80% when you are already struggling to match your opponents will be of greater disadvantage than being a couple of inches shorter and a few kilos lighter. trust me.
     
  17. NicfromSweden

    NicfromSweden FHF All Time Great
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    So the problem is that the Indian players don't eat well and is more about muscle mass than anything else and that there is something they can do about it.

    If your idea would go through we would have to see 4-6 olympic tournaments, 4-6 world cups etc (I counted 2-3 weightclasses for both men and women) and try to play that many tournaments in a limited amount of time and don't forget the money needed to sponsor these teams and tournaments which is a big problem even today. I don't think there is enough skill to field 3 good sides per nation and as a result we would see less skillfull sides since the best players are split up in different teams.

    In this case maybe the over 80kg group will be the best according to your way of seeing it which forces some players to gain weight to play for the best team in the best league anyway.

    Weightgroups works when it is man against not when it is team vs team
     
  18. freebird

    freebird FHF All Time Great

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    What a load of rubbish
     
  19. roughie

    roughie FHF Newbie

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    Interesting thought. But flawed in many ways.
    Jamie Dwyer says hello.
     
  20. ^Muppet^

    ^Muppet^ FHF Regular Player

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    They don't have weight grades for international sports like rugby, ice hockey and american football and there are people of all sizes and weights playing those. Even basketball and volleyball have players well under 182cm/6 foot and they compete perfectly well with the big boys. If Japan and Argentina (both nations known for their small physique) can compete playing rugby against much larger players in nations like New Zealand and South Africa then surely hockey shouldn't be an issue. We (NZ) get beaten in hockey by Malaysia, Korea and China all the time yet we have the larger sized players. Size might be part of it but skill and intelligence in the game would surely out weigh it (pun intended).
     

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