Men’s hockey: Ad for indoor hockey coaches raises plenty of issues

‘Voluntary’ status of the position will automatically rule out many top coaches

There is an interesting advertisement on Hockey Ireland's website for an indoor hockey coach for both the men's and women's national teams. It seems to be a positive thing that Hockey Ireland are finally taking the indoor game seriously. Or are they?

The task for the appointed coaches will be to take a team to the European Indoor Hockey Championships in 2020. Given how Three Rock Rovers have performed in Europe over the last few years that is a reasonable target.

However, what is outlined in the job spec is that the position is voluntary, which marks the indoor coach as less important appointment than the outdoor coach, who is in a paid position. That will automatically exclude many top coaches from applying and will ensure a local coach.

The job spec does not say whether the indoor players selected to play can come from the outdoor team or if they are a squad of specialist indoor international players culled from outside the group that goes to the World Cup in India next month and who after that will be preparing for the outdoor European Championships next summer.


It also does not specify whether Hockey Ireland are considering the idea of a closed or partially closed season to organise a focused Irish tournament whereby players will not be squeezing in sessions and matches between their outdoor and indoor club hockey and national commitments.

In essence, whichever Irish coach is chosen for the two jobs he or she does not know where they will get their players or what sort of preparation they can expect.

“The head coach is required to work closely with key performance staff and will be specifically responsible for a physiotherapist, an assistant coach and a team manager,” it says in the job spec. Is that normal?

Maybe. Just asking. But what would be helpful is a fully laid out explanation about what players are eligible and therefore what quality is available and how they can best prepare within the current system so that the totally amateur coach can do a totally professional job.

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times