For Roelant Oltmans, discipline comes on top of his priority. The head coach of India men’s hockey team has made no bones about his displeasure with the team earning unnecessary cards on field and committing fouls, but what is less known is his insistence on ensuring the players maintain discipline off the field as well.
One of the ways in which the Dutchman enforces compliance is levying fines on the players. Sources revealed that any player who is late by 1-5 minutes for any gathering is fined Rs 500, while a further delay is punishable by Rs 1000.
“It could be anything – team meetings, get-togethers, official functions, video sessions or even the team dinner. Anyone who is late is fined, no excuses. It works for the other members of the staff as well,” a team insider told HT.
He, however, claimed that it is a necessary but unique method to ensure discipline in the team. “It is not a punishment but a way of making everyone realise that discipline and punctuality are very important. The amount that is collected is kept aside and then used to order snacks and drinks for everyone,” he added.
While the rule is not enforced too strictly with the junior side – because there are hardly any repeat offenders and the occasional delays are largely inadvertent – it is a strict policy for the seniors. Striker SK Uthappa reportedly is the most fined player – team mates vouch for his laziness – while former captain Sardar Singh has been fined Rs 1000 twice.
“Every player has been fined at least once. By laziness and otherwise, everyone ends up being late some time or the other. But so far we have not had a chance to fine Oltmans himself, he is always on time!” said a junior team member.
“In fact, such action of Roelant is appreciated by everyone as it also helps keep team united and players in entertaining mode too,” a player said. “This is one of the reasons behind the success of both senior and junior teams of India.”