Drag-flick isn’t the only way to take penalty corner, says Floris Jan Bovelander
Floris Jan Bovelander, who played in the 80s and 90s when the straight hit was quite prevalent, is surprised with the low conversion rate from penalty corners in modern day hockey.
Throughout their hour-long training session here on Monday afternoon, Spanish coach Frederic Soyez and his boys focused mainly on penalty shootouts. Some tried the drag-flick whereas others went for the old school straight shot.
It was a routine exercise, but considering that almost all the teams have struggled to convert penalty corners in the tournament, it assumed significance especially to the legendary penalty corner expert Floris Jan Bovelander.
Bovelander, who played in the 80s and 90s when the straight hit was quite prevalent, is surprised with the low conversion rate from penalty corners.
“I still believe the hit is useful in scoring goals from penalty corner. I don’t understand players’ inhibition in trying this,” the Dutchman, known for his thundering hits and nicknamed ‘Boem Boem Bovelander’, told Hindustan Times on Monday. “It just requires a slight change in angle. It would be good for the game as well as for the side too.”
Bovelander said that Hockey India League’s rule of awarding more points for a field goal makes the game attractive.
“I think this is good to keep hockey attractive and entertaining. It gives equal opportunity to all the teams and such a system is quite entertaining in the European League too. If you are two goals up you can easily give a penalty corner because it won’t be a big deal.”
Bovelander, who is on a mission to popularise hockey with his one-million hockey legs scheme, also accepted that concept of Hockey 5s is good for the game. “The thrills and speed is really good. If you have a shorter game with lesser number of players and smaller pitch, it is quite exciting.”
He, however, refused to accept the idea of mixed hockey. “The event is ok, bringing men and women together on a hockey field will be hard. We are not built the same way. I don’t think it is a fair idea in a physical sport.”
Bovelander, who has a World Cup and Olympic gold, besides 216 goals to his name, also feels that taking hockey back to grass surfaces wouldn’t help. “It is true that playing hockey now has become costly but most of the countries have artificial turfs. So, I don’t see any profit in taking back hockey to the grass.”