Mandeep Singh reveals how HIL helped him overcome English problem
New Delhi [India], Jan. 2 (ANI): Prolific Indian forward Mandeep Singh has revealed how playing in the Hockey India League (HIL) has helped him and his teammates in developing their language, which is crucial in communicating with umpires as well as foreign coaches.
For Mandeep, who hails from Mithapur in Jalandhar, playing in the HIL meant that he had to overcome his inhibitions of speaking in English.
"I remember my first HIL stint I had to share a room with foreign player Floris Evers from Netherlands. The fact that I could barely manage broken English made things difficult for us," Mandeep admits recalling an incident during the 2013 edition of League when he played for two-time Champions Ranchi franchise.
"Floris had asked me to set the alarm for 7.30 am as we were supposed to take the flight that morning from Lucknow to Ranchi for our next game. But obviously, I didn't understand and I thought he meant that he would set the alarm and wake me up. In this confusion, both of us slept through the morning while the entire team bus waited for us wondering why we hadn't come down from our room yet," Mandeep recalls candidly.
However, such instances are a thing of the past. With constant exposure of communicating with foreign players in the Coal India HIL, Mandeep says that he and most of his teammates from the junior squad are confident of speaking in English-be it with fans abroad, foreign coaches or umpires.
"This has helped us a lot because earlier, we couldn't communicate to the international umpires as to why we think it's a Penalty Corner and asking for a video referral. We had to rely on someone who knew English in the team or explain to our Captain. But regular meetings with foreign players during HIL have helped us improve our language. Initially, I could only follow the signals they (foreign players) would give while playing but from the second HIL onwards, things got better, thanks to the numerous team meetings we had where it was insisted that we expressed ourselves in English. This helped us get over our fears of speaking in a language that is uncommon in the region we come from," he added.
Such experiences from the Coal India HIL has not only brought about a feel-good factor among Indian and foreign players but it has also helped improve their communication with men's team chief coach Roelant Oltmans as they understand his commands better and faster.
"At the Junior World Cup matches, there were times when we were down by a goal or two at half-time. In those ten minutes of break Coach Oltmans would come up with a few different tactics that we had to implement in the second half. Of course, he would use the drawing board to explain too but if we had language issues, it would be hard to comprehend in such little time. But I think the past experiences at HIL where almost all of us have played helped," insists Mandeep, who will turn up for Delhi Waveriders this season.
He will be joined by junior team captain Harjeet Singh, Santa Singh and Parvinder Singh from the Junior World Cup winning squad.(ANI)