Only a few numbers clearly document how Czech hockey, not only in the NHL, clears positions and no longer educates different players who are in demand in advanced competitions. “The Czechia would need those players to be exceptional in the junior categories. It will work here and there, but it is not a systemic education, “player agent Robert Spálenka from the Sport Invest agency, which represents, for example, the attackers Hertl and Palát or the goalkeeper Rittich and Mrázek, told Sport.cz two years ago.
Personalities do not raise
Spálenka himself knows well what he is talking about. Whereas in the past the top teams from the most prestigious hockey countries fought for Czech players, now it is different. On the contrary, the agents themselves have to call the clubs and try to push their players. “We do not educate individuals, but the same types of players. All you have to do is go and see the sharpening in America and the Czech Republic. With us, you will immediately know who the defender is and who the attacker is based on skating. You don’t know anything about Americans – everyone is at the same – and very high – level in skating and individual skills, “he sets a relentless mirror for Czech hockey.
|Quo vadis, Czech hockey?|
|In a four-part series, the Sport.cz editorial staff brings a detailed analysis of negative phenomena in domestic ice hockey, which, thanks to legends such as Vladimír Zábrodský, the Holíková brothers, Robert Reichel, Dominik Hašek and Jaromír Jágr, used to be a showcase of Czech sport for decades.|
|The fourth part, which we will bring early next week, will focus on protectionism in Czech hockey, where the hockey pedigree plays a big role in composing youth national teams and elements of clientelism and various spheres of influence and personal interests are clearly applied.|
However, there are those who do not agree with similar views. They argue with David Pastrňák, who became the best scorer in the NHL, Jakub Vrána, Pavel Zacha and Martin Nečas, who are also among the support of their teams in the overseas league.
But B. should be added to this. In all these cases, they are such talented and purposeful players that the merits cannot be attributed to systemic education. Moreover, the question is whether Pastrňák and Vrána would dominate if they did not decide to flee from the Czech Republic at the age of 15 to develop their hockey skills to Sweden.
How would Zach have been if his father hadn’t kicked him since he was a child in the spirit of Kameveda and a little despite the system. Finally, even Nečas, with special care from his father, is not a product of the education of young Czech hockey players.
A series about the state of Czech hockey
Part 2: Whoever you can, you better run out. They are no longer taking Czech hockey in the swamp seriously in the world
It is foolish to think that in Finland, Sweden, Russia or overseas, players practice other activities during training. Today, everyone already knows how to train in Frölund, in Kärpät Oulu, as in St. Petersburg. So why do Czechs lag behind when they do very similar, if not the same, exercises?
The difference in training intensity
The fundamental difference is in the intensity and execution of the training. While in developed hockey countries everything is practiced under pressure and at great speed so that players are prepared for stressful situations in matches, which then can not surprise them, in the Czech Republic it is the opposite.
“When a player comes from the Czech environment abroad and then expresses mockingly, how little training is done in our country, then it throws dirt on itself. No one forbids anyone to train extra, “wonders the union’s head coach and national team coach Filip Pešán.
He is only partially right. The environment also shapes the player. And when the local youth competitions are absolutely uncompetitive, many above-average domestic hockey players subconsciously subside over time. They know that less than a hundred percent performance will be enough for them, and in the Czech Republic they will still be slapped on the back and gates for the stars …
“Here they are used to coming to training, practicing, doing ordinary things. But they don’t see the competition at all. They get to know it for the first time overseas. And no one matches them there. You just play badly, so you go to the farm, “says former hockey player Milan Antoš, now the coach of the Slavia youth and a glossator for Sport.cz.
Young players do not recognize the pressure
“When the boys from the home clubs are used to being pampered and praised for practically anything until the national team, it must be a terrible shock for them to come to Canada and find that they are average,” Spálenka adds. A recent example is the experience of a 20-year-old. Four years ago, he jumped into the extra league in Vítkovice jersey as a promising junior, and as soon as he succumbed to the lure from overseas, the first shock came, he didn’t shine as brightly as at home. is trying to restart in Kladno’s jersey, but the sticker of a possible differential player is long gone.
With its senseless breadth of youth competitions, Czech hockey will allow virtually anyone who learns to skate and keep hockey, so it is not realistic for players from a certain age of fourteen or fifteen to come under pressure when a competitive environment is lacking.
“Winnings by a high difference in the student leagues do not give anything to the winners or losers. When I play tennis with someone who can’t switch the net, I don’t move anywhere. But everyone who goes around the winter plays hockey here, so why would they wear it, “says youth coach Tomáš Malant, who calls for the introduction of club ratings, which, according to him, would mean allowing free movement of players. nor does Swedish law allow a child under the age of 17 to be the subject of a professional contract or financial transaction.
The competition settings are bad
It therefore requires respecting the principle of voluntariness that the player is not bound by anything until he is a teenager and can leave at any time. “Then it would be immediately seen who is doing the youth well and who is doing badly, so the revolutionary idea is misunderstood by many clubs. Unfortunately, our whole situation is set up in such a way that there is no competition or emotion built up in those boys who learn hockey, “says Malant.
Although the number of teams in individual youth competitions is about to be reduced, the funnel should be much larger. Currently, twenty teams play a junior extra league, and there are even thirty clubs, and there are no quality players in this category for even 14 teams, if we accept the growing outflow of boys at sixteen or seventeen abroad.
When players overseas or even in Sweden, Finland or Switzerland are exposed to direct competition, it is a devastating finding for them. “Suddenly, at home, they feel the unrecognized pressure of such power that they are often in a sack. “All their teammates have a sports talent there at such a level, and only those who will have the will, self-denial, resilience and will wear it will succeed,” admits Malant.
As early as September, Associate Professor Martin Musálek from the Scientific Section of the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at Charles University presented the catastrophic state of readiness, especially physical, of Czech youngsters at the Kabina hockey forum.
Czechs are brutally lagging behind the world
Representatives from sixteen to twenty in the summer underwent physical tests, the results of which were alarming! With a few exceptions, the Czechs are brutally lagging behind the world’s best. And the older they get (eighteen and especially twenty), the scissors open more and more and the differences are more abysmal. Whether it’s endurance or speed parameters.
For example, Wingate tests have revealed that, compared to the world, Czechs have barely an average anaerobic capacity, which shows the possibilities of maximum performance by athletes. About half of our players don’t even reach the average …
Very unpleasant finding, but another test showed even more trouble. This was a sprint on the ice at a distance of 30 meters. While the sixteen and seventeen still managed to keep up with the competition, the older categories were already lagging behind.
And really! The Czech representative of the eighteen lost 2.5 meters to the average Swede, Finn or Canadian at 30 meters (roughly half the length of the ice rink), the player of the twenties even lost an incredible eight meters!
“If the coach has to sew a strategy on the opponent in terms of skating speed, then I do not know if it is even possible to re-grind someone, when we have such a problem on one level,” says Musálek.
And what is perhaps even worse, other studies of his skill tests show that there are only minimal differences between selected players of Czech youth nationals and those who play only the highest junior or youth competition. Especially at twenty. Freely translated; the skills of junior representatives are not much bigger than ordinary league youth. We simply do not produce different players in the Czech Republic.
There is a lack of greater willingness to make money
However, it would be cheap to waste everything on bad training. Thanks to many of his internships in European clubs, the current Sparta coach Miloš Hořava also found that today’s Czech youth are comfortable and unwilling to work hard.
This is confirmed by Musálek’s pilot survey, in which fourteen-year-old and fifteen-year-old top hockey players of an unnamed club equipped with accelerometers, which allowed him to monitor how many hours a week players spend training in the club, physical education at school and other sports activities. “While in developed countries it was twenty hours a week, in our case it was a maximum of twelve hours,” the FTVS scientist found out.
“Young people are really comfortable. It is also caused by the social composition of the parents to whom the children were born in a democracy. They treat their offspring differently than our parents, who kicked us out in the winter. Today, parents are softer to their children, boys usually take their mothers to the winter because their men work. It’s one with the other. However, the current system is not well set up to educate players who want it at all costs, “says Antoš.
“In order for change with our youth hockey, there is a need for better education and conditions for coaches in the youth categories so that they want to do the job well and feed them. Because when a person is not well evaluated, he looks for a way elsewhere where it will be worth it, “adds Spálenka.
All this proves how domestic hockey fell asleep in working with young people. And unfortunately, there is no light at the end of the tunnel, which would give hope that something will change for the better in a few years.
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Different hockey players? We don’t know! About the catastrophic readiness of young people who also do not want to work – Sport.cz