The educational mission of the Gazprom Neft Cup

29 April 2015, 10:40 (msc)

The theme of sport and hockey in the arts is both interesting and useful for educational purposes. That was the message of Yulia Rodygina, MD, Head of the Psychology Faculty, and Elena Utisheva, Doctor of Educational Science and Professor at the Faculty of Social and Humanitarian Sciences at the National State University of Physical Culture, Sport and Health. Both of them had been specially invited to Omsk on the occasion of the Gazprom Neft Cup.

“Using paintings to present a historical chronicle is a classic approach,” Elena Utisheva began. “It is a way of reconstructing events from documentary sources and it works very well.”

The theme quickly caught the interest of the boys from the Avangard Hockey Academy, which recently opened its doors at Tarko-Sale in Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area. They had no trouble identifying skates made from animal bone on reproductions of 17th century paintings, as well as early hockey sticks and the forebears of modern ice-hockey pucks. The names of famous Soviet and Russian hockey players Vladislav Tretyak, Valery Kharlamov and Alexander Ovechkin, came to them just as easily.

Nazar Valiyev and Gordei Pavlov, young hockey players from Tarko-Sale:

“We’ve learned where hockey came from. We really like the pictures of what the first skates looked like. It was interesting that hockey used to be played on frozen rivers and to see how a hockey player dressed 100 years ago. We also learnt about modern hockey, and we guessed the names of many players past and present straight off. We want to be brave and strong players — real professionals, like them. But that takes years of hard training — nose to the grindstone!”

“We have only given seminars like this a few times, there are always new materials, and we are interested in the opinions and reactions of any audience, even as young as 8–10 years-old,” said Professor Utisheva. “The boys did well, they are open, they answer any questions — I like that. It took a long time to prepare this lecture: we had to find the information at the Academy of Fine Arts, various collections, archives. Sport and hockey look very romantic in painting. People want to see romantic heroes — any healthy society has its idols and ideals. Soviet hockey gave people that. Russian sport has many fine examples, too. It is an important social mission.”

A seminar dealing with the psychology of young hockey players was designed for parents of not only the 10–11 year-olds taking part in the Gazprom Neft Cup: more than 70 parents of 6 to 12 year-old players attended. The audience first listened attentively to Dr Rodygina, and then a real dialogue began, since many of the parents were keen to know how they can raise a child to be not just an athlete, but also an individual with a strong personality.

“How to bring up a person with a versatile personality,” added Igor Chernykh, whose young son plays hockey. “It would be good to hold an event like this with coaches, because there are a lot of issues that concern them and us. This lecture made us realize that the coaches need to learn a lot, too. In general, that’s what Dr Rodygina was saying: she holds workshops for coaches on psychology and education at the St Petersburg Hockey Academy.”

The parents called for a programme at national level that would make child and youth teams use a psychologist. The emphasis was on communication between parents and coaches. Young hockey players often suffer due to misunderstandings between parents and coaches, and frequent moves from one club to another can be traumatic for young players.

“In cities, where there are a large number of clubs — St Petersburg and Moscow — young players often change clubs more than once. This happens when the parents think they know better than the coaches — they decide that their boy hasn’t been treated right at one club, that he fits in better somewhere else, they are always looking for something better,” Yulia Rodygina explained.

Dmitry Legchilin, father of a young hockey player:

“It is the first time we have been invited to take part in a seminar like this. I found it very interesting and useful. We could spend a few more hours talking about this. These ideas and methods have application in everyday life as well as in sport. We also talked about communication between parents and coaches. The point was made that such communication should be minimized. I fully agree with that. I liked the stuff about character formation of a future athlete — there was a lot about that in the lecture. Character doesn’t just depend on the coach, but also on the hockey player’s family. It’s not good to praise the child too much, and it’s not good to always patronize him and focus on small details. You should mix praise with a bit of criticism. The speaker recommended two criticisms after two compliments, and vice versa. I can speak for my son — his character changed when he started playing hockey. He became better organized.”

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