Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Feb. 15, 2016 — Horst Wein, 1941-2016

Horst Wein is a name many of you might not know, but you might certainly recognize his imprint.

See that fourth star above the logo of Germany’s logo on their men’s soccer shirts? The gold scudetto on FC Barcelona’s jersey? Or the record of the Spanish men’s national team, which won three consecutive major titles between 2008 and 2012? Or the 2004 Olympic gold and the 2006 FIH Champions’ Trophy German women’s field hockey team?

All of that, and more, was as a result of Horst Wein’s scientific approach to the game of field hockey, which was expanded and reapplied to many athletic pursuits over the years.

Wein died yesterday, and what he has given to athletic team sports, in terms of both theory and practice over the years, is immeasurable. As a coach, he brought Spain to the EuroHockey championship in 1974, then he was given the task of coaching an European all-star team against the best of Asia the next year.

Wein has spent decades as a consultant, a coach, an author, and a presenter at national events, including some in the United States. He has also worked extensively with German and Spanish athletics federations over the years.

The first FIH Master Coach, Wein brought into the game the concept of “game intelligence,” which encourages small-games practices rather than repetitive drills in order to allow players to think their way around problems.

In his words,

To get more intelligent players on the pitch in the future, coaches need to stimulate more and instruct less.

This space published this Wein-penned article 15 years ago as to how small games can benefit youths in terms of their game development as adults.

These concepts have been applied to many other sports, including rugby, and even basketball. And they’ve worked. Spain has won the last two silver medals in Olympic men’s basketball — both times scoring 100 points against the American professionals in the title match.

Wein, to my mind, should be remembered as being on the level of people like Bill Walsh and John Wooden when it comes to how to break down a sport and coach up its participants to be the best they can be. He was one of a kind.


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