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Video. Vyacheslav Fetisov: “We started playing ice hockey in felt boots”

9 April 2014 | Interview

Vyacheslav Fetisov on the Gazprom Neft Cup

I believe that that the more chances our boys have to compete, the faster they will get drawn into the process and develop a taste for competition — it is very important to get children involved in the process, to help them train better and in a better environment. That is the philosophy of children’s hockey in general. We know that Gazprom companies can organise competitions to the highest standards, and I am very positive about everything that is being done in this area.

Vyacheslav Fetisov about children’s sports schools

The most important component in any system is the foundations. We have fallen behind in training methods. Everything we had that was good has been imitated in western countries and they have used their experience to make it even better, so it’s really important now for us to start catching up in terms of training. I know for a fact: the West has gone a long way ahead. And I say again — the children’s coach is all important for success in sports.

Vyacheslav Fetisov on children’s coaches

Sometimes an enthusiastic coach is enough to get a school started, if he or she is someone who has the energy to inspire children, parents and the local administration. We live in a huge country, and the potential for developing ice-hockey exists in plenty of regions, so there are lots of opportunities for sports schools to spring up on the initiative of trainers.

Vyacheslav Fetisov about his childhood

Of course, we didn’t have opportunities like this when I was a child. We started skating on double-bladed skates fastened onto felt boots. We didn’t have proper sticks, not to mention everything else. In the Soviet Union you couldn’t buy sports gear in a shop, it was only provided in sports schools and the problem was getting into a sports school. Of course, ice hockey is what I loved to do as a child. I am grateful to my father for putting me, aged four, on those double-bladed skates. I have great childhood memories. I can say too that the international experience I had at a young age (15 years) is what made me think about what I wanted to be. And that is when I decided that I wanted to be a hockey player, to play for the national team, to become an Olympic champion. And I realized that to do that I had to train hard, listen to the coach, and learn how to defend my positions in hockey. Also I had to learn to subordinate my ambitions to the common cause. And all of these things came together somehow: there was the system, there was education, there was my family who gave me support when I needed it, and there was my desire to grow and be the best. That is what you need to be successful — not just in ice-hockey, but in anything.