Have to push every second during Junior World Cup: Janneke Schopman

Janneke Schopman believes the juniors have gained from their experience of playing practice matches against the seniors in Bengaluru.

Janneke Schopman

FILE PHOTO: Janneke Schopman during a training session at SAI Bengaluru in 2020.   -  The Hindu

Indian women's hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman, who is doubling up as the coach of the under-21 side for the upcoming women's Junior World Cup (JWC) in Potchefstroom, South Africa, feels the youngsters are well prepared despite the odds.

Janneke -- who has been inculcating the same principles in both senior and junior players and is looking forward to scout young players for the 2024 Olympics -- said even without overseas tournaments (due to COVID-19), the juniors gained from their experience of playing practice matches against the seniors in Bengaluru.

"It definitely showed where the juniors are... We were able to play a team that is potentially better than any team playing in the JWC," said Janneke during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

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"In terms of energy, we were in a good place. It will be a mind game (in the JWC), where we have to push ourselves in every second of every match. We have good speed and we should use it to chase other teams and make them tired so that they start making mistakes."

Janneke expressed confidence over the team's penalty corner attack and defence, where the senior players were helping out the youngsters. "We are trying to get the knowledge down to the junior team. We have to make sure everything is super clear."

The Dutchwoman acknowledged that except defending champion Argentina, against which the senior team played a few matches in recent times, there was little knowledge about Russia and Japan, the other two sides clubbed with India in Pool C.

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Captain Lalremsiami, who was part of the Indian team that finished fourth in the Olympics, said, "We want to share our experience in the Olympics with the junior team. Our junior team is good and there are some skillful players."

Vice-captain Ishika Chaudhary said the senior players have been helpful. "The senior team is communicating really well (about) what they have learnt through their journey, how to adapt to pressure of the tournament, perform and deal with everything on and off the field," she said.

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