Harmanpreet Singh: FIH Pro League run a 'big morale boost' for India

The team will “go back to basics” when it assembles at the SAI, Bengaluru, for a four-week long national camp, says Harmanpreet.

India needs improvement in a few areas and that will be the focus on the national camp, says Harmanpreet Singh. - HOCKEY INDIA

The Indian men's team will “go back to basics” when it assembles at the SAI, Bengaluru, for a four-week long national camp, vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh has said.

India has so far enjoyed a buoyant run in the FIH Pro League. It won both its matches against the Netherlands, and lost one and won one against both Belgium and Australia.

Commenting on the areas to improve upon for his team, Harmanpreet said: “We have paid a price in these matches for slowing down or dropping the tempo in between quarters. This is an area of concern in the lead up to the Olympic Games. Also, coach believes we can do better in terms of circle penetration, tackling outside the circle and not conceding too many [penalty corners].”

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“A long camp will definitely help focus on these critical points.”

The results, nonetheless, were a “big morale boost” for the side, admitted Harmanpreet.

'Learning experience'

For the Indian women's team, the recent tour of New Zealand was a big learning curve in its preparations for the Olympics, felt vice-captain Savita. India registered two wins and two losses against host New Zealand, while it beat Great Britain 1-0 in its five-match tour.

India goalkeeper Savita: "We feel the Asian Champions Trophy will be a good yardstick to measure where we stand ahead of the Olympic Games." - HOCKEY INDIA

 

“We all have reminders set on our phones that show the countdown to our first match in Tokyo. As we are getting closer, there is a lot of excitement as well as anxiousness to tick off all the boxes to ensure we are best prepared, and our recent tour of New Zealand was quite a learning experience,” the goalkeeper said.

'Great sense of competition'

“While our ongoing camp has been about improving our fitness, speed, goal-shooting, tapping the ball and tackling, we have also tried to play with different combinations that are effective in the attacking midfield and forward-line. There is a great sense of competition within the team to prove ourselves and this is helping in building competitiveness and improving as a unit,” she said.

“Having Janneke Schopman as part of the support staff — she is the analytical coach — is also helping a lot because she brings different insights into our game and how we need to cope during tense matches. We feel the Asian Champions Trophy will be a good yardstick to measure where we stand ahead of the Olympic Games,” Savita concluded.

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