Focus is to make sure hockey team arrives in Tokyo in peak condition, says assistant coach

Former Indian men’s team center-forward Shivendra Singh has been relishing his role as the assistant coach of the hockey side. Shivendra spoke at length about his coaching experiences in a conversation on Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series initiated by Hockey India ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“I felt awkward initially as a coach as I had been a player in the team for so long, but it only took me a week to settle into my new role,” said Shivendra. “The rest of the coaching staff and players made me feel welcome. I enjoy my work so much now that I feel like spending most of my time on the training ground itself,” he added.

Shivendra elaborated that his responsibilities have grown since his initial days as a coach. He is now more involved in analysing and assessing the team’s data from training and matches. The former player credited the role of chief coach Graham Reid in his personal development as a coach. “Graham has a very calm personality and he always adopts a team-first approach in his coaching. He involves the whole coaching staff and has the quality of maintaining togetherness in the group,” said the former India player.

“He makes sure no member feels left out as he never hesitates to ask his staff for inputs that will help the team get better,” he added. Shivendra spoke about the Olympic-bound team’s detailed preparation in the final stages ahead of the Summer Games in Tokyo later this month. He is confident that the team has the quality to win an Olympic medal this time around.

“Our focus is on the overall speed, sharpness, skill and agility of the team to ensure that they arrive in peak conditioning in Tokyo. We are working on focussed training drills for the players depending on the positions they play. The strikers are working exclusively on what they have to do inside the ‘D’.” “I believe in the abilities of these players and I am confident that they are one of the fittest teams in the world; if not the fittest. We are one of the contenders for an Olympic medal for sure,” he signed off.

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