Eves working on mental strength

Hockey Olympic Qualifiers

Besides sweating out for the ensuing Olympic qualifiers, the Indian women’s team is also working on their mental aspect to meet the demands of international hockey.

The team, when in the capital, gets the services of the SAI-appointed psychologist who helps the team to tune up its mental frame.

One of India’s most experienced player, Subhadra Pradhan, feels such sessions have helped the team which used to get affected by a bad start.

“We tend to panic in the initial stages and the first ten minutes of a game become very crucial for us. The team's morale goes down if we concede early goals or if the opponents play an attacking game and  breach our defence. We needed to be mentally strong to take the pressure and I feel it has helped working with the psychologist,” she said.

The experienced defender was aware of her responsibility and cheerfully brushed aside the talk of pressure on her. “There will be a lot of responsibility on me in the defence. The other girls are not so experienced and I will be guiding them,” she said.
“I have put in some years in international hockey and I don’t think there will be any pressure.”

South Africa is the top ranked team in the qualifier at 12th followed by India at 11th place. Canada, Italy Poland and Ukraine are the other  teams.

Pradhan, 25, said the team often gets influenced by its opponent’s game and needed to be consistent.

“We play good hockey against stronger teams, but against weaker opponents we do not play that well. We need to  maintain the same level in every match.”

‘Good drag-flickers’

The team is also working on penalty corner conversions and Pradhan promised an improved show in the qualifiers.

“We have good drag-flickers in Jaspreet Kaur and Joydeep Kaur. The reason we missed out on penalty corners during the warm-up series against Azerbaijan was because we were working on variations for the qualifier. The forward line needs to make the most of the scoring opportunities that comes our way.”

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