Lack of fitness, poor mental strength and psychological factors are the main areas of concern for the Indian women's hockey team, a crucial report has said. And, these were the reasons that led to India's poor performance in the recently held inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in China.
The team finished last among four teams in the fray. Team manager, Ramesh Kollappa, in his report has said that, a numbers of times, the girls were “finding it hard to fall back during counterattacks and then immediately advance”.
Kollappa has mentioned that the girls also lacked mental and psychological toughness, because of which they lost the bronze-medal match to Japan.
“We were leading by two goals and the focus should have been on holding on to the lead, but two players — skipper Saba Anjum and Deepika Thakur — were green-carded, which reduced the team to 10 members twice for two minutes each, and eventually the bronze slipped out of our hands.
“They should know how to react at the particular moment and what happened was due to lack of mental toughness and failure in the psychological department,” said Kollappa.
The manager has suggested that the women's camp should be held alongside the men's camp, “or, else, the services of foreign fitness expert, John David, should be extended to the women's team.”
Agreeing with the report, chief national coach, CR Kumar, said, “We are facing a problem. Whenever the girls are not in the national camp, they don't give much importance to fitness. But, from this camp onwards, we have a fulltime trainer -- KC Devaiah. We have conducted fitness tests twice in the span of two weeks and we see a quantum improvement. By December, we will match the top teams in the world.”
Sources say the women's team also gets step-motherly treatment when it comes to support staff and other scientific backup, readily available to the men's team.
Kumar has requested Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India to provide a 'heart rate monitoring system' and 'coaching software' to the team. But till now nothing has materialised. “I have also requested HI to hold open trials for the above-21 girls, so that we can have a bigger talent pool for the senior team. It will also keep the seniors on their toes,” said the chief coach.