CHENNAI: Keeping athletes engaged during a lockdown isn’t an easy feat. Lack of activities, change of routine and finding new ways to stay occupied at home can be difficult to keep the mind focussed. Addressing these challenges faced by the state hockey players, the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu took the digital route to conduct various training sessions that can ensure their mental, physical and emotional fitness.
“These are challenging times for any athlete. They have never seen such a scenario where they have to stay indoors for such a long time. The Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu has been in touch with its fraternity to help them overcome the challenges during COVID-19. We have been in touch with the players, coaches and technical officials virtually. Prominent guest speakers have given lectures on hockey rules, fitness, motivation techniques, the art of goalkeeping and technical sessions on umpiring to keep all of them engaged,’’ said M Renuka Lakshmi, general secretary of Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu.
With relaxations being introduced every week, the association is waiting for the state government to relax the rules for training and start sports activities. “The 11th Hockey India nationals that have been postponed indefinitely may resume in September. The All India MCC-Murugappa tournament in Chennai is also tentatively scheduled for the same month. So we need to start activities once the restrictions are relaxed,’’ said Renuka.
They also have ambitious plans for their teams once the training begins for the upcoming season. “We are keen on conducting the state championship (inter-district) where players will be selected from the 32 districts to represent the Tamil Nadu state team. We will pick the final team after the players undergo a 30 to 40 days residential camp. If it is not possible to have a tournament, we will select the players through open trials,’’ she added.
The Hockey Unit also has a contingency plan for the benefit of the players. “If we are not able to have a camp or trials, at the moment, we have a database of our players with records of their past performance. We will call prominent senior and junior players who have represented the state and try to have a camp based on the data when things get normal after lockdown. These players, both men and women, will be contacted virtually and online sessions will be held for them from the end of June. The final team will be picked once the tournament dates are announced,’’ said Renuka, adding that the players will be asked to focus on endurance and strength training to perform better at the national level.