India almost on par with the best in fitness, says scientific adviser Conway
A few years ago, the lack of fitness played a pivotal role in Indian hockey teams’ narrow defeats. But after Roelant Oltmans’ arrival, things started changing and the same was reflected in the Harendra Singh-coached India junior team’s performance.
BENGALURU : A few years ago, the lack of fitness played a pivotal role in Indian hockey teams’ narrow defeats. But after Roelant Oltmans’ arrival, things started changing and the same was reflected in the Harendra Singh-coached India junior team’s performance.
Hockey India roped in four sports scientists — Australia’s Scott Conway and Daniel Barry, South Africa’s Robin Anthony Webster Arkell and Wayne Patrick Lombard — two weeks ago. Conway will take charge of the senior men’s strength and conditioning and Arkell will work with the junior men. Lombard and Barry will oversee the senior and junior women respectively.
Conway, the newly appointed scientific adviser, will also oversee the injured players’ rehabilitation and analyse GPS data from training sessions. He believes the fitness regime is going well and the juniors at the camp are one of the elites in the department.
He considers Sumit, a member of the junior men’s team that won the World Cup, one of the fittest players. “In last week’s test results, some numbers were truly elite. Sumit, for example, is one of the fittest. We did a yo-yo test and he scored 22.3, which is truly elite. The players’ dedication in training and fitness is more than what I expected,” Conway said.
The Melbourne resident had previously worked with the Australian rowing team while at the Victoria Institute of Sport. He was also part of former India coach Terry Walsh’s staff in the Malaysia Hockey Confederation before taking up the India job.
Conway feels India is almost on par with South Korea in terms of fitness. “Sides like Korea are tough and physically fit but other Asian countries like China and Japan are probably a little bit behind. We don’t have that issue in India,” Conway said.
“We did some strengthening tests and back squat. Five-six guys scored 1.7 times their body weight. If any player is lifting about 1.4 or 1.5 times their body weight for a back squat, they’re already strong enough. But they’ve to maintain the scores and work continuously on speed and agility. There is always room for improvement,” he added.
Although Conway hasn’t introduced many changes in the players’ dietary plans thus far, he believes a few changes might be needed to freshen things up. He has advised the chef at Sports Authority of India, Bengaluru, to cook less oily and fatty dishes and change white rice to brown rice every alternate day.