CHENNAI : It’s not only about the stick! Under Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne, the Indian women’s hockey team is learning taekwondo ahead of an event in Japan. They are doing this under certified coaches, with en eye on improving fitness.Marijne was impressed with this idea when he saw coaches in the Netherlands introduce judo to hockey players. But he thought it was dangerous for Indian girls and decided on taekwondo. Another objective of having this is to break the monotony of regular routines.
“If you train only as a hockey player, you are always making the same kind of movements,” Marijne explains. “It’s important for athletes to learn movements to control the body. Taekwondo helps with coordination and balance. The better they control the body, the better they could put pressure on the ball. They can make leaps to get the ball.”
At the national camp that started on July 15, the team has already had four 45-minute taekwondo sessions, under two coaches from the Bengaluru SAI centre. Marijne said there will be two more before the camp concludes on August 11 and they will do this once a week in future. “Taekwondo is a sport where you try to hit each other, but respect for the opponent is very high and also the values.”
Fitness has been central to Marijne’s scheme of things. The players are already on a diet devoid of sweets, oily and spicy food and low on carbohydrates. He is also planning to introduce shooting to improve concentration.