CHENNAI: At a time when everything has come to standstill, the Indian women’s hockey team has been silently going about their business at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru. The lockdown left them stranded there after the national camp concluded on March 15. Having been there for almost 45 days now, the 33 players are making the most of the time.
Since bringing onboard a scientific advisor in Wayne Lombard in 2017, there certainly has been an upswing in the levels of fitness among women. This was evident in the past few years with the team churning out consistent performances with increased speed and agility. With the usual training getting disrupted due to the nationwide lockdown, the players are doing workouts individually, focussing on body-weight training and some light running.
They have been given a specific training chart by Lombard. Different targets are set and monitored by the South African and the players need to update their targets now and then. For instance, a player will have to do three sets of 100 squats each with stretch cord on one day. Subsequently, she needs to increase the count and update the chart.
“At the moment, the focus has been on improving our fitness levels individually,” said India’s defender Gurjit Kaur. “Everyone has been provided with the particular training schedule and we are following that. It’s important to take care of your body during these times.”
“We have been taken care of well. We are away from the family for some time now. But in a way, it’s good because we can work on our fitness with proper guidance. Consuming good food and taking care of our health is of an utmost priority now,” added the 24-year-old, who has been the team’s designated drag-flicker.
That apart, Rani Rampal & Co have also been given other homework during the camp. With the Olympics postponed and no international tournaments for three months, the team has time to study the strength and weakness of opponents. The players have been given tasks to analyse their opponents and make video presentations.
Head coach Sjoerd Marijne has individual video meetings with every player after their presentation. “We were in camp when we heard about the postponement. Now we will get time to prepare well.”