Despite not being able to train normally for two months, India hockey star SV Sunil has stated they were ‘fortunate’ to be stuck at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru. The lockdown measures put forward in the wake of coronavirus pandemic meant players couldn’t have gone ahead with their normal training sessions, however, Sunil gave an insight into how they took up special methods to keep themselves engaged.
“Being physically fit really helps anybody to stay mentally fit. It was the entire team’s goal to maintain our fitness and do whatever we can during these unprecedented times,” Sunil told IANS.
“Our Scientific Advisor Robin Arkell has devised some excellent training schedules over the last few months, which we have been able to carry out in our rooms along with following the social distancing guidelines.
“The fitness drills played a huge role in helping me cope with the lockdown,” he added.
Keeping themselves fit wasn’t the only aspect players focused upon as according to Sunil, they engaged in various other activities as well at trhe SAI facility.
“We have been very fortunate to be staying at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru. We have been able to use all the facilities and also go for individual runs around the campus,” he said.
“Apart from focussing on our fitness, we are doing many other activities as well. Our team’s Analytical Coach Chris Ciriello’s wife has taken English classes over video conference for us and she suggested a few books for us to read which kept us busy during the lockdown.
“The Hockey India Level ‘Basic’ Coaching Course online was amazing as well. Knowing about the history and the rules of hockey thoroughly will help us add context to our game on the pitch.”
Now the long road towards full fitness has begun but Sunil feels it’s tough to say currently when players can return to their optimum levels despite resumption of normal training earlier this month.
“It’s difficult to predict at the moment. Our coaches have a definite plan and they will train us accordingly,” Sunil said.
“We are fortunate that we were able to carry out exercises during the lockdown, that will definitely help us to attain peak form quickly,” he added.
Sunil also agreed with coach Graham Reid’s words, who had earlier told IANS that they have pushed the reset button as far as Olympics is concerned. Tokyo 2020 was postponed to 2021 in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and Sunil stated that he knows the areas which needs improvement and he now has enough time to work upon those things.
“We will definitely need to start from scratch as far as preparation is concerned. Our Chief Coach Graham Reid has told us that we have to push the reset button” Sunil said.
“However, we have watched a lot of footage of our previous matches during the lockdown. I have noted down some key aspects that I need to work on. Hopefully, we will have a lot of match practice before the Olympics.
“I think we can practice as much as we want, but performing well in match situations will boost our confidence tremendously. Therefore, matches against top teams will be a key factor in our preparations.”