Bengaluru, July 5 (IANS) Former Indian men's hockey team forward and the current assistant coach, Shivendra Singh, said on Monday that the focus of the Olympics-bound squad during the national camp here has been on "speed, sharpness, skill and agility" to make an impact inside the 'D'.
Ever since the lockdown early last year, the men's team has been at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru, with chief coach Graham Reid preparing it for the Olympics.
"Our focus is on the overall speed, sharpness, skill and agility of the team to ensure that they arrive in peak conditioning in Tokyo. We are working on focused training drills for the players depending on the positions they play. The strikers are working exclusively on what they have to do inside the 'D'," said Shivendra, a centre-forward during his playing days.
"Graham has a very calm personality and he always adopts a team-first approach in his coaching. He involves the whole coaching staff and has the quality of maintaining togetherness in the group. He makes sure no member feels left out as he never hesitates to ask his staff for inputs that will help the team get better," said the 38-year-old former Indian forward.
Shivendra elaborated that his responsibilities have grown since his initial days as a coach and that he is now more involved in analysing and assessing the team's data from training and matches.
"I felt awkward initially as a coach as I had been a player in the team for so long, but it only took me a week to settle in to my new role. The rest of the coaching staff and players made me feel welcome. I enjoy my work so much now that I feel like spending most of my time on the training ground itself," he said.
Shivendra is confident that the team has the quality to win an Olympic medal this time around.
"I believe in the abilities of these players and I am confident that they are one of the fittest teams in the world; if not the fittest. We are one of the contenders for an Olympic medal for sure," he said.