Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Mar 19 (ANI): Indian women's hockey team striker Navneet Kaur believes that the change in the attitude of the team is because of coach Sjoerd Marijne's aggressive style of playing.
"Apart from winning important matches, I think there are a lot of other factors that have contributed to this change and one of them being Chief Coach Sjoerd's style of play. He likes aggression, he has instilled that belief in us that we are a team that can play with good speed in our attack," Kaur said.
She played a vital role in the team's tour to New Zealand earlier this year.
"Earlier, we feared playing against top teams like Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. We lacked that match-winning confidence and this was perhaps why many teams even considered us as underdogs," she said.
But over the last two years in particular, there has been a major shift in how the team prepares against a tough opponent. Fitness had been one of the key factors in the team's recent performance and Kaur said the team has great awareness about fitness, recovery and diet.
"I also believe our improvement in fitness has been another big factor. Every girl (including newcomers) are aware of the importance of fitness, recovery and diet. Apart from this, small things like support staff encouraging us to improve internal communication, point out openly in meetings about what we can do differently in training sessions etc, these things make us feel bold and confident," added Kaur who scored a total of 10 goals in 2019.
The team is grouped in Pool A for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where they will play against top-ranked teams like the Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, and Ireland apart from South Africa.(ANI)