Set to return to the Olympic stage after eight years, the Indian hockey team is working hard on being a mentally strong unit by practicing yoga and meditation before the London Games.
“Olympics is the topmost event and we are playing there after eight years. So, naturally there is pressure to perform. We are practicing Yoga daily for 40 minutes to enhance mental strength,” said Indian captain Bharat Chetri.
“We also have an interactive sessions with coach Micheal Nobbs and Trainer David John daily in which they share their good experiences. John has also started an innovative mental visualisation session on a daily basis which is a sort of meditation,” he said.
The mental visualisation sessions have been a regular affair for the past one month.
“We take part in mental visualisation sessions before every match for the last one month. It is a sort of meditation. We all lie down and forget about the external world. David (John) then makes us imagine the real match situation according to the opponent,” he said.
“We all imagine that how we are going to react in that situation. It is so useful that we choose team composition and make strategy according to that,” he added.
Chetri is well aware that Mission London is going to be very tough for them but he goes by the new mantra of “convert your weaknesses into your strength”.
This is what London Olympic (1948) gold medallist Lezley Claudius and Keshav Dutt told Chetri before the team’s departure for the Europe tour.
“I know London Olympics will be a very tough challenge. But I got a chance to meet Mr Claudius and Mr Dutt before our departure. They told me to convert weaknesses into strengths. Whenever we have a bad period on field, this mantra comes into my mind and inspires me to excel,” said the veteran goalkeeper.
“We have to improve our passing. We played well in some matches on the Europe tour but passing is not upto the mark. We are working hard on it,” said the captain.
According to him the strength of the team lies in bonding.
“Team bonding, focus and attacking game are our strengths. We have an excellent forward line and I am sure they will live upto the expectations,” he said.
“We are playing together for the last six months. There is great coordination among players. If one has a problem, all are there to solve that. Being a captain, I am very fortunate to lead such a bunch of great players,” said Chetri.
India will play their first match against Holland on July 30 and Chetri is confident of winning that.
“It is a tough match but we are ready for that. We are confident that if we play to our potential, we can win that. Our penalty corner specialists Sandeep Singh and VR Raghunath have some new weapons in their armour and they will open their cards in Olympics only.” he said.