Indian hockey team looking at volleyball, tennis during downtime

Chief coach Graham Reid wants the team to engage in activities other than hockey to help them through testing times.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

It’s a peculiar situation that the Indian hockey team’s chief coach Graham Reid finds himself in.

The Australian is in Bengaluru with the Indian hockey team on a four-week-long training camp. But with life coming to a virtual standstill following the coronavirus pandemic and the precautionary steps taken by the authorities, the team has barely had an opportunity of a downtime. 

While in the past the players would venture out to the malls and places of interest during their free time, the heightened restrictions now mean the Indian hockey team has to stay inside the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus. 

So how does the chief coach keep his squad interested in such a situation? 

“Well, we are planning things like volleyball and tennis tournaments,” he told the Indo-Asian News Service. “We, of course, have some good facilities here in SAI for that.

“As you know, the younger generation is very comfortable with their iPads and the internet so that's good. But we need to keep coming up with different ways to keep them amused which is why we are planning stuff like volleyball tournaments.”

Indian chief coach Graham Reid is working on a Plan ‘B’ to tackle the ever-changing scenario in world hockey. Photo: Hockey India.

Graham Reid working on Plan ‘B’

But away from all the efforts to keep his band of boys upbeat, Graham Reid is aware of the uncertainties that surround the world outside the SAI Centre in Bengaluru. 

With the FIH Hockey Pro League suspended till May 17, the Indian chief coach knows that it will leave him very little time to prepare for the Olympics in July-August.

“Last week we sat down and worked out a few scenarios -- if we don't go to Germany or Spain what does our programme look like,” said Reid, throwing light on what his team’s back-up plan could be. 

“It could lead to changes in periodisation which mean for example instead of a tough week, we might design an easier schedule and leave the tough for later.”

Not as bad as Europe

Though lack of competition is a concern for every team building up to Tokyo 2020, Graham Reid is a bit relieved that the situation in India is not as bad as it is in Europe. 

“At least for us, we can still be training so when the Olympics go ahead in July we are hopeful that we can be prepared for it.

"Coming up over the next month or so we are planning a tournament to replicate the Olympics -- playing 8 games in 13 days and we'll be picking four different combinations for that," he added.

With the Olympics to look forward to and a time to hone their skills and perfect their gameplan, the Indian hockey team is keen on making the most of the time that the pandemic has provided them with. 

But how will lack of proper game time affect their preparation, that’s something one can figure out only once the team lines-up against their opponent in their next competitive fixture.