The Indian defender is currently training at the SAI centre in Bengaluru.
Experienced Indian men’s hockey team player Rupinder Pal Singh emphasized that Hockey India ensuring a centralized training program for the national teams has been crucial in the improving performance over the years.
He highlighted that fewer international teams have such a well-rounded set-up with support staff and players living on the same campus. “We are one of the few teams in the world to have a centralized coaching program where all the players from the core group get to live together, practice together and play competitive matches through the year,” expressed Rupinder Pal Singh who made his international debut in 2010.
“This helps develop a consistent playing style and we are lucky to have a program like this through the year. Of course, this year has been different with no tournaments due to the Covid-19 situation around the world. But having a National Program that is scientifically-planned with regular coaching camps followed by tours has largely helped the team climb up the world ranking over the years.”
One of the other factors that he believes has helped the men’s team, in particular, is having events in India. “I feel Hockey India hosting back-to-back events in India has also been a contributing factor to our performance. Playing in front of the home crowd is not just an incredible feeling but there’s also a lot of pressure to perform,” explained the drag-flicker who has been part of some of India’s significant victories such as the 2014 Asian Games, Asian Champions Trophy in 2011 and 2016.
“This exposure obviously helps us face greater challenges when we play abroad. Playing in India also increases our fan-base, gets newer spectators to watch the sport and people end up following us when we travel abroad too.”
While the past few months have been challenging for the team, Rupinder Pal Singh feels the lockdown period helped the team develop their technical knowledge about the game and also up their skill.
He stated, “I always like to see the positive side to any scenario and I truly feel the series of lockdowns helped us develop our technical knowledge base. We would watch a lot of videos, analyze matches, discuss video referrals etc while we remained indoors with no hockey allowed. We have also studied our opponents during this period and all these aspects will be beneficial for us in our preparations for the Olympic Games.”
Rupinder further highlighted that going back to basics when activities resumed in the National coaching camp has helped perfect their skills.
“We have paid a lot of attention to basics when we resumed activities in SAI, Bengaluru. I believe this has helped the entire group perfect our skills. We will be increasing intensity this month onwards and we have built a solid base to take greater workload in the coming months,” he concluded.