The Indian hockey star also feels matches against top opponents will be a key factor for the preparations of the Olympics.
It goes without saying that sports fraternity is hugely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global shutdown. Most athletes and players are barely able to train and keep themselves fit and ready, while coaches, trainers, and almost everyone else related to different sports have also found themselves idling away their time which could otherwise have been spent in a productive fashion. Indian hockey star SV Sunil is one of them.
For starters, SV Sunil is more “fortunate” when compared to most Indian athletes. The 31-year-old has been stuck at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown, and the player himself admits that the environment of SAI helped him and his team to use special methods to keep themselves engaged.
“We have been very fortunate to be staying at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru. We have been able to use all the facilities and also go for individual runs around the campus,” SV Sunil told IANS.
“Being physically fit really helps anybody to stay mentally fit. It was the entire team”s goal to maintain our fitness and do whatever we can during these unprecedented times,” he added. “Our Scientific Advisor Robin Arkell has devised some excellent training schedules over the last few months, which we have been able to carry out in our rooms along with following the social distancing guidelines. The fitness drills played a huge role in helping me cope with the lockdown.”
SV Sunil, who also represented India in the 2012 London Olympics, further added that the team not only focused on fitness training but also on other activities.
“Apart from focusing on our fitness, we are doing many other activities as well. Our team’s Analytical Coach Chris Ciriello’s wife has taken English classes over video conference for us and she suggested a few books for us to read which kept us busy during the lockdown. The Hockey India Level ”Basic” Coaching Course online was amazing as well. Knowing about the history and the rules of hockey thoroughly will help us add context to our game on the pitch,” he explained.
The Karnata-born player is hopeful that both himself and his teammates can eventually return to their optimum levels, although he is not sure of how long it will take for them to get there.
“It”s difficult to predict at the moment. Our coaches have a definite plan and they will train us accordingly,” he said before adding, “We are fortunate that we were able to carry out exercises during the lockdown, that will definitely help us to attain peak form quickly.”
The 2014 Asian Games gold medallist also spoke on the Indian team’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to 2021 in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We will definitely need to start from scratch as far as preparation is concerned. Our Chief Coach Graham Reid has told us that we have to push the reset button. However, we have watched a lot of footage of our previous matches during the lockdown. I have noted down some key aspects that I need to work on. Hopefully, we will have a lot of match practice before the Olympics,” the halfback asserted.
“I think we can practice as much as we want, but performing well in match situations will boost our confidence tremendously. Therefore, matches against top teams will be a key factor in our preparations,” SV Sunil concluded.