India coach Graham Reid says staying focused on Tokyo is key

With his focus firmly fixed on things he can control, the Aussie tactician is confident of leading the team to success in 12 months’ time.

By Naveen Peter

Ever since Graham Reid took over as chief coach of the Indian men’s hockey team, one aspect he has been consciously working on is to improve the mentality of the side.

Be it his TCUP (Thinking Clearly Under Pressure) approach or his efforts to instil a winning-mindset, the Aussie has been keen to change the way the players think about hockey.

And going into next year's delayed Tokyo Olympic Games, he believes it will be key.

Reid told Hockey India, "The Olympic Games is the toughest competition in the sporting world and therefore a player’s mentality has to match it.

"The biggest challenge as a player is to remain focussed on the job at hand. The first game brings with it a number of emotions. The player who can control those emotions and stick to the game plan will be ahead." - Graham Reid speaking to Hockey India

Indian hockey coach Graham Reid wants his players to keep emotions in check. Photo: Hockey India

India players face uncertainty

India's men's and women's hockey teams returned to their base at the Sports Authority of India centre in Bengaluru this week and will undergo a 14-day quarantine before the camp can resume.

But with questions remaining about the future, Reid is keen to focus on the controllables.

“The biggest challenge for us during these next 12 months will be uncertainty,” the Indian chief coach said.

“There are a lot of things that are going to happen that we can’t control. We must only worry about the things we can control."

Reid is keen on making the most of every session he gets with the team in the coming months as they prepare for the biggest test at the Tokyo Games.

He added, "We can control how hard we work, how well we train and our fitness levels. Mental toughness will definitely be a factor during this next period and the Indian players have an innate ability to deal with difficult circumstances.

“It is my intention to develop the players' understanding of their mental strength and build their ability to access and trust it when required." - Graham Reid

One step at a time

The Indian women's team have been in the same boat, and in chief coach Sjoerd Marijne they have someone who is keen on taking things one step at a time.

“We live in challenging times where we need to have a 'step by step' approach. For now, we wait to return to the national camp and begin training,” Marijne said.

“Once we know when we can resume our preparations for the Olympic Games, we will be able to make further plans on how to get competition-ready," he concluded.