I take responsibility for not having mental conditioning coach earlier: Graham Reid | Hockey News

ROURKELA: Head Coach Graham Reid took responsibility for not pushing for a mental conditioning coach for India ahead of the FIH Men’s World Cup from which the home side made an early exit.
After India beat Asian Games champions Japan 8-0 in an inconsequential ladder game here on Thursday, Reid said the home World Cup had brought additional pressure on the team, which “was sometimes difficult to manage”.
He said when taking charge in 2019 that he believed he could handle the mental side of the players.
“Having seen this World Cup and going to a World Cup on home soil brings added pressure. Sometimes it’s hard to deal with. So that was my thought process,” Reid said at the press conference. post-game.
“It (the requirement for a mental conditioning trainer) has come up before (for discussion) but I didn’t really think it was necessary at the time. I thought I had enough experience to being able to convey the kind of stuff that we’ve been talking about.”
After the loss to New Zealand in the crossover game in Bhubaneswar last week, Reid said a mental conditioning coach was needed to help the team deal with the pressure.
“We had COVID-19 and it was difficult to overcome all these events. Then the Asian Games would come (was to be held in 2022) and then didn’t come (postponed), it was always like when do we start this process ( to have a mental conditioning trainer) and then it didn’t happen.
“I take responsibility for that (not having a mental conditioning coach).”
Reid also mentioned that teams like Australia and the Netherlands have a mental conditioning coach they call a “cultural coach.” He said the mental conditioning trainer should be an Indian.
The Australian team has benefited from the services of a cultural coach since 2017.
“We have access to sports psychologists within the ISC. But it’s a bit different when you work in your team environment. They (the cultural coaches) operate in your team.
“It’s important to have confidence in your team, within the coaching group. I also needed to feel that we could trust that person and we needed it to be the right person. I think that it must be an Indian.”
Reid said he felt the team was improving on the mental toughness side, like scoring last-minute goals.
The 58-year-old former Australian national team player and coach also backed the national federation’s bid to revive Hockey India League (HIL), missing since 2017.
“Is the club culture here in India? I’m not sure. It’s very difficult to describe the club culture from nothing, that’s the problem.
“We need something, we need a competition close to international competitions,” he said when asked if India should start a long-term club culture that is prevalent in Australia. and in parts of Europe to play high quality matches more consistently.
“We had HIL before, that was really good. Having HIL will make things a bit easier, even though they have the monetary factor behind it. But yeah, everyone would like to see it and maybe it needs to be designed from scratch. There is no one in the world hockey who wouldn’t want that (HIL) to happen.”
Hockey India chairman Dilip Tirkey had recently told PTI that he hoped to restart HIL by the end of this year.
Reid said the game against Japan was important as India could play against them at the Asian Games scheduled for this year.
“The Asian Games are coming up later in the year and we’ll be playing Japan again then, so it was important to perform well but also just for our pride.”
“I have the greatest respect for the Asian Games, how tough it is. That’s what I thought, it’s a very important game against Japan.”
Captain Harman Preet Singhwho struggled to score from the penalty spot in the showpiece, also said it was sometimes difficult to cope with the pressure in front of large crowds.
“It’s a bit difficult for less experienced players to play in front of a big audience. It can even be difficult sometimes for experienced players as well. So it’s different (playing in front of a big audience and without or less of an audience ),” he said when asked if the pressure was less during the Tokyo Olympics, as they were held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But if you’re focused in your game, you can take that (the presence of the public) in a positive way. It’s a good lesson for us. If we play in that kind of atmosphere in the future, at the outside the country or in major tournaments, we will know how to prepare mentally and stay focused.”
Asked how the team was coping with the situation resulting from the premature exit from the World Cup at home, Reid said: “I told the boys we had 24 hours to recover (after the game against New Zealand) before we start focusing on the Japan Game. It’s been a tough three days to be honest.
“Everyone had a mixture of a lot of feelings – disappointment, frustration and emotions – that we let go of. What I was proud of was that we tried to stay focused on the two (ranking) games. “
India will face South Africa here on Saturday in the 9th-12th place ladder match.


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