New Delhi : Indian hockey team needs a sports psychologist who can help the players cope with the mental stress to enhance their on-field performance, said ace Indian goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza here Friday.
“In the last few tournaments, if one can notice, even while we take an early lead we fail to hang on to the advantage and soon let in few goals. The real reason is that after we take a lead we tend to relax a bit and give our opponents a chance to pounce on us,” said the 22-year-old D’Souza from Mumbai.
“I think this is where we need a sports psychologist who can really teach us how we can maintain our focus consistently. It will always be an added bonus for the team.”
D’Souza was in the city for a two-day coaching clinic, organised by SCORE – a sports management company in association with the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
“It’s a good exposure for kids. I also started like that. I will be glad if I am a regular part of these clinics in the future,” he said.
D’Souza, who skipped the Azlan Shah tournament to prepare for his undergraduate exams, said that all top teams like Germany, Australia and the Netherlands have such sports psychologists and it is high time the Indian team had one.
“Fitness is not an issue with us. We should aim to be consistent and for that the whole team needs to be focussed for the whole 70 minutes of play. Sloppy work by even one player can cost the team,” he said.
The Mumbai boy also said that the absence of good drag flickers is proving very costly for the team.
“We should have at least two drag flickers in the team. It is unfortunate that we had two good drag flickers — Jugraj Singh and Sandeep Singh and they got injured in freak incidents that threatened their careers,” said D’Souza.
Both Jugraj and Sandeep were specialists in penalty corner and were the rising stars in Indian hockey.
Jugraj was seriously injured in a car crash in 2003 while Sandeep was accidentally shot by a Railway Protection Force jawan last year near Kurukshetra inside the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express, as he was on his way to join the national squad for the World Cup.
However, D’Souza seemed optimistic that India will qualify for the semi-final of the Azlan Shah Cup.
“Our main aim should be to reach the semi-final at least and I am hopeful that we can do it. And then on it can be anybody’s game,” he said.
He also revealed that he has got some offers to play in the leagues in Spain and Germany and that he is still to decide about it.
“My commitment is to the national team. Though playing in those leagues will obviously help us to develop our skills but I am yet to decide over it,” he said.