Indian men’s hockey team chief coach Graham Reid said on Friday that he had set a roadmap for his side following the bronze-medal success at the Tokyo Olympics, and was waiting for “feedback” from players on what they feel are the skills that they need to work on moving forward.
“We have set some milestones in terms of the competitions that are coming up for us now. We have the Asian Games (Hangzhou), FIH Pro League, Commonwealth Games (Birmingham), The FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup in the beginning of 2023, and then the Paris Olympics the following year. So the milestones have been set, but how we need to prepare between those milestones will be decided in the next month or so.
“We also have to sit down and analyse all the games from the Olympics and see what the other teams have been doing, because you never get the time to do that in the middle of a tournament, when the focus is limited only on the next opponent. We also need to get feedback from our players on what they feel are the skills that they need to work on going forward,” added Reid.
The Australian said that his players would need to accelerate their learning to be consistently up there with the best teams in the world all the time.
Reid, who won silver as a player for Australia in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, said that clinching an Olympic bronze as chief coach of the Indian team after a 41-year long wait, ranked amongst his most impressive achievements.
The team’s schedule was adversely affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the extended period of time the team spent together in the camp at SAI Bengaluru eventually brought the side closer and shaped their character as a group, felt Reid.
“I kept saying to the team that the adversity and the resilience that they have shared together will come to the fore and unite them when the chips are down. You just have to look at the bronze medal match and see that when we were 1-3 down (against Germany), it would have been very easy to give up and admit that it’s not our day, but we didn’t do that. We pulled ourselves together, and displayed a magnificent example of fighting back and taking the next step from that position one at a time,” said Reid.
The coach said that he had instilled a forward-looking mentality among players, which helped when the chips were down against Germany. India were trailing 1-3, but struck back to win 5-4 for the bronze.
“Since day one, I have tried to instil a ‘next thing mentality’ in the team. After facing a disappointing result, you cannot get caught up thinking about what you could have done. The next thing that you need to do is the most important. So after the disappointing result against Australia (India lost 1-7), we drew a line in the sand and decided not to ponder on the result any longer. Our full focus was on putting together a good run of results from that point on, and that’s exactly what we managed to do.”