Their training severely affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, the Indian men’s hockey team’s chief coach Graham Reid and skipper Manpreet Singh say it will be a deliberately slow progress towards players attaining pre-lockdown fitness levels.
Six players of the men’s team, including Manpreet, had tested positive for COVID-19 at the team’s training base here in August after they arrived for the national camp following a month’s break.
Since then, all the six players have recovered and started their individual training sessions.
“…we slowly started the procedures of getting back to play. The coaches have created a plan so that we gradually return to full momentum and I am really happy to be back practicing again,” Manpreet said in a released issued by Sports Authority of India (SAI).
Reid said the emphasis is on skills training, especially individual basics, which allows the players to practice in small groups with adequate social distancing in place.
“…we have been able to gradually increase the workload and intensity of the training to the point where we are able to have the majority of the squad up to pre-COVID levels by the end of the next camp,” Reid said.
“This has been a slow and deliberate process designed to produce maximum output while minimising the risk of injury.”
The players are also happy with the safety protocols in place at the Sports Authority of India’s Bengaluru centre.
“It feels good that we have started training after such a long time and we are slowly bringing our body back to the same level which allows us to train the way we used to earlier,” women’s team skipper Rani Rampal said.
“…we hope we return to our old form and rhythm in the next few months. But at the moment, it is important that we keep ourselves safe by following all protocols and train within them.”