Hockey World Cup: Indian captain PR Sreejesh wants players to be mentally tougher

Sep 08, 2018, 09:10 IST | Subodh Mayure

Tournament favourites India, who returned with a bronze medal from the recently-concluded Asian Games in Jakarta, were in the city to launch their new jersey for the upcoming World Cup that will be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16

Hockey World Cup: Indian captain PR Sreejesh wants players to be mentally tougher
Skipper PR Sreejesh (centre) during the launch of the team's new jersey for the upcoming World Cup yesterday. Pic/Atul Kamble

Indian hockey team captain PR Sreejesh felt that his players need to be mentally tougher. Tournament favourites India, who returned with a bronze medal from the recently-concluded Asian Games in Jakarta, were in the city to launch their new jersey for the upcoming World Cup that will be held in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16.

'Need proper mindset'
"We are good with our fitness and execution of skills as well, but a proper mindset is very important. Mental toughness is one area that the coach cannot work on. It is up to the players to individually work on it. I am doing it. I am my own coach, so I work on my fitness and mental aspect as well," Sreejesh told mid-day on the sidelines of the event yesterday.

Sreejesh and Co had a stellar campaign in Jakarta scoring 76 goals in the pool stages to script a world record. However, the defending champions crumbled in the semi-finals losing 6-7 to Malaysia in the penalty shootout. "That was a bad day. We dominated majority of the game, but those one or two minutes brought in a lot of negativity which is why we need to improve our mental toughness. We lacked it during that match," he added.

Coach, biggest psychologist
Asked if the side needed a psychologist to deal with mental toughness, coach Harendra Singh was dismissive. "I don't know about that word. In any team, the biggest psychologist is the coach and yourself.

"If I will not motivate myself, then no one in the world can motivate me. I have to be the biggest critic of myself on earth. The word psychologist carries a negative vibe. The players will feel that they are doing something wrong for which they need to consult a psychologist," Harendra said.

Sreejesh echoed his coach's views. "Only you can understand yourself the best. You know what is happening and why it is happening, so you are the better psychologist," he said.

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