Setting up some milestones to prepare hockey team for World Cup and Paris Olympics: Coach Graham Reid
New Delhi, August 27, 2021
Indian hockey team Chief Coach Graham Reid has disclosed that he has set some milestones while preparing the squad for the Asian Games, FIH Pro League and Commonwealth Games.
In an insightful conversation on Hockey Te Charcha; a podcast series initiated by Hockey India, the coach talked about the roadmap ahead and the next steps following the Tokyo Olympics, “We have set some milestones in terms of the competitions that are coming up for us now. We have the Asian Games, FIH Pro League and Commonwealth Games, the World Cup at 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 analyze 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 to the next opponent," he said.
"We also need to get feedback from our players on what they feel are the skills that they need to work on going forward, and surely we need to accelerate our learning to be consistently up there with the best teams in the world all the time," the coach said.
Reid is no stranger to success on the Olympic stage, having won the silver medal as a player for Australia in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
However, clinching an Olympic bronze medal as the Chief Coach of the Indian’s team after a 41-year long wait ranks amongst his most impressive achievements.
He recalled in detail the challenges and the process that led to this remarkable show.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the team’s schedule was adversely affected but, according to Reid, the extended period of time that the players spent together in camp at SAI Bengaluru eventually brought the team closer together and shaped their character as a group.
“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, 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 steps from that position, one at a time,” said Reid.
On the road to winning the Olympic bronze medal, the 1-3 deficit in the bronze medal match against Germany was not the only challenge that the team had to overcome in the competition.
India faced a setback in the second match of the tournament when they lost 1-7 to Australia.
He spoke about the process involved in coming back from this defeat. “Since day one, I have tried to instill 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. As I say, you can change the future, but you cannot change the past. So after the disappointing result against Australia, we drew a line in the sand before getting to the Olympic village and decided not to ponder on the result any longer.
"We focussed on the things we needed to improve from our end, and thankfully the group reacted very well to that approach as well. 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,” he concluded.