Bengaluru, Sep 17 (Language) Indian women’s hockey team coach Yanek Shopman believes that managing the pressure will be important for her team, which will go into the upcoming Asian Games as a “strong contender”.
“I think the mentality of the players as individuals and as a team will make a difference,” Shopman said on Hockey India’s ‘Hockey Te Charcha’ podcast series. Can we perform under pressure and handle the situations in front of us?
“We’ve been talking about this for the last few months and what it means to be a favorite versus an underdog at the Tokyo Olympics,” he said.
The coach said: “We’ve talked about expectations from this team. We also explain what threats are out there that can distract and hurt us and how we can deal with them.
The Dutch coach said that if her team plays to its potential, it can win the gold medal in Hangzhou and qualify directly for next year’s Paris Olympics.
“It’s also important to enjoy the journey,” Shopman said. “I hope we win, I think we can but that’s life and it might not happen.”
India has been placed in Pool A of the Asian Games along with South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore while Japan, China, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia have been placed in Pool B.
After starting the campaign against Singapore on September 27, India will face Malaysia on September 29, South Korea on October 1 and Hong Kong on October 3.
Shopman, who won gold medals at the Olympics and the World Cup as a player with the Netherlands, coached the Indian women’s team that won a bronze medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Last year, when the Indian team won the gold medal in the inaugural FIH Nations Cup, she also guided the team.
However, Shopman is not used to the pressure of the Asian Games and is looking forward to meeting the challenge.
He said: “This is also my first time participating in the Asian Games. “I try to emphasize that you can either go into every tournament thinking it’s the most important or think it’s just another tournament.”
“It doesn’t matter if you are playing in a tournament for the first time or the last time – the important thing is that you are here now and you have to take your opportunities and take advantage of them.” said Shopman. That’s what we’re trying to do as a team.”
Shopman also defended the team selection for the Asian Games.
He said, “While selecting 18 players, we can’t just pick the players who have played the most games. I try to look at the team and see what each person can bring and how they can complement each other.”
“Some of the junior players have improved tremendously over the past few months and have therefore become part of the team,” said the coach.
Language Sudhir Pant
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