Former India skipper Arjun Halappa believes the recent success of the Indian hockey teams, both senior and junior, need to be attributed to the new approach adopted in training.
“There is a lot of difference when it comes to training when compared to my playing days. There is a lot of emphasis on scientific approach,” said Halappa, who has joined the Indian Senior Men’s camp as a coach.
“Back then, this is in the early 2000, we did not use any scientific methods to train. But now, I see this team go about a very systematic approach which is backed by scientific methodology when it comes to training.
“There is a lot of emphasis given on diet. We ate mostly carbs back then but now it’s all about protein intake, the testing methods have all changed for the good and things are far more professional now.
“Between 2008-2012, we were introduced to some innovative training methods but it’s far more advanced now and it’s only helped in the growth of the sport,” he added.
The 36-year-old insisted that having a support staff that includes a physio, masseuse, a mental trainer, scientific advisor apart from an analytical coach is the key to work towards better results.
“It’s this approach that matters. Having people who are experts in their own department was lacking and now that these things are put in place even the players are happy. Smaller details are looked into and I feel these aspects have been the key in the team’s rapid progress,” asserted Halappa, who is also part of the Hockey India Selection Committee.
“I am happy I am working with this team in a new role and I am thankful to Hockey India for giving me this opportunity to pay back to the sport,” he said.
For Halappa, who was popular for his attacking skills as a midfielder, this stint with the team is a new learning.
“Like I said, hockey has become very fast-paced today. It’s all about power and speed and to be involved with an elite group and work towards the team’s progress is a new learning for me,” he said.
Halappa, who has played alongside senior players such as Sardar Singh, PR Sreejesh, SV Sunil, said the junior players see him as one among the senior players as opposed to seeing him as a coach.
“I think it’s a good thing that junior players see me as one among the players. This new group of juniors who have come in are a very talented bunch and there is a lot of focus on their development and while we are investing in them for 2020 Olympics and 2018 World Cup; and I believe with right exposure they will peak at the right time,” he said.