Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has decided to adopt the Global Positioning System (GPS) to improve and maintain the physical fitness of the Green-shirts. It will be implemented at the Abbottabad training camp which begins from May 1.
Informed sources divulged that PHF had signed an MOU with a Dutch company to buy the GPS devices for 30 players of the training camp. The decision to this effect was taken by PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed on the recommendation of Pakistan head coach Roelant Oltmans, sources said.
It may be noted that the Green-shirts’ training camp in Abbottabad is solely for improving physical fitness of the players. An Australian physical instructor has been hired for that purpose.
Since the break of hockey matches in four quarters instead of two halves, all renowned teams have adopted this system to get hundred percent results from their players. Men and women teams of Australia, Argentina, Holland, Germany, England, New Zealand, Belgium, India and Japan have been using this technology.
A device is attached to the player’s body — on his back, chest or hand — which tells of the physical condition, including the heart beat, of the player while training or playing. It allows the management to decide which player should be replaced during a match.
Pakistan hockey team has been struggling for long and poor fitness is said to be a main reason behind this. Pakistan lost quite a few matches after taking lead, particularly in the last quarter. The sources said the GPS devices would reach Pakistan by the end of this month.
“There was a huge difference between us and other strong hockey teams as far as the physical fitness is concerned,” said PHF secretary Shahbaz. “The whole world knows we have the skills. But nowadays skills are not enough. You also need mental agility, quick decision-making and fitness. Fitness involves speed and strength. Hockey is one of the fastest games today. If you want to compete with the strong teams, then you have to have these things,” he added.
“The use of GPS has made life easier for both coaches and players. It ensures no player is overworked and so nobody gets injured.“When a tournament starts, we want the players to be fresh. If we train too much they aren’t fresh,” the official said. “If players haven’t recovered from the previous session then it makes no sense to train them.”