The Hindu

Yoga, Mind Games for Indian Team

26 November, 1996

CHENNAI Nov. 26 – There is now an increasing awareness among trainers, physiotherapists and coaches involved in preparing teams to strengthen the condition of the mind more than enhancing physical strength.

Nowadays a majority of the teams are subjected to long sessions in mental preparation, described as 'psychotonics', to combat pressure which develop in match situations.

In keeping with this trend, the Indian Hockey Federation has summoned the services of a professional psychologist, Dr. (Mrs) Amita Brar, to talk to the National teams before important competitions and accompany them on tours for the last two years.

It is difficult to judge whether this helped to change the quality of performance substantially. The opinion among the players is divided. But officials and coaches concede the sessions with the psychologist did them a world of good.

The IHF is now gearing up to introduce an element of novelty to mind training for the players. The National team is programmed to undergo a four day session in yoga and pranic exercises. Scheduled to leave for Coimbatore today, the Indian players will be under the guidance and training of Swami Jaggi Vasudev at his ashram, about 30kms from Coimbatore.

The players are expected to be put through a process of meditation, mind control, pranayamam and yoga. Those who had worked out the programme assert it would be of immense benefit for the National team before the Champions Trophy.

Actually, Mr. K. P. S. Gill, president of the IHF, is a strong advocate of this preparation and wanted the Indian team to spend a few days at the ashram near Coimbatore before the Olympics at Atlanta. But Cedric D'Souza, then the Chief coach, found it difficult to accommodate this training within the team's schedule and the idea had to be given up. Mr. Gill and Mr. Jothikumaran, Secretary-General, spent a couple of days in Coimbatore arranging for the training. They even worked on the possibility of requesting the Swamiji to come over to Chennai and conduct the sessions. But not everything worked in that way.

This time the IHF is positive the National players should spend at least four days in yogic training before they face the challenge in the Champions Trophy.


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