Frazzled nerves: Bad habit of conceding late goals haunts India

first_imgIt is no longer a secret. In fact, India’s vulnerability in the closing stages of a hockey match is something that rivals bank on.And it has now become a habit for both the coach and the fans to hold their breath as the Indian hockey team tries to negotiate the final minutes of a match, they may be leading or even tied in.The last two games have once again established the Indian hockey team as ‘chokers’ in dying minutes. They conceded the winning goal to Belgium with about 12 seconds left on the clock and they did so again against England on Monday with 75 seconds left.Terry Walsh spoke of ‘crucial’ stages in the match and he could not have been referring to anything but the last few minutes when Indians seem most vulnerable. They seem to take their mind off the game and are virtually waiting for the hooter to go off. The ability to trap, to keep possession and play for last few seconds becomes a Herculean task for them.”We have lost the games in the crucial stages (meaning closing minutes) and I believe it is not something new. It has happened in the past but we need to get past that,” Walsh said.It has now become a problem of gigantic proportions. When asked if the fact they have been losing in ‘that stage’ is playing on their minds, Walsh said, “Probably.”It is something that Walsh has been working on. Before the team left for the Netherlands, he had talked about working on the psychological side of the players. He was quite clearly referring to ‘this’ aspect.advertisementMotivating a team after losing such games, as the ones against Belgium and England, is a tough ask for Walsh or for that matter, the skipper, Sardar Singh. But that is something they cannot give up on with matches coming up against Spain, Australia and Malaysia.After training on Tuesday morning, Walsh put up a brave face and said: “We are working on our strategy by analysing the mistakes made in the last two games and will try to change our game accordingly. These changes will also apply on rotation of players and goal scoring strategies. We are determined to give a great performance for the upcoming matches.”last_img

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