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Home > Sports > Hockey > PTI > Report

Adrian trains with badminton coach

June 08, 2007 14:37 IST

From reading books on psychology to practice with a badminton coach for enhancing reflexes, ace hockey custodian Adrian D'Souza is leaving no stone unturned as he prepares to guard the Indian fort at the upcoming Champions Challenge meet.

D'Souza, who considers goalkeeper as the most important player in a team, said the challenge of keeping a place in the Indian team has become tougher with everybody trying harder to excel.

"It was always very competitive. But, after the bronze medal win in Azlan Shah, it has become tougher. Everybody is trying hard to do well and when it comes to goalkeeping it's pure performance that counts. My experience and talent have stood me in good stead [in the competitive environment]," D'Souza said.

So, apart from the regular practice, D'Souza nowadays is reading The Power of Your Subconscious -- a self-help book by Dr Joseph Murphy -- to boost his mental prowess.

Also, he is having training sessions with badminton coach Ganguly Prasad in order to sharpen his goal saving skills.

"It's a kind of special goalkeeping training with a badminton coach. It's about working on one's reflexes, where we are concentrating to move the hands and legs faster," the Olympian said.

About the preparation for the Champions Challenge tournament in Boom, Belgium, later this month, D'Souza said the whole team is fit as a fiddle.

"The preparations have been very good. Since the coach is strict about fitness, all the boys are really working hard on it. It's just not about fitness, but match fitness.

"Besides, we are working on things like how to regroup as a team, playing the last 10 minutes of a match and how to control the final moments," D'Souza said.

D'Souza, who had missed the Azlan Shah tournament due to exams, said the six-nation meet in Belgium would witness some tough contests.

"I cannot say which teams will be tough opponents. Argentina is playing after a long time. England [Images] is always tough while New Zealand [Images] is a never-say-die side," he said.

The 23-year-old said India would have to squeeze out consistent performance in order to come out trumps at the Champions Challenge.

"After the Azlan Shah success, we are looking forward to the Champions Challenge. We have to be consistent there. One good match then a bad match will not help our cause. Though it is a major step forward, yet our main aim will be the Olympic qualifiers next year," he said.

On why no team is adopting the new rules on goalkeeping introduced by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), D'Souza said no side could afford to take the risk of playing without a goalkeeper.

"None can take the risk as goalkeeper is the most important player in a team. He is often instrumental behind a win or defeat. In ice hockey or a situation where you are leading 7-0 or 8-0, it's a different case. But, no team would like to play without a goalkeeper.

"The most difficult situation would be while saving a penalty corner when the goalkeeper would stand only with a helmet," he said.

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