The Indian hockey team is leaving no stone unturned to break the Champions Trophy jinx. The team is trying to prepare in all aspects of the game before launching their campaign in Amstelveen, Netherlands on August 16.
After a commando-style high-altitude training camp in Dagshai in Himachal Pradesh and a more rigorous ongoing session in Lucknow, captain Dhanraj Pillay and his men left their hockey sticks behind for a different kind of training on Wednesday.
Fitness expert Dr Vece Paes who briefed the players on a vital aspect -- how to remain fit and fresh for the entire duration of the game.
"It was a very good interaction with the players. The Coach, Rajinder Singh, wanted me to speak to the boys before they left for the tournament," Paes said.
Paes, a former international hockey player himself, mainly dwelt on "energetics and recovery in hockey" keeping in mind India's tendency to concede goals in the dying stages of the match.
Paes said his visit to Lucknow was part of a 'Peak Performance Programme' targeted to enhance the players' general fitness.
"The players looked quite fit and confident after their recent back-to-back victories. My talk focussed on some specific areas like how to replenish the energy, diet and special preparations on match days and non-match days," he explained.
Paes also dwelt on the salient features of the recovery programme with which the player replaces the water, fluid, glucose, salt and carbohydrates after the match.
Asked why Lucknow, where conditions have been far to hot and humid, had been chosen for the camp, Paes opined that while Bangalore would have been a better venue keeping in mind it's similarities with Amstelveen.
"It was held here (Lucknow) because the sponsors wanted it," he said.
According to Paes, it is easier for any sportsman to adjust from a hot and humid weather to a cold one than the other way round.
"It will be summer in Amstelveen and the temperature will be around 25-30 degrees centigrade which will be ideal for the team," he pointed out.
The team will leave for the prestigious six-nation tournament on August 11. India will open their campaign against hosts Netherlands on the opening day and take on Germany (Aug 17), Australia (Aug 19), Argentina (Aug 20) and arch rivals Pakistan (Aug 22) in their subsequent matches.