The presence of a sports psychologist during the preparatory camp contributed to the success off Indian women's hockey team in the Asia Cup and a full-time appointment will help produce better results in future events, feels chief coach MK Kaushik.
Kaushik, who guided India to the silver medal in the recently concluded seventh women's Asia Cup hockey tournament in Bangkok, said even though he is grateful to have the services of a psychologist during the camp, he wants somebody to travel with the team on a permanent basis.
"I'm thankful to the Sports Authority of India, who provided us a professional psychologist during our month-long camp before the Asia Cup. Dr Rajan of Silent Voice assisted us during the camp and his association has had a positive impact on the team," Kaushik said after returning home.
"But we need one with the team for a longer period of time. We want a psychologist to travel with us to take care of various behavioural issues that confront the players," he said.
"When you look at top teams of the world, they have support staff for a longer period of time which automatically gives them an edge. We have the habit of losing our focus quite frequently. Quite often we don't perform to the level that international hockey demands. In top competitions we have to be like IIT toppers.
"Likewise I want continuity to have a better understanding with them and it will eventually translate into better results," Kaushik added.
Kaushik also advocated the need of a full-time video analyst with the team to help the players correct their flaws. "We have to keep in mind that every team studies us before a match, so a video analyst always comes handy during a tournament," he said.
By virtue of their second place finish in the Asia Cup, India qualified for next year's World Cup to be held in Rosario, Argentina, but the national coach feels there is still a lot of work to be done to fight it out against top level teams at the mega event.
"It is wonderful to have qualified for the World Cup. The girls really played very well but there are areas to improve upon. The results are quite encouraging but you need at least 2-3 years to make a team.
"Considering the fact that there was very little hope from us, especially after we finished fourth in last Asia Cup in Hong Kong, the performance has improved but still not up to the mark. I feel we have just improved 50 per cent," Kaushik said.
He said the Asia Cup result has imbibed immense self-confidence in the players, but the road ahead is very challenging and tough. "We qualified for the World Cup and now many strong teams would like to play against us. We, therefore, have to prepare our strategies and plans better," he said.