Hockey

Youngsters well prepared despite odds, says Janneke Schopman

Janneke Schopman.   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Indian women’s hockey team chief coach Janneke Schopman, who is doubling up as the coach of the under-21 side for the upcoming Women’s Junior World Cup (JWC) in Potchefstroom, South Africa, feels the youngsters are well prepared despite the odds.

Janneke — who has been inculcating the same principles in both the senior and junior players and is looking forward to scout youngsters for the 2024 Olympics — said even without overseas tournaments (due to COVID-19) the juniors gained from their experience of playing practice matches against the seniors in Bengaluru.

“It showed where the juniors are... We were able to play a team that is potentially better than any team playing in the JWC,” said Janneke in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Good speed

“In terms of energy, we were in a good place. It will be a mind game (in the JWC) where we have to push ourselves in every second of every match... We have good speed and we should use it to chase other teams and tire them so that they start making mistakes.”

Janneke expressed confidence about the team’s penalty corner attack and defence, where the seniors were helping out the youngsters. “We are trying to get the knowledge down to the juniors. We have to make sure everything is clear.”

Little knowledge

The Dutchwoman acknowledged that except defending champion Argentina, against whom the senior team played a few matches in recent times, there was little knowledge about Russia and Japan, the other two sides clubbed with India in Pool C. “The biggest challenge is: Can we play to our level?”

Captain Lalremsiami, who was part of the Indian team that finished fourth in the Olympics, said: “We want to share our experience in the Olympics with the junior team. Our junior team is good and there are some skillful players.”

Vice-captain Ishika Chaudhary said the senior players had been helpful. “The senior team is communicating really well (about) what they have learnt through their journey, how to adapt to pressure of the tournament, how to perform, how to deal with everything on and off the field.”


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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 4:41:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/youngsters-well-prepared-despite-odds-says-janneke-schopman/article37527735.ece

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