Defender Gurinder Singh feels the Indian men's hockey team is moving in the right direction and is slowly attaining the levels they want to achieve in their preparation for next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Since returning to the national coaching camp in August after a six-week break, the core group has been working towards achieving their previous form and match-fitness.
"We have slowly been gaining the levels we want to achieve after a long layoff during the lockdown months. I feel increasing the intensity of the sessions in the month of October and continuing the momentum in November has helped put us back on track especially in terms of fitness and speed," said Gurinder.
Gurinder, however, did admit that training in a bubble has made the players learn new ways to de-load and hit the refresh button before the start of every week's grind.
"In normal times, we would go to the city, explore new places to dine and unwind. These outings would serve as ideal way to hit the refresh button before the start of another hectic week."
"Now, as we live in a bubble, we have had to find new ways to relax, unwind and recharge. While some of us listen to music, watch movies or read books, some of us have been exploring the various facilities in SAI, trying different sport, perhaps playing a form of volleyball, football or even cricket, keeping all SOP guidelines in mind. The coaches and support staff play golf sometimes on weekends and some of us have wanted to try our hand at golf too," added Gurinder, who was part of the India colts team that lifted the Junior Men's World Cup in 2016.
Over the years, the defender has shown promise and maturity in his game and he vies to keep at it.
"This is an important year for all of us and I am committed to executing my role as expected by the team and the chief coach. I am happy to have received opportunities in important tournaments that have helped me develop as a player. I am hopeful in the lead up to the Olympics next year, I will be able to prove my mettle to secure a place in the Indian team for Tokyo. That is the ultimate dream for any player," Gurinder said.