Expecting a boisterous reception for his team in each game they play at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium during the upcoming Hockey World Cup, India coach Harendra Singh plans to hold a session just before the tournament specifically to help his team counter the noise.
His solution to do so? Having a session with his players while music blares on loudspeakers. Harendra believes this will help his players work on their visual communication skills. The team will also have a small training session to work on a "code" which will help the players communicate effortlessly without words with their teammates or the bench during the fever-pitch atmosphere of a match.
"The idea is not to have just a training session this way, but also a team session where we will put on songs on the music system and then will make the players communicate. Communicating while being surrounded by so much noise is the most important thing," Harendra told Firstpost after his side thumped Argentina 5-0 in a practice game on Friday.
The Kalinga Stadium has a capacity of 15,000 and the Indian team management expects almost each seat to be filled with fans rooting for the home side during their matches.
Harendra said the session will happen either on Monday or Tuesday, while the prestigious tournament starts from Wednesday.
"The point of this is basically so that the players can learn to work on their visual signals. This will help the players to figure out how to communicate when there is a lot of noise coming from the crowd. Maybe sometimes they can lift the hockey stick to communicate where they want a pass to be made. Or other times they can just lift their hand slightly to indicate this. The idea is to communicate without saying a word. It's a code that we are creating," added the coach who has led India to a Champions Trophy silver, an Asian Games silver medal and a joint gold with Pakistan at the Asia Champions Trophy ever since he took over earlier this year.
World No 5 India have won the quadrennial showpiece event just once — in 1975. This time around, they are placed in Group C with Canada, South Africa and Belgium.
On being asked whether playing at the Kalinga Stadium under the cacophony of noise that the home support will create will put pressure or work as a shot of adrenaline for the players, Harendra said: "The size of the crowd, whether it is 10,000 or 25,000, only matters for a player when the match has not begun. Once the match starts, the focus of every player or every team is always on the ball.
"But I feel the home crowd will be a good factor for India. Even if the players are focusing on the crowd it should rather be an advantage for us because they will be our 12th man," he added.
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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2018 12:11:34 IST