Hockey

Paris Olympics 2024: Mental Conditioning Coach Paddy Upton To Help Indian Men's Hockey Team

Upton, who played a role in India winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup, will be a part of the support staff of the country's men's hockey team in Paris. He was also there when the team won gold medals at the recent Asian Champions Trophy and Asian Games

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Mental Conditioning coach Paddy Upton. Photo: X/ @PaddyUpton1
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It's mind over matter for Hockey India as the sports body hired renowned South African mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton to assist the men's national team in the Paris Olympics. (More Hockey News)

Upton, who played a role in India winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup, will be a part of the support staff of the country's men's hockey team in Paris. He was also there when the team won gold medals at the recent Asian Champions Trophy and Asian Games.

Indian men's hockey team chief coach Craig Fulton confirmed to PTI that Upton will be with his wards at the Olympics.

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"We have Paddy Upton, he will be with us in Australia (for the Test series). We will be using him wisely. For sure he will be there for the Olympics with us," Fulton said when asked about the mental conditioning coach's services.

Fulton, who is also a South African, believes that world-ranked fourth India are still to reach their peak and there are plenty of bases to cover in the coming months.

"We are not complete yet but, in 4-5 months from the Olympics, we will be there.

"Ideally any high-performing team wants to win any tournament. That's the ideal goal to be realistic. But realistically, we are ranked fourth in the world now, does that mean podium 'right now no' but that's the beauty of hockey," he said.

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"Realistically, we are not there yet but we still have time."

The coach said the Indian team is currently in a development phase.

"We are in a development phase with the squad. We are trying to create some depths in different positions. That's important to do now because it really counts in crunch matches in the Olympics," he said.

Talking about India's recent home campaign in the FIH Pro League, Fulton said he was neither satisfied nor disappointed.

"If you look at the four matches -- 2 against Holland, 2 against Australia -- I think we are disappointed with the second game against Australia, 5 minutes to go we were 2-1 up and then we made a mistake which got punished and then we lost the shoot-out," he said.

"The first game was a strange one, we got to learn a lot of lessons there tactically, but to be 0-2 down after 90 seconds.

"But the Dutch games I feel we were really organised. But 2-2 I felt was a fair result for both games. They are the league leaders and they are the team to chase at the moment."

Fulton is in no mood to make any drastic changes in the style of play and said the upcoming Australia tour holds great significance for the side.

"Now we are in Bhubaneswar for the next three weeks for the training and then we go to Australia for five Test matches and that's really important, and then we come back to Bengaluru and after selection is done, we leave for the Pro League.

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"We are just carrying on with our training, we are focusing on becoming very strong defensively, we need to improve our offence. We are not changing a lot, just focussing on getting better and consistent," he said.

India are scheduled to tour Australia from April 2 to 15 for a five-Test series in Perth.

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