Mumbai: India hockey captain PR Sreejesh revealed that he would like to take up a coaching role sometime in the future, after his playing career is over.
The 28-year-old said to Deccan Chronicle that the fact that he plays as a goalkeeper, means that he already has to act as a semi-coach for his side, barking out instructions from the back.
“I just try to do my duty, and that is to make saves. This gives the outfield players some confidence,” said Sreejesh.
“Being a goalkeeper, I can see the entire field, so I can sort of act as a coach and guide the players,” said the India captain. “But communication is important for a captain, and being a goalkeeper helps in that regard.”
Sreejesh, who inherited the captain’s armband from charismatic midfielder Sardar Singh earlier this year, says that he has a passion for coaching younger players.
“Coaching is my passion, but I can't say now that I want to coach. I have to learn from the grassroot level,” said Sreejesh. “Coaching style is very different at the international level.
“Handling a player is an art. Definitely one day, I would like to become a coach, maybe not the national team, but at least for a school or a state team, definitely, I shall try,” the India skipper continued.
Being one of the senior players in both the India and the UP Wizards side, believes that the Hockey India League (HIL) is something that will help the youngsters improve their game.
“When there are younger players, I definitely try to support them, and keep the team spirit as high as possible,” he said.
Sreejesh also spoke about the importance of integrating the youngsters with the foreign players in the HIL. He said, “You need to involve the foreign players, and integrate them with the youngsters. You need to make everyone feel comfortable.
“Communication is the best way to give them confidence. You have to make them more comfortable before the match, and certainly during training.”
Hockey India League brings in players from all over the world, giving a lot of exposure to the young Indian players. The down-side however, is that the players, who are all from different countries and backgrounds, have a very little time to gel together, as HIL is generally a month-long affair.
Sreejesh said that there are certain exercises that he and the players do, in order to help the players integrate into one unit.
“We do some team-bonding exercises – we play cricket, we go for movies or coffee,” he said. “That'll help them feel more comfortable. When they're comfortable with the senior players, it helps.”...