New Delhi, Nov 15: Bharat Chettri, the Indian Olympian hockey goalkeeper, took charge of Indian women goalkeepers only four months before the Asia Cup hockey in Japan.
Goalkeeping coach is a rarity in India as one has to earn a specialised certificate for the same. Bharat had begun with training against penalty shoot-outs in the preparatory camp.
Country’s former international hockey players expressed their surprise and raised eyebrows on Bharat’s style of training in the beginning. Even coach of the women’s team Harendra Singh seemed surprised.
Bharat, while speaking on the issue, smiled and told MyKhel, “It has been my experience along with study and observation that nowadays in international hockey penalty shoot-out has been the most important phase. That is why I had stressed on practising penalty shoot-outs. I used to train Savita and other goalkeepers with multi-ball shoot-outs to increase their reflex during the penalty shoot-outs.
"Savita was always superb as she used to save maximum numbers of shots in the multi-ball practice.”
Savita Punia was adjudged 'goalkeeper of the tournament’ and team's hero in the final by making a couple of brilliant saves to guide her country to clinch the title. She had also praised her goalkeeping coach’s style of training.
Savita said, “Bharat sir was technically equipped and his attitude was so friendly that all the goalkeepers in the preparatory camp had learnt a lot.”
Still, Bharat does not want to take the credit. Rather he showered appreciation on the team’s head coach Harendra.
Bharat, who was the member of Indian men’s team in the London Olympics in 2012, added, “Harendra made the actual difference after joining the Indian women’s team. I joined the team four months before the tournament. But the body language of the girls had been completely different within a couple of months after Harendra joined the Indian women’s team as coach.”