The seven-day national camp for goalkeepers was an ideal initiative ahead of the all-important Olympic qualifiers, feels senior India player PR Sreejesh.
Sreejesh alongside Krishan B Pathak, Suraj Karkera, Jugraj Singh, Paras Malhotra, Jagdeep Dayal, Pawan, Prashant Kumar Chauhan and Sahil Kumar Nayak were part of the goalkeepers camp which began on July 1 at SAI, Bengaluru, under the supervision of Dennis van de Pol who was invited by Hockey India.
“We focused on important ground basics, and there was a lot of emphasis on PCs and shootout scenarios. This was a good initiative taken by Hockey India as it helps in our preparations for Olympic qualifiers later this year. Dennis was particularly good in explaining the minor mistakes we would make. All the sessions were engaging and I am sure this will only help build the goalkeeper pool in India with youngsters understanding the requirements at the International level,” said Sreejesh.
Dennis, who is with Drijver Goalie Academy in the Netherlands as well as the KNHB (Koninklijke Nederlandse Hockey Bond) and trains the National Youth in the Netherlands apart from regular assignments with foreign teams, was impressed with the available talent in India.
“Initially before I came here I was thinking that there may be some disparity between Sreejesh, Krishan, Suraj and the remaining goalkeepers called for the camp because they don’t necessarily have the kind of experience as these senior athletes but they surprised me with their skill, talent and eagerness to learn,” expressed Dennis.
“Someone as senior as Sreejesh too would ask a lot of questions and be inquisitive about how he can further improve in certain areas. His enthusiasm easily rubs off on other players too and it’s good to see younger goalkeepers look up to him. We do have such short camps back in the Netherlands with a mix of Senior and Junior team goalkeepers and this really helps build performance,” Dennis added.
A special camp for the Indian defenders will be organised in the following week.