New Delhi: Apart from Ignace Tirkey and Sandeep Singh, it will be the first Olympics for the rest of the Indian hockey team members and experienced forward Shivendra Singh said that they are using 'team bonding' as a stress buster ahead of the London Games.
"Mental strength is important during such a big tournament. We feel the pressure and are using team bonding to reduce it. More we talk to each other, more the pressure get reduced. It enhances our confidence level as well," Shivendra said.
The striker from Uttar Pradesh also believes that India are not far behind the big teams and it would only be a matter of availing their chances.
"We are not far behind of bigger teams. Our weak link is finishing and we are working hard on that. We have to avail those chances that would come our way. If we can do that we have good chance of reaching the semifinals." Shivendra, who has played 148 international matches, said.
India are placed in group B in the upcoming Olympics along with Korea, Germany, Holland, New Zealand and Belgium, while Pakistan, Australia, Britain, Spain and Argentina are in group A.
India will begin their campaign on July 30 against Holland.
Stating that every team would be at their best during the Olympics, Shivendra said, "We have Holland and Germany in our pool. We have played against Germany in recent past and can beat them.
"The most important thing will be to give 100 per cent from the first match itself. We are going to Europe this month to sharpen our skills and this tour will be very important."
Speaking on his team's average performance during the recently-concluded Azlan Shah Cup, where India finished third, Shivendra admitted that poor finishing had affected the results.
"We had average finishing ratio in Azlan Shah. There should be better co-ordination in D. Our camp has started today and we are focussing on finishing and positioning."
Shivendra said that he personally is working hard to improve his game.
"I have seen the video of recent matches and working hard on my drawbacks. I am focussing on running off the ball and positioning during finishing," he explained.
Shivendra also said that the Indians players are now more comfortable playing on the blue turf.
"Initially there were some problems due to the colour and bounce but now we are okay with it," said Shivendra.
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