With India set to play two major tournaments in the next couple of months, Craig Fulton, the chief coach of the Indian men's hockey team said playing to its strengths will be the key to success in the Asian Champions Trophy and at the Asian Games, Hangzhou.
Fulton opened up on the team’s preparations for the upcoming crucial tournaments including the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 which will be followed by the high-stakes Hangzhou Asian Games, where the Indian team will be vying for direct qualification for the Paris Olympic Games 2024.
"It's about the team playing to its strengths," Fulton has said.
In the latest episode of Hockey Te Charcha, a podcast series launched by Hockey India, Fulton acknowledged the strong competition and the importance of collective focus on their own process and preparation. He stated, "It's more about India being able to play to its strengths, make the difference in where we haven't or where the team has lacked previously."
“We're fortunate that we have some games now. We go to Spain next week for a four-nation tournament. And then we have the Asian Champions Trophy after that, following which we have a nice block leading into the Asian Games of training,” he was quoted as saying by Hockey India in a release on Thursday.
Also, Fulton, who is known for his strategic approach and experience with high-performance teams, opened up about his coaching philosophy and emphasised his positive outlook and his belief in seeing potential rather than limitations.
“You can either see the glass half empty or half full and I choose the latter. I always want and I always see it as it can be, not as it is. I think that's one of my strengths. And that's just natural for me,” Fulton said.
Hockey India has recently secured the services of mental conditioning expert Paddy Upton to closely work with the Indian men's hockey team as part of their preparations for the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Speaking on the same, while highlighting the importance of mental training in high-performance sports, Fulton said, “I think it's quite plain to see that in high-performance sport, those that have the mental edge are normally the most consistent and win more than they lose. Consistently, if you're doing the right things more often than the opposition then you normally get the results or you set yourself up to get a result. So, that was the number one reason to get Paddy on board.”
When asked about his decision to take up the coaching role with the Indian squad, Fulton expressed his excitement about the new challenge and his desire to implement his ideas and experience gained from coaching in Belgium and Ireland.
"The Indian opportunity came to me, and I was really excited about it because it was a new challenge. I had my own ideas and I had the things that I wanted to try and implement. So yeah, the Indian opportunity was just too big to turn down. And I'm really 100% all in. I really want to make it a success and yeah, I'll bring some glory back to India,” Fulton signed off.