Ever since Wayne Lombard took over as the Scientific Advisor of the Indian women's hockey team, there has been a considerable improvement in the fitness levels of the players, which has resulted in better performances on the field.
The impressive overhaul in the various fitness routines followed by the team has seen them rise to the ninth spot in the FIH World Rankings and has led them to successive Olympic Games (2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo).
One of the various fitness sessions that the Indian team follows was on display on Friday morning as forward Navjot Kaur joined Lombard for an Instagram Live session on Hockey India's official handle.
The session conducted by Lombard, with the help of video call, was focused on maintaining and improving Navjot's muscle mass during lockdown, and ensured that social distancing at the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru was being followed.
Navjot said: "I believe fitness plays an important role in modern hockey. If our fitness is great, we can perform well on the field and compete throughout the 60 minutes."
"Even during lockdown, it has become important for us to maintain our fitness levels and devote some time to exercising. It will ensure that once we are back on the training pitch, we will only take a few days to get back into our rhythm of playing top-level hockey."
Calling it a hypertrophy focused session, Lombard said it was important for him to focus on maintaining the muscle mass of the players during such circumstances.
"I think it is one of the key areas which often female players struggle to maintain if they are not able to train for a prolonged period of time. However, the drills in our fitness session focused on maintaining or improving Navjot's muscle mass during lockdown to ensure that when we return to full training, there is not much of a difference in her fitness levels," said the Scientific Advisor.
"With the regulation changes that have come into the sport gradually, hockey has become a really physically demanding sport.
"It is important to prepare the players for high intensity sessions during practice sessions and matches, and we can only do that through fitness sessions in the gyms and indoors, which eventually make them strong a/nd agile, and improve their stamina," he added.